Latest Pens Buzz

A lack of an extension for Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is already a story and will continue to be until some ink gets signed to paper.

The latest developments, though, now have the Penguins setting themselves up for even more of a distraction if they get off to a slow start and Sullivan does indeed enter the season as lame-duck coach. With Penguin ownership said to be lukewarm on paying a coach $4-$5 million per season, a price Sullivan would easily command on the open market, all bets are off on whether Sullivan gets at least the security of a one year extension before the season.

The hiring of Calder Cup Champion Mike Vellucci on Friday as the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins’ new bench boss can be looked at as a forward thinking move until told otherwise. Vellucci gets to reunite with Jim Rutherford who has known Vellucci for over 20 years and the two are very close.

You do the math where this is eventually headed.

Whether he gets an extension of not, Mike Sullivan enters just a fascinating season on whether he can get the room to buy back into him.

Sources say the Phil Kessel situation has some in the organization fearing Sullivan may never get the room back. Kessel is very popular among the core players and the Penguins trying to make Kessel the scapegoat all summer will do nothing to help Sullivan’s cause as multiple players in the room feel the entire situation was initially so coach driven.

Sullivan has been the lead-horse over the last year in a half in believing that Kessel’s gambling ways has had a negative impact on younger players and talk among players is Penguins coaches do not like Kessel and K[hide]ris Letang’s close relationship with the team believing Kessel played a part in impacting Kris Letang negative attitude in tuning out the coaches late in the season. Not to mention the Evgeni Malkin BS the Penguins are trying to sell in blaming Kessel for Malkin’s underwhelming season and issues Malkin caused in meetings, ect.

This just isn’t sitting well with players in the room that has the chance to get worse when Kessel is eventually traded as trading Kessel without a better return coming Pittsburgh’s way isn’t going to absolve the festering attitudes towards Sullivan.


— While a deal would certainly be complicated because of the cap, there’s been some chatter in league circles this week about Pittsburgh and Vegas reigniting the Phil Kessel trade talks early this week, something Kessel’s agent Wade Arnott has been aggressively pushing to do for several weeks. Vegas along with Arizona have been the two primary teams the Kessel camp has been working to orchestrate a trade too.

–Discussions have continued this week between Penguins GM Jim Rutherford and agent To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!