Latest Pens Buzz: Burke, Hextall putting too much weight into the Penguins winning division?


Ron Hextall is driving the bus When the Penguins hired Brian Burke in the midst of a global pandemic by creating a new position of President of Hockey Operations that contractually gives Burke final say on hockey decisions, many around the league had the expectation that Ron Hextall would be doing all the leg work on the day-to-day operations, which has been the case, but that Burke would be more Toronto Maple Leafs Brian Burke than Calgary Flames Brian Burke in being the biggest voice in dictating the direction of the team. That has not played out at all, sources close to the situation say. Maybe things will change a year from now and they very well could, but to this point Ron Hextall has all the muscle in laying out a plan for the short-term and long-term. He’s the de facto No. 1 decision maker, sources confirm. Burke hasRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: New Regime Taking a risk in putting so much weight into a shortened season


Trying to have the oldest core in the league? Big Three? Is it now a Big Four in Pittsburgh? Despite 3/4’s of the group Ron Hextall now calls the ‘core’ being closer to 40 years old than 30, Hextall see’s no reason not to continue to build around Crosby, Malkin, Letang and now Jeff Carter……….. “We are excited about our group with Letang, Crosby, Malkin and Jeff Carter,” said Ron Hextall at his season ending zoom conference on Wednesday. Hextall lumping Carter into the “core” talk was eye catching and during the presser Hextall also spoke of how after adding Carter he didn’t see any real weaknesses in the Penguins lineup. There’s no question Carter ended up being a fantastic trade deadline addition, but set to turn 37 years old in January, the Penguins are taking quite the optimistic approach that Carter can steadily be an impact player at hisRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Off-Season Rumblings & More Buzz


Latest Pens Buzz New Regime All-In on Mike Sullivan for Now Early Off-Season Priority is Clearing Cap Space  Has the Org Soured on Jake Guentzel? New Type of Linemate? Concerns that Sidney Crosby wore Down Rumblings: New Regime privately wanted to kill the Sullivan noise right away this off-season — Maybe the new regime of Ron Hextall and Brian Burke are just delaying the inevitable and they’ll eventually bring in their own guy by the 2022-2023 season, but any chance of Penguins’ head coach Mike Sullivan exiting the organization this off-season would be Sullivan’s doing in lining up and wanting another opportunity. With some noise being out there, Hextall and Burke made it known to Sullivan last week and within 24 hours of the Penguins ouster, sources say, From strictly a coaching performance, the new regime just saw nothing from Sullivan’s grip on the team that warranted much discussion atRead More »

Post-Series Talking Points: The Penguins are a “Great Team”, Tristan Jarry is “Great”, Mike Sullivan is “Great”


Post-Series Buzz Today is close out day for the Penguins and of course it’s going as expected with a lot of ‘we’re a great team, Tristan Jarry is a great goalie, bad puck luck, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang deserve to finish their careers together and so on’….. Among the Talking Points out of the zoom sessions: Kris Letang took the expected route in touting that he wants to finish his career in Pittsburgh. “Me, Geno and Sid want to finish as Penguins,” said Kris Letang. “We truly believe in ourselves. We think we have a lot to offer.” Letang’s long-time No. 1 d-partner Brian Dumoulin echoed similar sentiments: “They [Crosby/Malkin/Letang] are the ones that established the winning culture we have here,” said Dumoulin. A third straight first round exit, Letang claimed the Penguins had a ‘great year’ “I don’t think you can say we didn’t have a great year,”Read More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Coaching Buzz, Extension Talk, Landing a new No. 2 to run with Sidney Crosby?


That Matt Murray guy wasn’t so bad after all was he? Tristan Jarry proved in Game 6 he was cooked mentally before the puck even dropped. That was the worst fear coming into Wednesday night and it played out. Jarry put it all on tape of a how a goaltender loses you a series. This could shape his career, that’s how damaging his performance was the last two games of the series. He just couldn’t handle the pressure. And here the Penguins now sit with three straight first round playoff exits. “You win games as a group. You games as a team, you lose games as a team,” Mike Sullivan said in not pinpointing the series on Jarry. There’s no denying this year was different than the past two postseasons in how the Penguins transformed over the final couple months of the season into the team that legitimately could haveRead More »

Game 5 What We Learned: The Playoff Scene is Too big for Tristan Jarry & the Hard Reality


Game 5 What We Learned The Pittsburgh had their most dominating performance of the postseason and quit possibly the best overall performance in tilting the ice for an entire game since maybe the 2016 postseason, yet, here they are on the brink of elimination after a 3-2 loss to the Islanders in double overtime. The Penguins lost this game despite a 50-28 edge in shots, 36-17 edge in scoring chances through first 80 minutes of play and a 14-4 edge in high danger chances. The Penguins afterwards sounded like a hockey club where they just suffered a Game 1 loss of the series not a Game 5 loss that now has them having to win two in a row to advance. “I was really proud of the team,” Sullivan said in taking quite the positive approach to the Game 5 loss. “I thought we played a really solid hockey game.Read More »

Penguins – Islanders Series Buzz: Is it Still ‘Advantage’ Pittsburgh in Best-of-3?


Penguins – Islanders Series Buzz As the series shifts back to Pittsburgh tonight and is now a best-of-3, are the Pittsburgh still a slight favorite by default due to having home-ice? Home-ice is rarely a significant advantage in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the Penguins at home this season are just a different type of hockey club. There’s no denying that. They have an ability to storm out of the gates that also played out in games 1 and 2 of the series, and they’ve just been more of a 60 minute type hockey club at home compared to the road. Trying to predict what plays out the rest of the way, the Penguins have that going for them. Other than that, the Islanders should feel good about where things are trending their way. Over the last four periods of play, the Islanders have outscored the Penguins 7-3 and evenRead More »

Game 1: Penguins – Islanders What We Learned


Game 1: Penguins, Isles each show blueprint in series opener Losses in 10 of their last 11 playoff games, the Pittsburgh Penguins keep losing playoff games and are now chasing their first round series. Kyle Palmieri scored his second goal of the game at 16:30 of overtime to deliver a 4-3 OT win for the New York Islanders in Game 1 on Sunday afternoon. Palmieri starred for the Islanders with the opening goal of the game and the OT winner, while Brock Nelson and JG Pageau also scored in the win. Backup netminder Ilya Sorokin provided a number of timely saves and shined with a 39-save performance after getting the nod due to No. 1 netminder Seymon Varlamov being held out for precautionary reasons. For Pittsburgh, Freddy Gaudreau, Sidney Crosby and Kasperi Kapanen all scored in the loss, while Tristan Jarry made 37 in his second career post-season game. KrisRead More »

Penguins’ more structured team game standing out for a potential Pens – Caps series


Favorites in the East Division? The Washington Capitals have a roster that just looks built for the playoffs. A big, heavy hockey club that will wear the opposition down over a seven game series. More and more, though, the Capitals look like they have a matchup problem when it comes to dealing with the Penguins. Under Peter Laviolette this looks like a Capitals coached team like it was under Todd Reirden. A good to very good team at times that has too many lulls in the attention to details. Where as in Pittsburgh, the play away from the puck has gone to new heights. Playing with speed can be overrated. The Penguins right now, though, look like a Barry Trotz coached team in how structured they’ve become and there’s some signs of being an elite hockey team in how they’ve evolved into a speed/structured type team. The pace the PenguinsRead More »

The $9 Million man in 2022?


— The Pittsburgh Steelers this week inked Mason Rudolph to a one year extension that keeps him under contract through the 2022 season. The significance if any? He’ll receive a salary of $5 million in 2022 with incentives that could make the contract worth $9 million per season. Long, long way to go but there is a belief from Rudolph camp based on their conversations with the Steelers brass that the Steelers have all intentions of giving Rudolph a flier as the QB1 in 2022–