Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween from the NHL (featuring Malkin Goal)

Perhaps a day early, but I figured you may as well have some time to enjoy it!!

The Penguins posted the latest NHL commercial (for Halloween) that features, among a few others, Malkin's "flying through the air" goal on Ottawa's Brian Elliott (during the Pens' 5-2 win over the Senators on October 18th).

"These guys are good - scary good!"
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!


More WBS Player Appearances (November)

Tuesday, November 9
Carl Sneep
Weis Markets in Clarks Summit - 6:00-7:00pm Tuesday, November 9

Geoff Walker
Georgetown Deli and Beer in Wilkes-Barre 7:00-8:30pm (Coors Light Star Bar)

Wednesday, November 10
Brett Sterling
Grotto Pizza in Wilkes-Barre 7:00-8:30pm (Coors Light Star Bar)

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

1988
Pittsburgh set a team record for most penalties in a game against the New York Rangers (32 for 158 minutes).

information obtained from PITTSBURGHHOCKEY.NET

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pre-Game Notes (Pittsburgh VS Philadelphia)

IN NET
speculation has been that Fleury will start in goal tonight for the Pens; it's been all, but confirmed by HC Bylsma

LINE COMBINATIONS (projected from this morning's skate)
Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis
Asham-Letestu-Malkin
Cooke-Talbot-Kennedy
Rupp-Adams-Comrie

PHILADELPHIA INJURY / LINE INFO
Ian Laperriere (F), post-concussion syndrome - out indefinitely
Michael Leighton (G), back surgery - out until late November
Matt Walker (D), right hip surgery - out indefinitely

A Little Penguins History To Go With the Unveling of Pittsburgh's 2011 Winter Classic Uniforms


jtyerse / Flickr

COVERING ENEMY TERRITORY - Philadelphia

UP NEXT: PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
(4-4-1, 9 points)

In net tonight: Sergei Bobrovsky (projected)

Philadelphia Flyers webpage
Familiar rivals meet as Penguins host Flyers (10/28/2010)
Steady as he goes (10/27/2010)

The Mercury

Flyers get another shot at Penguins (10/29/2010)

Philadelphia Daily News
Road trips strengthen Flyers' family ties (10/29/2010)

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Flyers demote winger Zherdev to fourth line (10/29/2010)



CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY!!

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

2003
Mario Lemieux records his 1,700th career point - in ONLY 887 GAMES - on an assist of Dick Tarnstrom’s goal vs. the NY Islanders (making him the sixth player in NHL history to reach the mark)

1989
Pittsburgh and New Jersey each scored five power-play goals to set a team record for most power-play goals for both teams in one game

1986
Kevin LaVallee scored his first hat trick with Pittsburgh on NJ Devils goaltender Alain Chevrier

information obtained from PITTSBURGHHOCKEY.NET

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Little Penguins History To Go with the Unveiling of Pittsburgh’s 2011 Winter Classic Uniforms


jtyerse / Flickr


MORE 2011 Winter Classic Uniform Pics

Here are a few more pictures from earlier today when Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin modeling the new 2011 Winter Classic jersey / uniforms.

PHOTO: 2011 Winter Classic Jersey

Geno and Staalsy modeling the new uniforms
(check out the striped socks!)
Penguins Winter Classic jerseys will be available for sale to the public the week of Nov. 15. They will be available at numerous retail outlets, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and the PensGear stores at CONSOL Energy Center.

The Penguins just unveiled their jersey for this season's Winter Classic!!  MORE PICS TO FOLLOW!!!

Penguins Unveil Winter Classic Jersey TODAY!!

Today after the Penguins workout / practice, the team will be unveiling their special, third 2011 Winter Classic jersey ...

It will be during a "jersey ceremony" at which the players will be wearing the jersey ... Penguins LIVE will be covering it and detailing it over the radio (around 1-1:15 PM).

CHECK BACK for details!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two Players Re-Assigned to WBS

The Penguins just announced that they've sent forward Eric Tangradi and defenseman Andrew Hutchinson back to their AHL affiliate in WBS.

With both Jordan Staal and Arron Asham on IR, this leaves the Penguins with 23 active players on the roster.  It's believed that Asham will return to the lineup on Wednesday against Tampa Bay and it would appear that Brooks Orpik may also make a return with Hutcinson's demotion.

We will see on Wednesday.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Upcoming WBS Penguin Promo Appearances

Tuesday, October 26
Nick Johnson
Comcast Store at the Mall at Steamtown - 5:30-7:00pm

Tuesday, October 26
Joe Vitale
Maxie's (Plymouth) 7:00-8:30pm

Wednesday, October 27
John Curry
Major League Sports Bar (Sugar Notch) 7:00-8:30pm

WBS Pens Preview

by Maureen L.

The Baby Pens have a doubleheader at home this weekend, hosting the Hershey Bears and the Binghamton Senators. Let’s take a look at what the Baby Pens are facing this weekend.

The Hershey Bears:
The Bears come into this game as the reigning, back to back, Calder Cup champions. As the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals, they bring with them a pretty solid roster including former WBS goaltender Dany Sabourin. The Bears are 2-1-1 coming into the game with the Baby Pens who are undefeated coming off a huge weekend with Charlotte Checkers.

The Binghamton Senators:
The Senators stand with a 2-3 record on the season so far and seem to be struggling to find their groove. They will be looking for strong goaltending from either Mike Brodeur or Barry Brust. The Senators will also need the offensive production of goal scorers Butler and O’Brien.

Key items for both the Bears and Senators:
  • Defense needs to focus on preventing the Penguins offense from getting their game going. Top point producers for the Baby Pens are Dustin Jeffrey, Tim Wallace, and Nick Johnson.
  • Score early and often. The Penguins can be stingy with scoring chances as the game goes on and have shown they are capable of capitalizing on mistakes and opportunities late in the game.
Keys for the Pens:
  • Goaltending. Both Thessian and Curry have looked good in net but will need to be on top of their games this weekend.
  • Preventing their opponents from getting points on the board is a big thing, especially against Hershey. The Bears and Pens already met once this season already and the game ended in a shootout victory for the Pens.
Listen LIVE to the WBS Penguins this weekend at:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

That's So MAF (the musings of a Penguins goalie)!

Despite Bylsma's decision to keep Fleury out of the net for the past few games, Fleury has continued to maintain his bubbly personality while adding a serious "back-to-business" type of mentality to it.  I think the time probably did him some good and I'll be anxious to see how it translates when he's back in the net.
 
Here's what he had to say today when asked about the issue (CLICK HERE to listen to the podcase from the Penguins webpage!):

On if he’s mentally fragile:
I’m just looking forward to getting back in the net. I’m not thinking about being fragile. I want to get back in there, play a game, stop the puck. That’s where my focus is and that’s what I want to do. I’m excited to get back in there. It’s been a while.

On being tired of addressing the issue:
I want to do well. The team is winning. It’s tough. I just have to forget about it and do my best next time.

Pre-Game Notes (Pittsburgh VS Nashville)

IN NET
nothing has been confirmed yet, but it's expected that HC Bylsma will give Fleury the go-ahead in goal tonight although it's being reported how well Johnson does against the Preds, so we'll probably be in suspense until gametime

LINE COMBINATIONS (projected from this morning's skate)
Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis
Comrie-Letestu-Malkin
Cooke-Talbot-Kennedy
Tangradi-Adams-Rupp/Godard

Martin-Letang
Goligoski-Lovejoy
Hutchinson-Engelland

NASHVILLE INJURY / LINE INFO
Ryan Suter (D), lower body - day-to-day
Marcel Goc (F), separated shoulder - out 2 to 4 weeks
Matthew Lombardi (F), concussion - out indefinitely
Jamie Lundmark (F), groin - day-to-day

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The First Win at the CONSOL Continues to Elude the Penguins

Penguins Release Schedule for Third and Winter Classic Jerseys

Kris Letang and HC Bylsma
(Sam Kasan / Penguins.com)
The team had practice at the Iceoplex today wearing their alternate blue [practice] uniforms.  They will also be unveiling the special jersey for the Winter Classic later this month.

The schedule for the third jersey and Winter Classic jersey:

Oct. 15 - NY ISLANDERS (Third)
Oct. 30 at Carolina (Third)
Nov. 17 - VANCOUVER (Third)
Nov. 27 - CALGARY (Third)
Dec. 6 - NEW JERSEY (Third)
Dec. 26 at Ottawa (Third)
Jan. 1 - WASHINGTON (Winter Classic)
Jan. 8 - MINNESOTA (Third)
Jan. 22 - CAROLINA (Third)
Feb. 10 - LOS ANGELES (Winter Classic)
Feb. 23 - SAN JOSE (Third)
March 12 - MONTREAL (Winter Classic)
March 27 - FLORIDA (Third)

Fleury with new "alternate" pads
(Sam Kasan / Penguins.com)

In Memory: Taylor Vit (1987 - 2010)

by Maureen L.

CoolCatsHockey.com
It has already been reported that on Monday, October 11, University of Kentucky senior Taylor Vit passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident on Sunday October 10. Police report that Vit was not wearing his seat belt and was traveling alone. Many thoughts and prayers go out to Taylor’s family and friends, his teammates, and the entire UK community for this tragic loss.

Taylor Vit was a senior at UK, one of the team’s assistant captains, and a dynamic hockey player. A native of Villanova, PA (near Philadelphia), Taylor transferred to UK in his sophomore year. He was absolutely dynamic and a huge part of the UK team, leading the team in scoring. In his first year with the Wild Cats, he put up 51 points in 32 games (24G, 27A). He exploded last season, logging, 89 points in 33 games (39G, 50A). This season, he was off to a fantastic start with 18 points in the first 5 games (9G, 9A). The Wildcats are currently 7-0 on the season, a record they’ll hope to improve on this weekend when they play in the ACHA D2 Showcase in Youngstown, OH. They’ll be playing the tournament in memory of Taylor. The Wildcat’s general manager, Ian Ward described Vit as “an extremely good hockey player” as well as a bright student with a good sense of humor.
"He was the epitome of success in a young man. It's tragic, and the loss to the team is going to be as big as you can ever imagine."
Brian Shlonsky / Kentucky Kernel
On Thursday, October 7, Vit’s 7 goals helped lead the Wildcats to 17-2 victory over the Louisville Cardinals. On Saturday, October 9, the Wildcats hosted the Cincinnati Bearcats. In what would turn out to be Taylor’s final game, they beat the Bearcats, 12-8. Interviewed after the game, Vit spoke with pride about what he and his teammates had accomplished to start the season but was also focused forward on the upcoming tournament.
“You couldn’t ask for anything more than to be undefeated. Teams will try to play their best now knowing that we haven’t lost yet and the games will just get harder and harder. It will give us a chance to get better.
Asked about the upcoming tournament: “We get to play good teams that we don’t usually play. It’s a great opportunity to show we can play and to impress the rankings committee. We just have to be prepared to play on the road. We have to be ready to play just like we do back home. If we can play like we’re home, we can find ourselves with some quality road wins.”

As his teammates replaced their Facebook images with his jersey number (14) and resumed practice on Tuesday, they were joined with the UK hockey community in mourning the loss of one of their own. Teammate Danny Graham expressed just how tough it will be without him. He described Vit as the backbone of the team and leaving shoes that are impossible to fill. Vit wasn’t just a team favorite but a crowd favorite as well. Chris Martin owns the pro shop that overlooks the rink where the Wildcats practice and compete and spoke highly of the talented young athlete, remembering the last time Vit had come in to have his skates sharpened.
"Sitting on that couch right there, just sitting waiting on his skates. He was really quiet. He was a quiet guy, and he was kind of a gentle type of a person. Everybody here is going to miss him, even down to the parents and the guys at the concession stand will miss him," Martin said, "It's just going to take some time."
While working on this piece, I had the opportunity to speak with Char, a UK student and hockey fan who knew Taylor personally. She told me about meeting him at a party her freshman year and how he made her feel instantly welcome. She also told me a little about watching Taylor play:
“I loved to watch him play. The first thing I noticed about him was his fluidity. It sounds crazy, but he was so smooth on the ice. He had a quiet way about him, but once he was on that ice, he made you look. It wasn't hard to see that he was the heart of that team. Taylor was an amazing person. He was classy on and off the ice. And that’s a special kind of hockey player.”
Charles Bertram/KentuckySports.com
Obviously Taylor Vit’s importance as a friend, teammate, classmate, player, role model, and member of the UK Community cannot be diminished. He will be with his teammates through every game this season, win or lose. The Kentucky Kernel featured a piece by one of Taylor’s teammates, Patrick Sullivan, in which he wrote:
“Club hockey players only get five years of eligibility, but Taylor will be an active member of the team forever and I don’t think a single fan, player or official, will mind.”
No, we won’t mind. Taylor Vit will always be a part of University of Kentucky hockey. Number 14 will forever hold very special spot on the Wildcats roster.

You can read Patrick Sulivan’s entire column here: http://kykernel.com/2010/10/12/hockey-team-becomes-hockey-family/

I also want to extend special thanks to Char G. for sharing her personal experiences.

Sources:

End The Night on a Positive Note: Orr VS Engelland

ADVANTAGE: Engelland (Penguins)


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

[UPDATE] Pre-Game Notes (Pittsburgh VS Toronto) - Orpik & Michalek OUT, Comrie "Game-Time Decision"

[UPDATE] COMRIE
Mike didn't skate on any particular line this morning and HC Bylsma reported that he "will be a game-time decision"

[UPDATE] ORPIK / MICHALEK
neither Orpik or Michalek will be in tonight's lineup; Michalek is to be evaluated by doctors later today

neither defensemen were on the ice this morning for the team's pre-game skate


JORDAN STAAL
Staal hit the ice for the first time this morning since suffering a laceration to his foot which is a really great sign (good to see him on the ice!); he worked with strength and conditioning coach, Mike Kadar

LINE COMBINATIONS (projected from this morning's skate)
Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis
Tangradi-Letestu-Malkin
Cooke-Talbot-Kennedy
Rupp-Adams-Godard
(Comrie)

The six defensemen rotated in sets of three

TORONTO INJURY / LINE INFO
The Leafs may get Brett Lebda (D) back into the lineup after suffering a shoulder injury
Jeff Fingers (D) - placed on waivers

Staal Skates, Great Sign for Penguins

by Maureen L.
TSCSF Contributing Writer

It was reported by the Penguins that Jordan Staal skated on the CONSOL Energy Center ice this morning. He was joined by Penguins strength coach Mike Kadar. While he is far from game ready after being unable to skate or work out during the off-season, the fact that Staal is able to skate is a great sign for the Penguins.

Staal originally suffered a lacerated tendon in Game 1 of the ECSF during a collision with Montreal’s PK Subban. He returned to the ice in Hollywood fashion for Games 4-7 before the Penguins were eliminated by the Canadiens. An infection developed after a follow up procedure in June. Staal spent the off-season with his foot up, unable to even do off ice work outs. Doctors advised him to take it easy, stay off it, and rest. While it was difficult and even lead to some sleepless nights for the young center, it sounds like the doctors had the right idea.

It’s almost impossible to measure the importance of Jordan Staal in the Penguins lineup. For many, it’s easy to take the player nicknamed “Gronk” or “Ironman” for granted. Before his injury, Staal had played a phenomenal streak of 358 consecutive games. He had played through bumps, bruises, and even a broken, bloodied nose. Games 2 & 3 against Montreal gave Penguins fans an idea of the impact Staal has. He was sorely missed.

With 3 games played of the 10-11 season, Staal’s absence is still noteworthy. Not only has it delayed off-season plans to move Staal to center the second line and Malkin to wing, but the Penguin’s depth just isn’t quite the same as we’ve come to expect. The third line, called the best third line in hockey last year, is generic. It’s not bad, it’s just generic. There isn’t anything that makes that third line stand out and give the opposition’s defense a hard time.

Staal is young (22) and resilient. Interviewed on October 1, he said “It’s the first bump in my career, I’m sure everyone goes through it. I’ll get through it.” The timeline has been fuzzy and ever changing as his foot heals and he works to regain his strength. At the home opener, Staal was introduced wearing a grey suit on the Penguins bench while his teammates skated onto the ice one by one. While it’s been a long summer for Staal and a long, anxious wait for Penguin fans, it sounds like things are moving in the right direction.

It will definitely add depth and strength to the Penguins lineup when Number 11 is ready to return to the ice. Hopefully Penguin fans don’t take him for granted as much now.

Thoughts and Prayers to Vit Family and UK Hockey

S. Hannigan / UKHockey.com
Please remember to keep the family of University of Kentucky hockey player, Taylor Vit, as well as the entire UK hockey team and community in your thoughts and prayers.  Vit passed away yesterday afternoon after being fatally injured in an automobile accident this past Sunday. 

May God bless all of you with peace and comfort during this difficult time.

Vit was one of two alternate captains on the college hockey team (the Wildcats / "Cool Cats"), #14 (there have been many sites already dedicated to his number including a Facebook page).

According to the American Chronicle:

An assistant captain of the University of Kentucky hockey team died Monday afternoon after a crash Sunday in which the sport utility vehicle he was driving rear-ended a LexTran bus.

Taylor Vit, 22, of Villanova, Pa., was pronounced dead at 3:32 p.m. at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, according to the Fayette County Coroner's Office.

He was driving a 2007 Nissan Xterra when he rear-ended the bus as it was pulling to a stop on Newtown Pike near Fourth Street just before 5 p.m. Sunday, police said.
THANK YOU also to fellow Pens fan, Char G., for the following:

if you don't mind, could you ask the girls to pray for a University of Kentucky hockey player, #14, Taylor Vit. He was killed in a car accident on Sunday and although he wasn't drafted by any NHL team, he had such talent and heart that was remarkable in any hockey player (in fact he reminded me a lot of Sid :-) )
UP NEXT: TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
(2-0-0, 4 points)

In net tonight: Jean Sebastien Giguere (projected)
Leafs locker (10/12/2010)
Leafs put Finger on waivers (10/12/2010)


Check back for updates throughout the day!!

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

1998
The Penguins filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

1967
Penguins recorded their first victory, defeating St. Louis, 3-1.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Orpik [or Michalik] Questionable for Tomorrow's Game

Earlier today the Penguins recalled defenseman Andrew Hutchinson from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre / Scranton.

[UPDATE] totally forgot this but a fellow fan also pointed out that Zbynek Michalek left the game due to injury (shoulder) on Monday so it could realistically be replacement for him as well.

It appears that Brooks Orpik is still side-lined with an injury (groin) and unable to get back in the lineup for tomorrow game against the Leafs ... nothing has been confirmed and this could be precautionary (we'll shall see tomorrow).

Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins Preview

by Maureen L.
TSCSF Contributing Writer
(covering Penguins affiliates - AHL, minor league, juniors, and everything in between!)


The WBS Pens came up a little short in the post season this past spring. Getting swept by the Albany River Rats wasn’t the way they wanted their season to end, but that loss is behind them now. Looking ahead, the Baby Pens have a new season ahead of them and some changes to work with. Here’s a look at a few of the changes the WBS Pens are facing this season.

The NHL Pull: With some injury problems plaguing the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early part of the season, they are leaning on their AHL club for support. This support has been coming in the form of players like Eric Tangradi, Mark Letestu, and Deryk Engelland. All 3 were solid producers for Wilkes Barre last year and have gotten off to a good start this year in Pittsburgh.

Engelland has logged almost 26 minutes of ice time in 2 games and already has 2 penalty minutes to his name. Looking at Tangradi’s stat sheet, you can surmise that Dan Bylsma’s confidence in the “Big Dog” is growing. He’s gotten more shifts and ice time in each game, notched an assist in the Penguins victory over New Jersey yesterday and had a faceoff percentage of 50%. The biggest surprise out of Wilkes Barre has come in the form of Center, Mark Letestu. The 25 year old center has scored 2 goals in the first 3 games of the season, has gotten significant ice time in all 3 games and has really emerged as a player to watch. WBS fans are probably not surprised at this fact seeing as Letestu ended the regular season last year with 55 points in 63 games and added another 3 points in the 4 playoff games.

 










Putting it in Ink: On October 6, the Baby Pens inked a contract with forward Ryan Schnell who spent the 2009-2010 season with the ECHL Wheeling Nailers. While his point totals (2G, 4A, 60GP) didn’t light up the boards, his penalty minutes certainly earned him a second look. He’s definitely got the potential to be that “niche” guy, the enforcer with the moves and hands to control the puck and contribute offensively. Standing 6’3”, 225 lbs, he can move around or through opponents with the puck. Schnell knows that nothing is for sure and although he’s earned his spot, he needs to work through the year to keep it. He made the most of his tryout contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins during training camp. He’s committed to working on his own game as well as learning from his AHL teammates including veteran enforcer Jesse Boulerice.
“It’s going to be really big just to watch him and learn what he does and what makes him successful.”
The Baby Pens are looking for a young guy to start to step up and fill Boulerice’s shoes and Schnell is going to do everything he can to make sure that when the time comes, he’s the guy. In the meantime, I wouldn’t want to be dropping the gloves against the Baby Pens.

A Sterling Addition: The offseason addition of Brett Sterling (Chicago Wolves) was slightly controversial as Sterling has a lot of positive qualities but limited NHL experience. He had a sparkling debut in the Pittsburgh Penguins first pre-season game against the Detroit Red Wings and continued to play well through the preseason but was sent down the WBS on September 29th. Look for him to have a positive impact on the Baby Penguins this year. He has great positioning, doesn’t allow his size to deter him and he finds good scoring chances.

Last Minute Return: When the German hockey team, the Kassel Huskies, went bankrupt on Aug. 27, Joey Mormina was without a job. The big, tough defenseman was a major contributor to the Baby Pens in the 2008-2009 season, finishing with a +37. Only his linemate Ben Lovejoy was ahead of him league wide. He’s a big guy but very athletic for his size. He is smart about his positioning and can effectively shut down opposing teams top lines. While he is on a tryout contract, ice time may be tough to come by. The WBS roster is pretty solid and Joey knows he’s at a disadvantage. He’s not discouraged though.
"I have to earn my spot. They have guys who have been here all training camp and have already played in games and played well. I have to bide my time, work hard, practice hard, be a good team guy, all the things I've done in the past, and hope I can stick around for a little bit. If I do get into a game, I have to play my game and prove myself all over again."
So with a win in the season opener, the Baby Pens should be feeling pretty good about their off season moves and what lies ahead of them. This year should be a good one to watch. And as far as the Hershey Bears go, I think they’ll be good, but maybe a step off from the level they played at in the past few years. At least on paper, it looks like it could be a good season for the Baby Pens. Now, let’s go watch some hockey!

Sources:
Times Leader
Citizens Voice

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

2009
Tyler Kennedy scored twice and Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

2006
Jordan Staal scored his first NHL goal – a shorthanded tally – against the New York Rangers Henrik Lundqvist.

2002
J.S. Aubin made 30 saves against the New York Rangers for a 6-0 victory.

1988
Mario Lemieux scored a hat trick against the Washington Capitals.

1982
Penguins Pat Bouttette scored a hat trick against the Vancouver Canucks' Richard Brodeur.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Jersey Forced to Play Pittsburgh with Only Three Lines

With less than an hour away from the Penguins-Devils late afternoon faceoff, it was recently confirmed that neither defenseman Anton Volchenkov or forward Brian Rolston will be in tonight's lineup due to injuries they suffered in last Saturday's matchup against the Washington Capitals.

As was expected, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond was suspended for a single game after instigating a fight within the last five minutes of that same game.

Due to salary cap issues still lingering from Ilya Kovalchuk's infamous signing over the summer, Letourneau-Leblond has been placed on waivers (and a decision has yet to be made as to whether or not he will play for New Jersey's AHL affiliate in Albany if he ends up clearning waivers by noon tomorrow). The Devils are also unable to replace Volchenkov and Rolston on the roster which leaves New Jersey dressing only 15 skaters (9 forwards, 5 defensemen). That translates into the Devils rolling three forward lines for the entire game which would further translate into the Penguins playing with more rested, less strained bodies on the ice.

The end result of such an unevenly matched group of players between these two teams has yet to be seen. I'm hoping that the obvious plays out for the Penguins to earn their first "W."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pre-Game Notes (Pittsburgh VS Montreal)

LINE COMBINATIONS (projected from this morning's skate)
Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis
Tangradi-Comrie-Malkin
Cooke-Letestu-Kennedy
Rupp-Talbot-Adams/Godard

Orpik-Michalek
Martin-Letang
Goligoski-Engelland/Lovejoy

MONTREAL INJURY / LINE INFO
Roman Hamrlik (D), knee - day-to-day
Andrei Markov (D), knee - out indefinitely

Thursday, October 7, 2010

NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman (Morehouse and Shero Tonight's Guests)

NHL announced yesterday that "NHL Hour with Commissioner Gary Bettman" will be back this season beginning tonight (from 6 PM - 7 PM, est.) on NHL Home Ice (XM Channel 204 and on Sirius Channel 208 as part of the "Best of XM" programming package) and NHL.com.

Among his guests tonight will be Penguins President David Morehouse and GM Ray Shero.

Tonight's Home-Opener Brings Odd Roster Moves, Marks Milestone for Pittsburgh, CONSOL, Penguins

[UPDATE 2] Pre-Game Notes (Pittsburgh VS Philadelphia) - CONSOL Home Opener

ASHAM / LETANG (and STAAL)
[UPDATE] Asham has been placed on IR

[UPDATE]
the PPG is reporting the Letang missed the morning skate due to "illness" and is questionable for tonight's game - will be a gametime decision (Engelland would replace him in the lineup)


it appears that Arron Asham will be out of tonight's lineup with an upper-body injury he suffered during the pre-season; Kris Letang did not participate on the ice this morning (and as already discussed endlessly, Staal will be out for the first several weeks of the season)

LINE COMBINATIONS (projected from this morning's skate)
Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis
Tangradi-Comrie-Malkin
Cooke-Letestu-Kennedy
Rupp-Adams-Talbot-Godard (all players were rotated)

Orpik-Michalek
Lovejoy-Martin
Goligoski-Engelland

Fleury in net

PHILADELPHIA INJURY / LINE INFO
LATEST NEWS -- Sergei Bobrovsky will start in goal tonight for the Flyers
Chris Pronger (D), right knee - day-to-day / questionable
Ian Lapiererre (F), post-concussion syndrome - out indefinitely
Michael Leighton (G), bulging disc in back - out indefinitely

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

2009
Brent Johnson makes his debut in goal for the Penguins against the Phoenix Coyotes (Johnson is part of the fourth father and son tandem to play for Pittsburgh).

2005
The Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes went to a shootout for the first time in either franchise’s history. The Hurricanes won the shootout, 1-0, as Cory Stillman scored on their first attempt and the Pens failed to convert on three tries.

2000
The Pens lost "Game ONe" in Japan to the Nashville Predators, 3-1. The team wore jerseys with the Japan Game ONe patch.

1999
Aleksey Morozov scored a hat trick against New Jersey's Martin Brodeur.

1995
Mario Lemieux returned to the Penguins lineup after a one year medical leave.

1993
Joe Mullen beat Montreal Candiens' Patrick Roy in overtime for a 2-1 victory.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Penguins Decide to Alternate the "A" Between Orpik and Staal

It was announced to the team after the final practice today before the first home game of the 2010-2011 season at the CONSOL Energy Center that both Brooks Orpik and Jordan Staal will take turns "wearing the "A" on their jersey between home and road games." And since Staal is out of the lineup for the next few weeks, Orpik will be donning the "A" on a more permanent basis until Staal returns to the lineup.

“Brooks is a guy who has been a leader in our room and has worn an ‘A’ for us at different times in the past,” Bylsma said. “With the way he plays and the voice he has in the room, he has been that type of leader for us in the past.
“Jordan is a guy who is emerging in that role. He is still very young. He has played a lot of games and playoff games. He is just starting to get to the point in his career where he demands a lot of respect with the way that he plays. Now he is starting to have a voice. He is a leader in the way that he plays and the way that he acts on and off the ice. That really went a long way towards him joining the other guys as one of the alternate captains.”

Pens 'Stache Tracker 2011 - OCTOBER (FIRST of the Season!)!!

Today the season's first "Mustache Boy" shoot-out competition was held (I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW EXCITED I AM FOR HOCKEY TO FINALLY BE HERE!) and the results are in ....

OCTOBER'S "LOSER" - Pascal Dupuis ("BEFOREstache" pictured left)
DUPER's THOUGHTS:
"I'm excited for it," Dupuis said. "It should be fun. Although the month is already six days old so it won't be as full as it could be."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

That's So MAF (the musings of a Penguins goalie)!

I haven't had one of these in some time and I just realized HOW MUCH I've actually missed it because Fleury is just TOO FUNNY!!!

From today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Penguins players were asked "If they could change one thing about hockey, anything at all, what would it be?"

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury put a different spin on the same idea.

"Maybe have music in practice -- a little bit of everything so there's no fights," he said.

Asked why that would be the thing he changed, Fleury said, "Because I'm lonely sometimes in the net."

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Two Hockey Greats - Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy!!

[GREAT WORK THANKS to new contributing writer, Maureen L.]

October 5, 1965. Random date? Not quite. While hockey fans across the world were going about their business, the Canadian province of Quebec welcomed two boys to the world. They were born 160 miles from each other (one in Montreal and one in Quebec City), and no one outside of immediate family was probably even aware of these births. However, hockey would be changed immensely by the careers of these 2 men; we just didn’t know it yet. The names of those two boys, born on the same day a relatively short distance from each other… Mario Lemieux and Patrick Roy.

Mario Lemieux. If you’re even a casual sports fan, you’ve heard of him. If you’re a hockey fan, you know who he is and a little about him. If you’re a Penguin fan, his name is held in the highest esteem, at a level near that of royalty or deity. Regardless of individual opinion, Lemieux has been hugely influential to the sport both on and off the ice, and no where more than Pittsburgh.

Patrick Roy (rWAH) is another individual who did a great deal for hockey both on and off the ice. Roy, a gifted and prolific goalie who split his career between the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche played a large part in the evolution of “modern goaltending”. Although his move from Montreal to Colorado was controversial at the time, Roy and the Montreal team and fans have “made peace”. On October 28, 2003, Roy’s #33 jersey was retired by the Avalanche. 5 years later, Montreal followed, retiring his #33 sweater on November 22, 2008.

Shaping the Stars:

Mario Lemieux started playing hockey early in life, at about the age of 3. He and his 2 older brothers used wooden kitchen spoons and bottle caps on the floor of the basement before they had real equipment. In what seems to be a “Canadian tradition”, Lemieux’s father built a rink on the front lawn to allow the boys as much practice time as possible. Lemieux came up through the ranks of the QMJHL and entered the 1984 NHL draft. He was the top pick, chosen by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Due to some dispute over contract negotiations, Lemieux did not shake hands or don the Penguin jersey which led to a cool first reception in Pittsburgh. Despite the troubles that plagued the Pittsburgh Penguins, (financial and a poor record leading to low attendance), Lemieux set out to give it his all in his rookie season. On October 11, 1984 in his first shift ever in his first NHL game, Lemieux stole the buck from Boston d-man Ray Borque and scored on his very first NHL shot. That was a just a preview of the magical presence Mario had on the ice.

Like Lemieux, Patrick Roy started playing hockey early in life and first became interested in goaltending at the age of 7. Roy never ended up on the really good childhood hockey teams, the teams he was on were usually at or near the bottom of the rankings. This combined with his new style of goaltending lead to a mixed bag of opinions about where he belonged in the draft rankings. He was drafted 54th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1984 draft. He helped the Canadiens AHL squad to a Calder Cup championship with 10 wins in 13 games.

In the 1985-1986 season, Roy made his full time debut with the Canadiens. He played 47 games and earned the playoff roster spot. He exploded in the playoffs, leading the Canadiens to a surprise Stanley Cup title and taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy for the playoff MVP. He was only 20 years old.

Shaping the Game:

Lemieux is considered by many to be the most physically talented player to play in the NHL. Watching him play, it’s hard to disagree. Unfortunately Lemieux’s career was plagued by illness and injury leaving many to wonder what might have been if he was healthy throughout his career. Lemieux’s skating ability, speed, gifted hands and flawless instinct all contributed to his success on the ice. Not only was Lemieux physically gifted, he had a way with fans. The Pittsburgh Penguins attendance began to slowly improve during Lemieux’s rookie season. There was a marked difference by his sophomore season.

Lemieux had a profound impact on hockey’s popularity, both in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, as well as other parts of the United States. Hockey was only moderately popular in a lot of areas of the United States. Because of its Canadian roots and the dominance of Canadian players and teams, many American’s were slow to notice the growth of this new (to them) sport. This French Canadian player was an ambassador for many with his dynamic style and his highlight reel plays. The fact that Mario Lemieux played his entire career in Pittsburgh, chose to stay here, and has personally given his all to Pittsburgh hockey; his role in hockey programs cannot be diminished.


Even after his retirement, Lemieux has been very influential in hockey. As the majority owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the same team he played for, he saved the team from bankruptcy. He also negotiated a deal that took the Penguins from the outdated Civic/Mellon Arena and into their inaugural season at the Consol Energy Center. He has been influential in the growth of youth hockey in the Western Pennsylvania area. His Mario Lemieux Foundation (link here) is very involved in cancer research and is inspired by his own battle with cancer. It’s hard to say what made Mario so super, was it his time on the ice, or his time off of it? Regardless of what came first, his appeal, influence, and ambassadorship of hockey can’t be ignored.

While Lemieux was busy transforming a city and to some degree, a country of hockey fans, Patrick Roy was busy transforming a particular position. Patrick Roy’s career shaped the art of goaltending in a number of ways. The changes in style, form, technique and equipment that are credited to Roy can be seen in every skill level. In addition to being a phenomenal talent, he wasn’t afraid to break with tradition. Although Glenn Hall and Tony Esposito are credited with the first innovations of the style, Roy was instrumental in modernizing both the style and the equipment into the “profly” style that is most widely used and taught today.

Roy worked with the Fran├žois Allaire to develop the widely used “profly style”. If you watch Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller to name just a few, you’ll see aspects of the profly style. The profly style places emphasis on mobility to move from side to side of the crease without standing up. While going to the knees cuts off the five hole, it also makes the goalie more vulnerable to over the shoulder shots. For most goaltenders, the pros of this approach outweigh the cons as they can protect the posts but also more effectively track passes across the goal mouth.

In addition to his work on developing the style, Roy played a huge role in updating the equipment. Roy worked with equipment designers Michel Lefebvre (of Koho and RBK fame) and the late Brian Heaton to develop gear that more was more effective for his style of play. This included strategic padding above the knees to protect the knees when he dropped and more flexibility and less weight to the pads, allowing him freedom to move.

Roy’s huge success in his career helped to popularize and solidify the style of goaltending he was known for. His career helped to pave the way for players like Roberto Luongo, Henrik Lundqvist, and Marc-Andre Fleury among others.

After his retirement, Roy returned to Quebec and became involved with coaching his sons in hockey. He has expressed a desire to coach at the NHL level someday and it was rumored he turned down a coaching job with the Colorado Avalanche.

By the numbers: (Courtesy of NHL.com)

Mario Lemieux: NHL Records
  • 5 goals in different ways in one game (shorthanded, full strength, power play, penalty shot, and empty net) (December 31, 1988 against the New Jersey Devils; only player to accomplish the feat)
  • Shorthanded goals, season (13 in 1988–89)
  • Goals, period (4, 26 January 1997, shares record)
  • Only player to score over 30 power-play goals in two different seasons
  • Only one of two players to score over 10 short-handed goals in two different seasons. The other, Wayne Gretzky.
  • Most goals scored or assisted on, season (57.3% of team's goals, 1988–89)
  • Only player with 3 eight point games
  • Four career five goal games (shares record)
  • Best goals per game in the regular season and playoffs at .750
  • Only player to record 1,000 career assists without reaching 1,000 NHL games played (all other players to accomplish 1,000 career assists have played at least 1,337 NHL games)
Lemieux also has numerous awards and accolades to his credit. Here are just a few:
  • Stanley Cup champion – 1991, 1992, 2009 (as owner)
  • Olympic gold medalist — 2002
  • Hart Memorial Trophy – 1988, 1993, 1996
  • Art Ross Trophy – 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997
  • Conn Smythe Trophy – 1991, 1992
  • Lester B. Pearson Award – 1986, 1988, 1993, 1996



Patrick Roy: NHL Records
  • Most NHL playoff games played by a goaltender (247).
  • Most combined wins (regular season and playoffs) by an NHL goaltender (702).
  • Most NHL playoff wins by a goaltender (151).
  • Most Conn Smythe Trophy wins (3).
  • Most NHL playoff shutouts (23) – tied with Martin Brodeur.
  • One of only two goalies (Brodeur) to play in at least 1,000 NHL games.
Roy’s accolades and awards include:
  • Calder Cup – with Sherbrooke Canadiens in 1985
  • Stanley Cup — with Montreal Canadiens in 1986, 1993, with Colorado Avalanche in 1996, 2001
  • Conn Smythe Trophy — 1986, 1993, 2001
  • William M. Jennings Trophy — 1987*, 1988*, 1989*, 1992, 2002
  • Vezina Trophy — 1989, 1990, 1992
  • NHL All-Star Game — 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003
  • NHL 1st All-Star Team — 1989, 1990, 1992, 2002
  • NHL 2nd All-Star Team — 1988, 1991
  • NHL All-Rookie Team — 1986
  • Trico Goaltending Award — 1989, 1990
  • Memorial Cup in 2006 with Quebec Remparts (as the Coach)
  • The Colorado Avalanche retired Roy's No. 33 jersey on October 23, 2003.
  • The Montreal Canadiens retired Roy's No. 33 jersey on November 22, 2008


Lemieux was inducted into the NHL hall of fame on November 17, 1997. Roy was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame on November 13, 2006.

I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to Mr. Lemieux and Mr. Roy. Thank you for all of your contributions to hockey!