Pens successful road trip keeps them in hunt for top seed, the “Steelers way” might not be the right way this off-season & more in today’s Daily Five


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The importance of the Penguins getting five of eight points on their four game road trip is it keeps them in contention for the top-seed in the East and they boast one of the easiest remaining schedules. Only four of the Penguins remaining 16 games are against teams currently in a playoff spot. 2. The Steelers way is to always let the frenzy play out and sign third, fourth tier free agents, though, they did look into some second tier guys from Cary Williams, Derek Morgan and Brandon Graham. The Seattle Seahawks are not one of those teams who are nothing but complacent in acquiring Jimmy Graham today. For the Steelers who are set to give Ben Roethlisberger another $100 million dollar contract, (Roethlisberger is seeking 6 years, $120 million) they will be lucky if they get four more great years out ofRead More »

Neutral Zone ruining NHL’s product, Playoffs will tell story whether Penguins are a deceiving defensive team & more in today’s Daily Five


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Is the “Neutral Zone” ruining the NHL’s product again? As obstruction has poked it’s head back into the league, the NHL has a diminishing product once again when it comes to highlighting the skilled players. Down seasons or not, the Crosby’s, the Malkin’s, Tavares types should be 100 point players every season in their prime. It’s the way the game is being played, not the players as the reason we’re going to have the NHL points leader under 100 points for the first time since the 2003-2004 season. Since the 2004-2005 lockout, no Art Ross winner has had under 104 points. The way teams are able to defend the neutral zone again similar to how the game was played prior to 05-06, is ruining the offensive side of the game and with obstruction back, coaches are able to game plan so much easierRead More »

Even Strength production for Crosby on steady decline , Ridley on Steelers radar & more in today’s Daily Five


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. If you listen to some pundits, you’ll hear them cite Sidney Crosby’s lack of power play points (8G-18A) and lack of power play opportunities as the primary reason he’s having the worst statistical season of his career. However, the stats show it’s plummeting even strength numbers not his power play production that has him averaging just 1.08 points per game. Last season Crosby had 38 power play points in 80 games, averaging 0.46 power play points per game. This season he’s at 0.44 power play points per game, near identical numbers. At even strength is where there’s a big dip. Crosby this season has 38 even strength points, averaging 0.64 even strength points per game. Last season he posted 66 even strength points in 80 games, averaging 0.83 ESP/Per. Crosby’s 5 v 5 points/60 have dropped from 4.19 (12-13), 2.54 (13-14), to 2.18Read More »

Rumbling’s on Polamalu’s Future, Norris Trophy Talk, Malkin/Crosby career lifers, Bennett & botching Iginla


TIOPS DAILY FIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. Whether Troy Polamalu plays football in 2015 will come down to money. With the Steelers preparing to move on, though, no final decision has been made team officials indicate, Polamalu isn’t ready to give it up yet. He’s been training like a player who plans to play and at the end of the day, money ($5-$6 million per season) will dictate whether he’s forced into retirement or not. There is expected to be interest in Polamalu beyond the Tennessee Titans. But, will the money be good enough? The Steelers were always under the assumption that when Polamalu could no longer play at a star level, he would walk away and not try to be one of those players who keeps going. That’s what has them surprised in Polamalu wanting to keep playing. With the Steelers in relatively good cap shape, one thing gettingRead More »

Penguins “Experience” Rationale, Murray-Jarry Dynamic, Isles, Alvarez, McCoy


TIOPSDAILYFIVE *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* 1. The experience rationale continues to be touted a bit too much by the Penguins in talking Monday’s trades up. Like Jim Rutherford on Monday, Mike Johnston was at it on Tuesday. “Cole is a player that Gary Agnew knows well. In those players, we’re getting more experience,” Johnston said. “At this time of the year, experience is a key thing. Now is time of the year where you really need experience.” I think Ian Cole will do well here but when someone can prove to me that Ian Cole is more experienced than Robert Bortuzzo, let me know. 2. The emergence of goaltender Matt Murray has become quite the storyline this season in Wilkes Barre and really for the organization. His emergence could lead to the Penguins having a good problem to have down the road. When Marc Andre Fleury flopped again in the 2012Read More »

Despres/Lovejoy Fallout, Retaining NHL ready prospects, Steelers/Draft Talk


TIOPSDAILYFIVE *RUMBLINGS, MUSINGS, OPINIONS* 1. From the fan base, the consensus on the Simon Despres – Ben Lovejoy trade seems to be some like it and some absolutely despise it. Looks like there’s no in between and surprisingly that’s the reaction I’ve gotten from some NHL types. Many understand the Penguins thinking here in wanting to add a more reliable defenseman but the vibe continues to be that the Penguins sold low on Despres and took the best deal they could because of their cap situation when it comes to landing a right handed defenseman. At the end of the day yesterday’s trades were able getting safer, more dependable defensemen, even if it meant selling low on Despres. The Anaheim game Friday night should be a fun one to watch. ANALYSIS ON MONDAY’S ACQUISITIONS 2. Robert Bortuzzo was nothing more than a No. 6/No. 7 defenseman who could impact aRead More »



TIOPS DAILY BUZZ: WEDNESDAY EDITION *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* PENGUINS/NHL — There are a lot of good guys in the NHL but you find many better than Pascal Dupuis. He’s just one of those people who you speak to for the first time and can just tell he’s a good caring person. Dupuis importance inside the Penguins room became so evident to those in the Penguins organization last season when Dupuis went down with a torn ACL. “We certainly want to have him around,” associate GM Jason Botterill said of Dupuis. “He’s been a huge asset to our locker room there and the enthusiasm he brings around. Obviously he won’t be able to help us on the ice but hopefully help us in different manners.” Injured players are not around much, so others are going to have to step up from a leadership standpoint, but on the ice, what the PenguinsRead More »



TIOPS DAILY BUZZ *RUMBLINGS, MUSINGS, OPINIONS* PENGUINS/NHL — It’s was no secret when Ray Shero was fired that Penguins team President David Morehouse had a strong desire to become more involved with the day to day hockey operations and that’s the case now with Jim Rutherford reporting directly to Morehouse, where as Shero reported directly to ownership. However, it’s important to note that what Penguins ownership has done since hiring Rutherford is stay out of the way. Major deals like trading James Neal and signing Marc Andre Fleury had to be signed off by ownership but what ownership has done is let Rutherford come up with his own opinions when it comes to making personnel decisions. Despite how well Marc Andre Fleury is liked personally by Mario Lemieux and others, there was no pressure from ownership on Rutherford to sign Fleury. They made a determination during the GM hiring processRead More »



TIOPS DAILY BUZZ *RUMBLINGS, MUSINGS, OPINIONS* PIRATES/MLB Russell Martin getting a deal that the Pirates would have no interest in matching was inevitable and on the surface, going five years was something the Pirates, Cubs and Dodgers were likely smart not to do. However, let’s not act like the Pirates couldn’t afford Martin. They could. Bob Nutting runs this franchise like a business, sets a budget and sticks by it. He’s not a owner who operates like the franchise is a toy and who will go above and beyond to win a championship. That’s not his primary goal with this franchise. Nutting will never be the guy who walks into Neal Huntington’s office and demands to go get player X and Player Y no matter the cost so they can put the Pirates over the top. While five years is risky for Martin, this is still a deal others inRead More »



TIOPS MORNING BUZZ: FRIDAY EDITION *Rumblings, Musings, Opinions* — Penguins GM Jim Rutherford remains determined to add another scoring winger but unless he can move a salary and to this point Rutherford is only interested in hockey trades not salary dumps, per rival executives, the Penguins remain hamstring to make impact additions and will have to wait until right up to the deadline. One source with knowledge of the situation said the Penguins have never been this up against the cap where they can barely make callups now that Beau Bennett is back. — If the Penguins had the space to add another body, forward Andrei Loktionov would likely be a Penguin, a source says. — Sad news this week in the NHL with Nathan Horton’s NHL career likely over at age 29 and Senators GM Bryan Murray claiming he has stage 4 colon cancer and unknowingly had the cancerRead More »