Daily Five

*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*

1. One NHL executive on the Phil Kessel trade speculation last week:

“The leaks are coming from Pittsburgh [Penguins organization] and it grabs your attention [hide] that something isn’t right [behind the scenes].”

Surveying the scene a bit the last couple days, the chatter among some other clubs is Pittsburgh’s simply sending a message to Kessel with the off the record leaks in that he needs to change.

Other NHL folks seem to think Pittsburgh see’s a diminishing asset and want to move the contract in the next year or so while there’s still some value, with the $6.8 million cap hit being the primary reason they’ve investigated the trade market for Kessel at one point this summer.

The Penguins have a lot of guys to pay coming up and also want to be flexible against the cap to make necessary additions during this window that Penguin management feels could become a dynasty in the Cup Era.

The Penguins want to keep Hornqvist around. They want to lock up Rust whose new deal will push $4 million. I think they still have hopes of getting Dumoulin done long-term. Jake Guentzel could be a $4-$5 million a year player after his entry level deal is up and so on.


2. A Phil Kessel trade isn’t likely happening this summer, but if people think the trade talk is just being churned out by the local media as speculation, they’re wrong.

When it comes to NHL insiders, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is right at the top with TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

Friedman is among those buying the Kessel trade talk.

[hide] “A couple of guys I was talking to about it yesterday [Thursday] say that Pittsburgh would probably have to eat some of that [Kessel’s $6.8 MM cap hit,” Elliotte Friedman said on Sportsnet Radio. I don’t where you’re looking at a team that would want to take the full 6.8.”

“But I do think that the speculation has some merit. I think the Penguins have, at the very least, looked at it. I don’t think it’s necessarily a guarantee that it’s going to happen, but I do think Ron Cook who is the columnist who wrote that, was not wrong, at least in the idea of Pittsburgh investigating it,” said Friedman.


3. The Pittsburgh Pirates took 2 of 3 from the St. Louis Cardinals, something they had to do leading into a monumental series with the Brewers tonight. Josh Bell provided the heroics Friday night with a 3-run walk-off blast. The rookie is now up to 17 homers on the season and then Pittsburgh put together another walk-off win in rallying Sunday afternoon on an Adam Frazier walk-off single in the ninth.

The Pirates gutted out two necessary wins against the Cardinals and even found a way to rally for a win Sunday with another Clint Hurdle Sunday lineup.

.098 hitter Max Moroff homered in the win and the Pirates hung around despite Trevor Williams allowing 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. The Cardinals managed just 2 runs off Williams.

A key development in the series was Adam Frazier, especially with Josh Harrison still in a funk. Frazier went 3-5 in Friday night’s walk-off win, including a leadoff double in the ninth and Sunday delivered the walk-off single.

He was 6-12 in the series.

Frazier entered Friday night hitting .198 since June 1.

Despite being 7-3 in their last 10 games and winning their last three series, the Pirates remain seven games back of Milwaukee who are 8-2 in their last 10.

4. Tyler Glasnow’s last six starts in Triple-A Indianapolis:

4-0, 1.49 ERA, 55/15 K/BB ratio

Glasnow’s had strikeout games of 8, 11, 12, 11, 7, and 6.

With Glasnow, until he proves it in the Majors there’s going to be skeptics of anything he does in Indy as his stuff is too powerful for Triple-A players.

Pirate officials, though, have been very encouraged with what they’ve seen.

The velocity in the Majors was down to around 94, which was very concerning. It is now back up to high 90’s and he’s hitting 100.

The Pirates believe the issues in the Majors was more of a confidence issue than anything where Glasnow became too fixated with his control that led to the down velocity.

They are working with him on just letting the ball fly but that’s so much easier to do in the minors than with the big club.

For a player who has gone from one of baseball’s top-10 prospects to now being viewed by many as a back of the rotation starter in a matter of months, Glasnow is now in a situation where few are going to care what he’s doing in the minors but the Pirates insist the view of him hasn’t changed long-term as a top of the rotation starter.

5. Negotiations between the Steelers and Le’Von Bell’s camp went dark for over two months until Friday afternoon.

Pittsburgh, as expected, has made a late push to try to hammer out a new long-term deal. Steelers officials always felt Bell’s camp wouldn’t be willing to really negotiate until right at the deadline and that’s where this is headed.

It’s always been a complicated deal to make but the Steelers have pushed for a deal to get done in the last 48 hours.

The deadline is 4:00 p.m.

One Steelers source tells me if a deal gets done, he predicts it will be within To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!