Four games is too early to make any judgements on 21 year old winger Luca Caputi but I spoke to three talent evaluators this week who all agreed that Caputi is clearly not ready to be a consistent top-6 winger at the NHL level.
One of the biggest complaints of Caputi’s game is no longer his skating ability but his strength and physique. Scouts tell me Caputi’s not going to be able to deal with the grind of the NHL season until he bulks up.
In the minors, players are lucky to play three games a week. That’s not the case in the NHL, especially this season with the Olympics looming.
Caputi struggled Monday night against Minnesota winning battles in the corners and that’s going to continue. He’s still very much a developing prospect and expectations are a bit too high right now.
*Defenseman Sergei Gonchar had a 15 minute phone interview with league reps this afternoon regarding Gonchar’s vicious hit to Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck, sources tell me.

The vibe from a team official is that Gonchar won’t be suspended but will receive a fine of $2,500 – $5,000.
Pittsburgh will know of the league’s decision by 5:00 p.m. today.

Curry remains with team

Goaltender John Curry traveled with the team to Calgary as Brent Johnson is sidelined with a lower body injury.
There has been no word on Brooks Orpik. Orpik was re-evaluated in Pittsburgh yesterday morning by team doctors. Orpik is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the road trip.
Pittsburgh did not practice today. They will return to the ice tomorrow morning in Calgary.

Malkin doesn’t miss Sykora

A member of the Pittsburgh media told me yesterday that in the press box, the Minnesota media keep indicating that Evgeni Malkin misses Petr Sykora.
My take on that is Malkin didn’t miss Sykora too much last year in the playoffs when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy. I’m not buying that notion one bit. What Malkin misses is a Ryan Malone type of player not Petr Sykora.
The best move that happened to Pittsburgh was Petr Sykora declining a two year extension last February that would have paid Sykora $2.85 million per season. Pittsburgh dodged a bullet there.
At the time Sykora was on pace for a 30+ goal season.

Godard, Skoula and McKee in the coaches dog house?

A fan sent me an email this morning stating, if Eric Godard isn’t going to dress against Minnesota when Derek Boogaard is in the lineup, what’s the point of having him on the roster.
It’s a valid point to some extent. One reason that Godard didn’t play is that Pittsburgh was coming off of a victory and the coaching staff was very upset with Godard taking a careless penalty against Philadelphia.
*Martin Skoula was a healthy scratch against Minnesota in favor of Ben Lovejoy. Lovejoy will remain in the lineup as long as he’s with the team but Skoula may get back into the lineup tomorrow night against Calgary.
I’m told Jay McKee is under consideration to sit.

Dupuis a plus-5 in his last 2 games

Winger Pascal Dupuis had a plus-minus rating of minus-5 in 45 games after Thursday’s 7-4 loss to the Flyers. Two games later and he now has an even rating after tallying four points in his last two games that included a plus-5 rating.

Penguins-Flyers game moved to NBC telecast

The Sunday, Jan. 24, Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers game will be played at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC, the National Hockey League and NBC announced.
This Sunday, NBC features a rematch of last season’s Western Conference final when the Chicago Blackhawks face the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Blackhawks lead the NHL with 66 points and are in search of their first Stanley Cup championship since 1961. No two NHL teams have played more regular-season games against each other than the Red Wings and Blackhawks.
At least 13 days prior to the scheduled game, one game is selected for broadcast on NBC. Games selected to appear on NBC move to 12:30 p.m. ET. All NBC games will be broadcast on Sundays and all games will be presented in High Definition.
Games not flexed to NBC will be available to the teams’ regional carriers and remain at the originally announced start time.
NBC is also expected to pick up the Penguins – Red Wings game on January 31 and February 7 Pittsburgh at Washington.
2009-10 NBC Game of the Week Regular-Season Flexible Schedule
Jan. 17 CHICAGO AT DETROIT 12:30 p.m. ET
Jan. 31 Detroit at Pittsburgh OR Tampa Bay at Washington 12:30 p.m. ET
Feb. 7 Pittsburgh at Washington OR Boston at Montreal 12:30 p.m. ET
Mar. 7 Boston at Pittsburgh OR Detroit at Chicago OR Carolina at Atlanta 12:30 p.m. ET
Mar. 14 Philadelphia at NY Rangers OR Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay OR Washington at Chicago OR Colorado at Dallas 12:30 p.m. ET
Mar. 21 NY Rangers at Boston OR Buffalo at Carolina 12:30 p.m. ET
Apr. 4 Detroit at Philadelphia 12:30 p.m. ET
Apr. 11 Boston at Washington OR NY Rangers at Philadelphia OR Detroit at Chicago TBD