Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sykora's Contract Talks Hit Snag / Contract Talks with Gonchar Begin

Sources of KDKA's Pittsburgh Sports Inside are saying that negotiations with Petr Sykora and his agent are at a stand-still and it doesn't look good for the Penguins signing him before the end of this season. [THIS SUCKS - can we really afford to lose Sykie with how well he and Malkin play together?!!]
That was a factor and will continue to be a factor in Shero's attempts to acquire a top 6 forward. Now that the team has traded for a winger for Sid (Chris Kunitz), if Sykora leaves, that will be Shero's next order of business.
According to KDKA's Pittsburgh Sports Insider, the Penguins are talking with Gonchar regarding an extension (Hallelujah!)!!! Gonchar is signed with Pittsburgh through the 2009-2010 season when he will become unrestricted free agent.
The team's struggles without him to start the season are a major factor in this
decision by GM Ray Shero and ownership.
[one of the smarter things Shero is thinking since this whole Hossa / Therrien fiasco]

Kunitz Already Paying Out Dividends

Last night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks was a great win for the Penguins and the start they needed to begin the five-game road trip they have ahead of them.

It appears that trading Whitney was worth it for us (probably more so than for the Ducks) and was pretty immediate in providing benefits for the team in last night's win. Kunitz was projected to play on the top line with Crosby, but since Crosby was out of the lineup, he was put on the second line with Staal and Kennedy which turned out to be a good move.

In just one game, Kunitz tallied two points (1 goal, 1 assist) within the first 10 minutes of the game and played a total of 18:13 minutes on the ice (26 shifts); that's more than Whitney tallied with more time on the ice (same number of shifts) in his first game and I suppose you can argue that Kunitz is a forward and Whitney is a defenseman, but let's just overlook that right now for the sake of argument. And to be fair, this was only one game for each player, but doesn't it at least get you to start thinking positively about the Pens immediate future? It does for me.

Does that mean there goes Sid's potential winger? If Kunitz can elevate Staal's level of play like he did last night, it wouldn't be such a bad idea; however, neither Staal or Kunitz are third-line players (which is where Staal will play once Crosby returns). What may be worth trying is urging (i.e., "highly recommending") Staal to become comfortable as a winger and try him on the top line again with Sid along with Kunitz. At this point, anything is worth a try and with how these two played together, it may just be the spark both Sid and Staal need (Kunitz may be beneficial for both of these players).

Crosby Makes Kayvon's Valentine's Day

I recieved an e-mail from TSCSF reader, Donny M., which included a link to a rather amusing YouTube video of a "web personality" from Toronto hounding the Pens for autographs with Valentine's Day wishes. Here's part of Donny's e-mail explaining this character and the video:
Up here in Toronto we have a sorta crazy web personality known as Kayvon, He has recently put out a video featuring him with several members of the Pens that you might find interesting, it has been making the rounds here in Canada for the past week or so......The video features Sidney Crosby, Malkin, Staal, and a couple other pens players on Valentine Day in Toronto
Check it out (and THANKS, Donny M., for passing along this video to share!)!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

FREE Live Stream at YAHOO! Sports

Apparently the NHL did decide to make stop providing all live streams of hockey games, but the good news is that tonight's game will be streamed on YAHOO! Sports!!

I went back to to check again and they now have the Penguins game (as well as a few others) listed to provide live streams. Supposedly, the NHL gave them along with a number of other sites "cease and desist" orders; however, that doesn't explain why links to the live feeds are on there now.

Pre-Game News

It appears as though
is no longer carrying FREE LIVE STREAMS
of hockey games
(I'm thinking with how strict the NHL is, they found out and told the site to stop)

The Penguins made an official announcement on their webpage that Crosby will indeed be out of tonight's lineup; he did tried it out during this morning's skate, but figured it wasn't worth it.


KDKA's Pittsburgh Sports Insider is reporting that Crosby's groin injury is not healed enough and will not play in tonight's game.

Crosby is questionable for tonight's game against the Chicago Blackhawks after not practicing yesterday and leaving practices early on Monday and Tuesday. He is currently listed as "day-to-day." He is to take part in the morning skate and make a decision then.

"I'm just taking a rest, and I'll see (today) how I feel," Crosby said.

"I'll see how I feel out there, hopefully good," he said. "When you're dealing with a groin, you just need to be cautious."

Kunitz is projected to be on the top line with Sid tonight (if he does, in fact, play) along with Fedotenko.

Included in the Crosby announcement were the lines that they had together at the morning skate today (which are a bit different than what was originally projected):

Kunitz - Crosby - Fedotenko
Satan - Malkin - Sykora
Cooke - Staal - Kennedy
Wallace - Talbot - Godard

Dupuis or Thomas "will replace Crosby in the lineup but the new combinations are not yet clear."

Here are the projected lines (from the Penguins webpage):


FLEURY to start in goal tonight for the Pens.

(34-17-8, 76 points)
In net tonight: Cristobal Huet (projected)

Chicago Blackhawks webpage
Blackhawks Recall Niemi From Rockford (02/26/2009)
Injury Report (last updated 02/18/2009)

Chicago Tribune (Icing)
Blackhawks return to practice (02/25/2009)

Second City Hockey
Niemi sent back down ... then back up (02/26/2009)

Whitney's First Game as a Duck (in Boston)

Well, there doesn't seem to be any immediate benefits for the Ducks acquiring Whitney since they lost last night to Boston 6-0. The only stat he recorded last night was 1 total shot(s) in 24:19 minutes on the ice (TOI); 26 shifts.

It's also odd that Whitney returned home to Boston for "personal reasons" enabling him to meet up with his new team for their next game there. Funny how things work out, huh?!

The Ducks official webpage has a lengthy article about Whitney (Ducks Acquire Whitney from Pittsburgh) including links to the audio and transcripts of two conference calls with Whitney and Bob Murray (Ducks Executive Vice President and GM).

Prior to this trade, I said to John that Whitney could easily be traded to a team with interest in a defenseman (and would view him better than what they have or something they need) because he is still thought to be a top defenseman even though he hasn't done much with the Pens for the past two seasons. The Ducks were that team. I also think that Whitney could easily fit better somewhere else right now and hopefully for Whitney and Anaheim, that team is the Ducks even though I believe the Pens got the better of this deal.

My best to Whitney (he gave his best to Pittsburgh during his time here)!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

One Re-Assigned, One on Waivers, One Recalled

The Penguins announced earlier this evening that they reassigned Janne Pesonen back to WB / S and placed Chris Minard on waivers (if Minard clears, he will also return to WB / S; John explained that this is the only way they can send him back down since he's been called up and sent down so many times - there's "only so many freebies").

They also recalled Tim Wallace.

I'm still confused about Pesonen -- they brought him up, didn't play him then sent him back down only to recall Wallace. We'll probably never know and I'm finally tired of trying to figure it out.

It's Official

The Penguins webpage announced that Whitney has been traded to the Anaheim Ducks in return for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi.

BREAKING NEWS from TSN: Whitney Traded!!

TSN just reported that defenseman Ryan Whitney has been traded to the Anaheim Ducks in return for Chris Kunitz and Eric Tangradi (click on name for article on Tangradi).

According to TSN:

In Kunitz, the Penguins will be getting an offensive-minded player who won the Stanley Cup in 2007. After campaigns where he put up 60 and then 50 points, the 29-year old Regina-native has 16 goals and 19 assists this season. He has spent the majority of his four NHL seasons with Anaheim.

Tangradi, who just turned 20, is having a fine season with the OHL's Belleville Bulls. In 52 games, he has 38 goals and 87 points. He was drafted by the Ducks in the second round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Other sources:
YAHOO!'s Puck Daddy - Whitney no longer the Penguins' long-term disappointment
ESPN - Sources: Penguins trade Whitney
WTAE - Pittsburgh Penguins trade Ryan Whitney
KDKA - Reports: Penguins trade Whitney to Ducks
The Hockey News - Ryan Whitney traded to Ducks for Chris Kunitz, Eric Tangradi

STAY TUNED (for more info) ...

Crosby Misses Second Practice

Crosby missed today's practice at Southpointe due to his sore groin. He suffered the injury during last Sunday's game against the Caps.

Crosby is still listed as "day-to-day" and it is not known whether or not he will be in tomorrow's lineup against the Chicago Blackhawks.

What's Up with Pesonen?

Since Crosby was scratched yesterday due to a sore groin, Pesonen was called up and I just assumed that we would be seeing him play last night; we didn't.

According to some of the Pittsburgh announcers (Grover and Bourquie), there are a few players that have been pretty "banged-up" over the last few games (playing through minor bumps and bruises) and they want the extra player around just in case one of them need scratched and not necessarily to play right now. No one has actually gone into detail about who or what, but this is the probably explanation for Pessi being called up and scratched (he's a "stand-by").

Even so, Bill Thomas saw some ice time yesterday after being a healthy scratch for the last three games and he's proven he deserves to play.
Pens - 1, Islanders - 0

NY Islanders webpage
Penguins Edge Islanders

Crosby-less Pens beat Islanders 1-0 on Sykora goal (02/26/2009)

NY Daily News
Petr Sykora's late goal lifts Penguins over Islanders, 1-0 (02/26/2009)

The View from Section 317 blog
Again - down by 1 (02/26/2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pre-Game News (UPDATE)

LIVE STREAM of tonight's game

Crosby and Whitney are both out of tonight's lineup. Whitney "left the team for personal reasons." "He has some family matters that he needs to attend to for the next couple of days," interim head coach Dan Bylsma said. "He's gone back home. The plan right now is for him to meet us in Chicago."

Crosby left the optional skate this morning and said that his groin doesn't feel good enough to play. He is listed as "day-to-day."

"Sunday against Washington it was a little sore," he said. "Monday, it was pretty much the same but I was hoping it would go away. There was only so much time to practice with the new coach so I tried to get through that. It was more sore (Tuesday). It just hasn't improved a whole lot."

With Crosby out of the lineup tonight, the Penguins recalled Pesonen from WB / S.

I forgot to mention that the Penguins will be wearing their baby blue alternate jerseys against the NY Islanders tonight.

Fedotenko and Cooke missed practice on Monday to undergo conditioning evaluations and returned yesterday. They are expected to play tonight against the NY Islanders.

"I have not talked to our trainer about Cooke and Fedotenko," Bylsma said. "They were feeling good going into practice. They looked like they practiced well. Barring a message I don't expect, it looks like they passed today's practice and should be pretty good for (Wednesday)."
After being a healthy scratch for the last three games, Coach Bylsma reported that Letang will return to the Penguins lineup for tonight's game. Bylsma want Letang to reach his potential as a player and decided to keep him a healthy scratch when the team was winning and "didn’t want to shakeup a good thing."
“I was real happy with the way Kris Letang practiced,” Bylsma said after Monday’s practice. “I think he completely knows what we expect and he made an effort to do that in practice and it was duly noted by the staff.”
Bylsma also announced that Fleury will start in goal for the Penguins tonight.
"Marc-Andre will start (Wednesday)," Bylsma said. "He's our No. 1. He's a guy that's going to carry the load for us. We believe in what he can do for us going forward for the rest of the season."
(18-35-6, 42 points)
In net tonight:

New York Islanders webpage
Isles Pay Visit to Pittsburgh (02/24/2009)
NYI Injury Report (last updated 02/20/2009)

Ovi and Caps Fans Should Get Over Themselves

The guys over at Pensblog discovered that Ovi isn't the only one saying that Crosby talks too much. It seems that Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley is standing behind Ovechkin and agrees that Sid talks too much (or rather it's his brother who runs the official Chris Cooley blog) saying:
Sidney Crosby is good at talking shit, Alex Ovechkin is good at hockey. I didn't realize this until yesterday when I thought that I was going to see two of the greats in the NHL. I saw one who is great and he was wearing a red jersey. The other one, I saw him cry like a 7 year old who got beat up by the school yard bully. Maybe he's mad that Ovechkin has 20 more goals than him. Or maybe because his team won't make the post season. Either way, Sidney wasn't holding in his frustration...
Oh, WHATEVER!! Really.

Has Ovechkin even made it past the first round of the playoffs yet?!

It seems to me that since Ovechkin and Malkin have made up that he just started things back up with his rivalry with Sid like he needs to create drama because he feeds off of it. I don't know. I'm actually quite surprised and proud that Sid finally spoke up and said something other than his typical politically correct answer (as weak as it may have been) by calling out Ovechkin in his own way. So to me, for Sidney to say anything other than his usual neutral comment about something / someone, he must have reached his point (look at how he ignored Semin's negative comments about him).

Even Pierre McGuire, who announced Sunday's game from between the players' benches, made a comment implying that the Caps were directing comments towards Crosby that were particularly "excessive" and added that Crosby is usually the target of more physical and verbal abuse from his opponents than anyone may realize which provokes Crosby to the point he feels the need to defend himself.

I think I'm starting to miss the Ovechkin / Malkin drama!! How about you?

You're Cordially Invited!!

"An entertaining evening unlike any other, the Skates & Plates Charity Gala presented by Trib Total Media offers a fine dining experience, live and silent auctions, and a chance to meet the Pittsburgh Penguins players and staff all in the historically elegant setting of The Pennsylvanian."
Pittsburgh Penguins Skates & Plates
Monday, March 30th
at the Pennsylvanian
6:30 - 9:30
Cocktail Attire

Tickets for this event are now on sale (VIP sponsorship - $10,000; Table of 10 - $7,500) and will benefit the Western PA Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Mario Lemieux Foundation.

To reserve a table or to receive additional information, please call the Penguins Community Relations Office at (412) 642-1982 or (412) 642-1903.

For more information, visit the Penguins webpage.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Post-Practice Report

The Penguins webpage is reporting that Sidney left practice early this afternoon due to a sore groin. They said he's probable for tomorrow night's game against the New York Islanders.

Penguins at Dick's Sporting Goods

TSCSF reader, Kylie, was lucky enough to get a wristband for one of the three autograph sessions yesterday at the Dick's Sporting Goods in the Mall at Robinson. The signing was held from 6 PM - 9 PM and were split up into 3 sessions lasting one hour (and 3 Penguins players at each session).

Kylie went to the session with Petr Sykora, Max Talbot, and Pascal Dupuis. She was also able to get a few pictures of another session and was generous enough to share the photos (THANKS, KYLIE!)!!!

And if any other readers were lucky enough to be there yesterday and would like to share his / her story and any pictures, please feel free to e-mail me, (we'd appreciate it)!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

How About Re-Signing Gonchar?!!

The guy is MONEY!!!

A defenseman with two goals and two assists in the FIVE GAMES since his return to the Penguins lineup is not a player we can afford to lose! They really do need to find a way to keep him in a black and vegas gold uniform and I'm hoping they do.

Prior to his return, I figured that he would be one of the players that we would be saying "good-bye" to at the end of the season, but I'm not so sure of that now.

I knew he was an elite defenseman and that he helps the Pens play at a higher level especially on the power play; however, I never really imagined his return would make this much of a difference and in fact, I skeptical that his return would make much of a change in the team's performance especially with being disappointed with Whitney's return (then again, that's Whitney!).

If they end up losing Gonch (especially to free agency), that will be another big mistake made by Shero and the Penguins organization and I will begin to question him / them even more so than I already do after Therrien's departure.

Any Doubts Now?

Most of us recognized the fact that Ovechkin would head-hunt Malkin when the Caps would play the Penguins even though he would deny it over and over again.

It seems that since the All-Star game when Malkin and Ovi reconciled that it was a little less physical between the two of them yesterday. I'd say that proves it right there.

And now, it's back to normal and the ways things used to be: Crosby vs. Ovechkin (didn't you miss it?!)!!
"What I can say about him?" Ovechkin said. "He is a good player, but he talks too much."

And what does Crosby make of Ovechkin's showmanship?

"Like it or lump it, that's what he does," Crosby said. "Some people like it, some people don't. Personally, I don't like it."

Pens - 2, Caps - 5

Washington Capitals webpage
RECAP: Capitals 5, Penguins 2 (02/22/2009)

Bleatings from a Caps Nut blog

Caps vs. Pens Scum 02-22-2009

Capitals Insider
Caps 5, Penguins 2 (02/22/2009)

The Washington Times
Caps crush Pens (02/22/2009)

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

February 23, 1996

Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr both score their 50th goals of the season in a 5-4 win over Hartford.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

(37-17-5, 79 points)
In net tonight: Jose Theodore (projected)

Washington Capitals webpage

The Washington Times

Penguins continue march of coaches (02/22/2009)
DAN DALY: With intelligent deals, the future has no cap (02/17/2009)

Washington Examiner
Feud still burns on the ice (02/22/2009) - great article

Bleating from a Caps Nut blog
Message for Pittsburgh Fans (02/21/2009)
Pens - 5, CryFlyers - 4

Philadelphia Flyers webpage
RECAP: Penguins 5, Flyers 4 (02/21/2009)
Crosby's 2 goals lead Pens past Flyers (02/21/2009)

The Philadelphia Inquirer
Flyers lose battle with Penguins (02/21/2009)

eager to go psycho
Marty Biron makes me cry. Flyers lose (02/21/2009)

The Flyer Frequent
Most Worstest Goal Ever for All Eternity (02/22/2009)

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

February 22, 1975

Penguins beat St. Louis (3-2) and establish a 20-game home unbeaten streak which is still a team record today.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

(31-16-9, 71 points)
In net tonight: Martin Biron (projected)

Philadelphia Flyers webpage
Injury Report (last updated 02/14/2009)

eager to go psycho blog

Every day is like Christmas (02/20/2009)

Flyers Fans Central blog
Coach Stevens February 20 (02/20/2009)

Philly Sportsline
Flyers send Kukkonen to AHL for conditioning assignment (02/20/2009)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pens - 5, Canadiens - 4

Montreal Canadiens webpage
RECAP: Penguins 5, Canadiens 4 (02/19/2009)

YAHOO! Sports Canada
Sergei Gonchar's first of the year gives Dan Bylsma his first NHL win (02/19/2009)
A game of firsts (02/19/2009)
Gonchar sends Habs to another loss (02/19/2009)

The Montreal Gazette
Penguins add to Canadiens' woes (02/19/2009)

Lions in Winter blog
Game #59 - Price Puts a Solid Team Effort to Waste ... Again (02/19/2009)

Pens get past Passive Habs (02/19/2009)

Arena Construction Time-Lapse Video

The Pens webpage just posted a really cool video featuring the construction of the Consol Energy Center with time-lapse photography.


Anyone Remember Billy Tibbetts?

Then again, how could anyone forget this former Pittsburgh Penguin?!! In his 82 games during his professional NHL career, he recorded 269 penalty minutes (ring any bells now?)!!

Need more to refresh your memory? Below is a video of classic Tibbetts (sucker-punching Hordichuk -- :40 seconds in).

Anyway, the Huntsville Havoc (of the SPHL - Southern Professional Hockey League) just signed him to a three-game tryout.
"Billy has made some mistakes in the past, but I've known him since we were kids," Soltys said. "He just wants to play hockey and help some of the younger players not make the same mistakes he has made. Plus, he is still a tremendous hockey player and should help us greatly down the stretch."

More Former Pens News

It must've been the day for former Pens yesterday.

Former Penguins player Jeff Daniels was not hurt when the bus that he and the Albany River Rats were on crashed on the Massachusettes turnpike yesterday morning. Daniels was part of the Penguins 1992 Stanley Cup team and is currently the GM for the River Rats.
"I talked to Jeff and he said they were really lucky because there were trucks going by and the front part of the bus was still on the highway," said Heather Daniels, who lives in Oshawa with Jeff's dad Wayne, a former general manager for the Oshawa Generals.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pre-Game News

LIVE STREAM of tonight's game

PROJECTED LINES (from Pens webpage)
Dupuis - Crosby - Fedotenko
Satan - Malkin - Sykora
Kennedy - Staal - Cooke
Godard - Thomas - Talbot

Orpik - Gonchar
Letang - Whitney
Scuderi - Gill


Ryan Whitney turns 25 today (02/19)
(30-21-6, 66 points)
In net tonight: Jaroslav Halak
(projected; this will be the Habs second straight game in a row)

Montreal Canadiens webpage

Stewart called up, Kostitsyn assigned to Hamilton (02/17/2009)
My Playlist: Georges Laraque - I put this on for fun; it's interesting - he's very eclectic! (02/10/2009)

Kovalev is THE problem ... isn't he?? (02/18/2009)

Habs Inside/Out
Report: Kovalev doesn't expect to be back (02/18/2009)

Sports Illustrated Article

In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, there's a pretty lengthy article featuring Sid and focusing on the team's issues and what's needed to get them out of this slump they find themselves in.

It also includes Whitney's thoughts on Sid which are pretty interesting and speak highly of Sid. It's a good article overall and worth a read!

Hockey to the Max

Talbot was at the FSN studios yesterday for his segment, "Hockey to the Max."

Rob King started by asking him about yesterday's team meeting and THREE-HOUR PRACTICE and Talbot told him that it was like a mini-camp; that it was a long day, but was a good day for the team (enjoyable, exciting, and the players wanted to learn and listen).

Then talk turned to Therrien being fired to which Talbot told him that as a player, you're ready for trades, firing, etc., because thats hockey even though it is hard. He told King that he had / has respect for Therrien and that he made him a better player and person.

Of course they touch on the new coach to which Talbot explained that Bylsma has alot of passion and excitement for the game and gives it to the players.

Talbot also talked a little about the trade deadline and how he feels that the Pens can make the playoffs with the team they have now but that their focus is mainly on the playoffs (not the deadline); ended by saying that the change is exciting and will be good for the fans as well as the players.

Fleury Makes Save "of the Week"

Fleury's save on Jason Blake during their devastating loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs last Saturday is ranked #1 of the NHL's "Saves of the Week."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Malkin for Kovalchuk and Re-Signing Sykora

The Fourth Period is reporting that negotiations between the Penguins and Petr Sykora have started and that Shero is looking to keep him because of the chemistry between him and Malkin.

Sykora will be a free agent at the end of this season on July 1st.

Eklund has "been chasing this rumor since last night as many of you know..."
Updated: I am allowed to report now that the deal involves, "top line talent" going each way.

While there have been rumors that the Thrashers would like Malkin for Kovalchuk +, I am not going to say that this is the deal EXACTLY as I am hearing it. In fact I am not yet comfortable confirming or denying either players involvement.
Typical Eklund; all I can say to this one -- I DON'T THINK SO!!

Therrien Speaking Out

Michael Therrien is starting to make a few appearances and giving interviews for the first time since being fired on Sunday.

Yesterday, KDKA's Bob Pompiani did a really great job interviewing him and Therrien actually shows his softer side and comes off quite relateable. It covers his thoughts on losing his job, the team including Sidney, and how it's affecting his family. The interview is in three parts and the links are listed below.

Therrien was also on TSN's Off the Record yesterday during the "Up Front" segment via telephone. CLICK HERE for the link to that video.

Pens Need Called Out - Therrien-Style!!

TSCSF reader, akus, brought up a really good point yesterday saying that Therrien's infamous "Soff" press conference could easily be applied to the Pens current situation, so in honor of Therrien's "untimely departure" from the Penguins organization, I'm posting it here today!

Whitney on Trade Rumors

The Fourth Period spoke to Ryan Whitney about dealing with all the buzz around his being traded and here's what he had to say.

"It's not that hard. You're playing games, you don't hear that stuff. You try not to listen to it. Obviously, you hear it occasionally," Whitney told TFP earlier today.

"It's out of your control. You can only really concentrate on what you can control and I can't control that stuff. I think it's the same for every guy, and they realize trade talk is part of the game and it'll always be there."

"It's time to win," Whitney said. "If we don't win now, we're not going to make the playoffs. It's so important to have a good record. We've got to really buckle down here."

According to TFP, Shero is still searching for a sniper with St. Louis (TBL) and Milan Hejduk (COL) being high on the list.