Game Day Buzz: Skinner back for Canes; Malkin skates again; Despres scratched for 2nd straight game?


GAME DAY BUZZ PENGUINS (13-7-0, 26 PTS) @ HURRICANES (9-8-1, 19 PTS) MALKIN SKATES AGAIN Things continue to move in the right direction for Evgeni Malkin who skated again this morning at Southpointe. Malkin has been symptom free since Tuesday and has now skated in consecutive days. The Penguins continue to indicate there is no timetable for his return and they are going to be very careful on not establishing one. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if Malkin gets cleared for contact following this weekend, barring a setback. CANES GETTING HEALTHY Jeff Skinner, Tim Brent, Tim Gleason and Jamie McBain will all return to the lineup tonight for Carolina. The return of Skinner is huge for Carolina who has missed the last five games. Skinner is third on the team with 14 points (7G-7A) in 13 games. He will play tonight on the second line with Jordan Staal. “Jordan isRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz: Bortuzzo making his mark; Reese earns high praise from Bylsma


MORNING PENS BUZZ In five games, Robert Bortuzzo is showing why the organization opted to keep him over the likes of Brian Strait and Ben Lovejoy. He brings elements the Penguins have lacked on their blueline and he’s a unique defenseman at 6-foot-4 who plays physical and can skate well. Bortuzzo made his mark Thursday night vs the Capitals, seeing 16:59 of ice time, a season high, and had 3 hits and 1 blocked shot. The physical element of providing “grit” has been on display in all five games this season, but it stood out vs the Capitals as Bortuzzo was physical with Alexander Ovechkin in the third period. Bortuzzo looks to make it difficult on the opposition and he’s fit the scouting report on him to perfection. “That’s one of the things Robert brings to the table,” Bylsma said of the physical element. “He’s a bigger body guy, littleRead More »

Morning Pens Buzz on Scouting Meetings, Open competition in goal, Bortuzzo/Strait & Knuble interest?


MORNING PENS BUZZ The Penguins pro scouting meetings are underway this week beginning yesterday and here’s some rumblings coming out of Penguin circles: — As the dust has settled a bit since the signing of Tomas Vokoun on Monday to a two year, $4 million deal, strong indications now out of the organization is that this signing was made with implications of their being an open competition next season at the goaltender position. Marc Andre Fleury has responded well in the past when challenged by a backup playing well with prime examples being Ty Conklin in 2007-2008 and Brent Johnson in the first month of the 2010-2011 season. What’s different here is the type of goaltender Vokoun is, compared to Conklin and Johnson who were true backups and not number 1 types, and Fleury regardless of how things played out in 2008 and 2010, was not going to lose his jobRead More »

Rookie Tournament Buzz: Jeffrey getting rave reviews


Rookie Tournament Buzz Word out of Penguins circles is that Dustin Jeffrey and Geoff Walker have been the two best players on the ice in the Penguins 2010 Rookie tournament. Zach Sill has also been a standout.  Jeffrey who has three goals in the tournament, is doing what he has to do as some of the Penguins top personnel members have been in attendance. This is the year the Penguins are expecting Jeffrey to make his mark in training camp. Questions though are still unanswered regarding how Jeffrey’s game will translate at the NHL level. Walker, 22, is a big winger with good size (6-3, 225) has some intrigue about him. He’s putting himself in position to get an early opportunity in Wilkes Barre to earn a spot on one of the top three lines.. Defensively top prospect Simon Despres has been characterized as being “dominant at times” in the defensive zone butRead More »

Farm Report: Penguins interested in grooming Dustin Jeffrey into a left winger


Johnson back at full health Right winger Nick Johnson (6ft2, 200lbs), is regarded by many NHL scouts as the Penguins most under-rated prospect. Johnson plays a strong two-way game and caught the eye of many members in the organization this past September, when Johnson pushed for a roster spot out of camp. Johnson likely would have been one of the Penguins call-ups during the Penguins rash of injuries in October and November but Johnson suffered a high ankle sprain just 7 games into the season, which sidelined him for 7 weeks. Johnson returned to the lineup Wednesday night, scoring 2 goals in Wilkes Barre’s 6-0 rout of Syracuse. This is a big year for Johnson to prove that he is an NHL player. Johnson will turn 24 this month. Stat Line: 8 GP – 3 goals – 1 assist – 4 pts Penguins grooming Dustin Jeffrey to be a leftRead More »

Prospect Nick Johnson among top performers on day 1


Prospect Nick Johnson (2004, 3rd round pick) has the look of a player ready to build off of what was a strong playoff run to end his first professional season. Top 5 Performers from Day 1 1. RW Nick Johnson (2004, 3rd round pick) *Notes from Today’s Skate – Beaming with confidence and looked a step above the rest – Shot the puck very well, good velocity, accuracy – Among the top performers in 1-on-1 drills – Used size, speed to beat defenders wide – Even though he’s going up against younger players, team insiders were raving about his play this afternoon 2. RW Kevin Veilleux (2007, 2nd round pick) * Notes From Today’s Skate – Showed good speed, acceleration in skilled drills – Great composure in the offensive zone and around the net – Uses his reach very well – Look comfortable playing wing in line drills