Latest Pens Buzz: On Brian Burke running the show & giving the Penguins a likely needed dose of reality

 

The Burke/Hextall Era Begins Less than two weeks after Jim Rutherford just up and quit, the Pittsburgh Penguins today named Brian Burke President of Hockey Operations and Ron Hextall the 11th General Manager in team history. “With these two guys, we have two of the greatest minds in hockey,” CEO David Morehouse said. “Two of the most respected people in hockey. It carries on a tradition of the Penguins that goes back to when we had Badger Bob, Scotty Bowman and Jim Rutherford on to today with Brian Burke and Ron Hextall. The Penguins say Hextall will handle the day-to-day hockey operations, while reporting to Burke. Burke will then report directly to David Morehouse. Of the two hires, let’s start with the biggest one of the day in Brian Burke. No matter how the Penguins wanted to present it today, let’s make this as clear as can be: The 65Read More »

Penguins offer General Manager position to Ron Hextall

 

Hextall tracking to become next GM After a lengthy meeting of over four hours on Monday with former Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall, a meeting that included team owner Mario Lemieux, the Penguins believe they have found their man to replace Jim Rutherford. For the time being, the team has halted second interviews with other shortlist candidates and this morning began directly negotiating with Ron Hextall’s representatives for Hextall to become the Penguins next General Manager. Both sides

Latest Pens Buzz: Most disappointing loss of the season, GM Search Chatter & More Buzz

 

Finding Ways to Lose Pittsburgh’s 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders Saturday night chalks up as their most disappointing loss of the season through 11 games. Falling down 2-1 it looked like it was going to be another night where Tristan Jarry wasn’t going to do enough to put the Penguins in position to win. Then in the second period the tide turned. Jarry had a spectacular second period two that was capped off with Evgeni Malkin tying the game at 2-2 with 15 seconds left in the second period that saw the Malkin line turn defense into offense just inside the Isles blueline. Momentum continued to carry the Penguins way in the early moments of the final frame as Jake Guentzel put the Penguins up 3-2, just 3:19 in the third. The way the Penguins started to take the game over in stretches, especially the top line thatRead More »

Jason Karmanos fired in Oct, officially interviews for Pens GM opening

 

Latest on Penguins GM Search Former Penguins assistant General Manager Jason Karmanos who spent six seasons as Jim Rutherford’s right hand man, is a candidate for the Penguins GM opening and officially interviewed on The twist in the story here is that it wasn’t the Penguins after all that forced Rutherford to fire Karmanos in late October, which was assumed by many due to how close Rutherford and Karmanos had been for years. Multiple sources close to the situation confirm the Karmanos firing was Rutherford 100% driven due to a blow up

Latest Pens Buzz: Covid Outbreaks, 5 vs 5 Scoring, GM Search Latest

 

Can NHL manage Covid outbreak? The worst fear the NHL had prior to the season starting has been a belief among their team of medical advisers and consultants that team to team transmission from the benches being a much higher probability for NHL players than the rarity it’s been for football, basketball. Airborne transmission is a high concern in hockey arenas and the NHL is seeing some early evidence of it being problematic in the latest spread among multiple teams. That will have the NHL making immediate changes to their covid protocols such as installing portable air cleaners behind the benches to try to help decrease the chance of airborne transmission. As expected, the league is going to be forced to adjust covid protocols on a week to week basis. The ability to make bench changes in trying to space players out better like the NBA can isn’t an optionRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Power Play Woes, GM Search kicking into high gear

 

Power Play Woes Doom Penguins’ in Loss Deserved a better fate? Maybe but these things usually even out as the Penguins have gotten some W’s so far this season when they shouldn’t have. Without three of their top-5 defensemen as Kris Letang is now on the shelf, the Penguins laid out a blueprint defensively in the first and second period of really how they need to defend whether they have a full roster or not. There were a lot of things to like in how they defended 5 vs 5. For whatever reason, the Penguins always seem to do this when they’re ravished with injuries at certain spots. A light will go off that this is how they need to play but it rarely continues when the roster gets back to full strength. Another storyline out of the loss is a little goaltender controversy is brewing with Casey DeSmith beingRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Penguins to hear pitches for President of Hockey Operations & More Buzz

 

Penguins to go the President of Hockey Operations Route? Adjusting to the new trends? We’ll see whether it actually transpires or not, but the Pittsburgh Penguins will go into the interview process this week with an open mind of implementing a major upheaval of the front office structure. There is a growing sense around the league that Co-Owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle will strongly consider a President of Hockey Operations structure with a desire for Team President David Morehouse, while still acting as the liaison to ownership on hockey level dealings, Some are expressing caution that this will actually play out, but it’s something being seriously mulled by Lemieux and Burkle, sources say, and that’s a good thing. That has the Penguins bringing in 3-4 candidates this week to hear pitches on this model and actually be interviewing for President of Hockey Operations, not General Manager. Multiple league sourcesRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: More Fallout from Rutherford’s Exit & Latest on GM Search

 

The Rutherford Fallout & Latest on the GM Search Worst kept secret around the league right now: Jim Rutherford will be laying the groundwork the next couple months to join a franchise as a President of Hockey Operations with former Penguins Assistant GM Jason Karmanos coming in as General Manager. Karmanos who was Rutherford’s top lieutenant the last couple seasons wasn’t just a puppet for Rutherford. He has been considered an up and coming name in the executive ranks and was a sleeper GM candidate in the Coyotes recent search and also spoke with the Devils for their opening last season. — There is more and more noise from those close to Rutherford that sometime around late October/early November he started to believe a mutual parting AFTER the season was more likely than not, which is a shock to many as it was always assumed Rutherford would be allowed toRead More »

Breakaway Buzz: Noise of Sidney Crosby eventually teaming up with Nathan MacKinnon (In Colorado) growing in league circles

 

TIOPS Breakaway Buzz *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* Wild Speculation surrounds Penguins Future How wild is the speculation surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins right now beyond the General Manager search? It’s pretty wild. Especially to the point where NHL executives, some top NHL Insiders are buzzing about even Sidney Crosby’s future. Yes Sidney Crosby and we’re not talking Sidney Crosby going off and playing elsewhere once his contract ends. There is legit chatter around the league that don’t think it’s a 100% guarantee Crosby will stick around for his final good to great years in a LA Kings/Chicago Blackhawks type situation. Would the ultimate company man actually end his career elsewhere? It’s been something in Pittsburgh considered unimaginable, but for a number of reasons, some tea leaves are being planted from the Crosby camp……… who is very close to Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson, doesn’t go there “There’s some really strong opinions who thinkRead More »