Thursday, June 30, 2011

UPDATE: BEST "Jagr Watch" Development YET - Philly Source Reports Pens Webpage Ready with "Welcome Home" [Jagr] Theme Tomorrow at Noon

Since posting this, Rob Rossi has decided to rain on everyone's JagrWatch parade.  What happened to being the bearer of good news and all the positive spins he's been putting on his reports?  Humph ... he just HAD to include this little tidbit in his most recent article that he posted late last night:
In anticipation of a Jagr signing, the Penguins have constructed web pages with tributes to his career, complete with video montages and Jagr-related items.
Could this be a matter of interpretation, re-hashing, and then reporting it as a new spin - making it sound better than it is even though it may be the truth (on the part of Mr. SanFilippo / his source)?  In other words, has Mr. SanFilippo and his source really told us anything new? We have, in fact, heard that (according to those close to Lemieux) Jagr told Lemieux he would sign with Pittsburgh; and now (thanks to Mr. Rossi), we know that the Penguins organization has, in fact, constructed web pages as tribute to Jagr.

Does that prove that Jagr is, in fact, signing with the Penguins and the announcement is to be made tomorrow (today) at 12 noon?

I'd say we're back to square one, Pens Nation and I'm going to bed! : (

HOLD ON ... this is going to be an even bumpier ride!!

From a Philly source (of all things) ... Anthony J. SanFilippo, Flyers beat writer for The Delaware County Daily Times first emailed KDKA's Jory Rand (from my own personal account) the information contained in the article he recently posted to Daily Time's webpage (part of which I posted below):

Just got off the phone with someone I trust.

I was told Jagr has already told Lemieux that he's going to sign with Pittsburgh and that the Penguins have a huge front page for their Web site ready to go live at Noon tomorrow with a big "welcome home" theme.

Why the delay then?

From what I was told Jagr's agent Petr Svoboda may have been trying to lure another team into offering Jagr a bit more money so he can put a PR spin like "I turned down more money to come back to Pittsburgh."

While some are doubting a legitimate reason for Petr Svoboda to include "bidding wars" to acquire higher offers when there seems to be no point to it, consider the argument Faceoff Factor presents (Matt explains it nicely)!

This just keeps getting more and more unbelievably amazing ... JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE, THERE'S MORE TO PULL YOU BACK IN (even more incredible than the last)!!


JagrWatch Update: A Few New Developments, But NO Decision

There seems to be a flood of information that came out over the internet earlier today and it's all still very frustrating.  I'll try to dissect some of what I've heard / read the best that I can.

JUST IN: Rossi to post updates shortly ... since this ended up being so long (and LATE), I'll put any updates in a separate post I just can't seem to finish this post ... I published it earlier but noticed I hadn't read it over and it wasn't completely done, so now it's late, LATE and here's a LINK to Rossi's latest article --> Pens still don't know Jagr's decision

MOST RECENTLY, Mark Madden reported on 105.9 The X that sources are saying Svoboda denies there was a deadline for Jagr's decision.  So who's lying?!  Many sources state, as Rob Rossi has, that Lemieux has told those close to him that Jagr will be a Penguin once again (do they know something we don't?).  [If not] this just magnifies the negative impact this will have on his relationship with Lemieux and Pittsburgh if he signs elsewhere.  I agree with Madden in the fact that if he does sign with another team, his legacy in Pittsburgh means nothing to him which I find really upsetting.

And then there's Pierre McGuire (my buddy, "Fee-Fee") who is reporting that the Penguins offer to Jagr was only between $1.3 and $1.5 million.  That's what many participating in the #JagrWatch have been referring to as "low-balling" and I really don't think the Penguins would do that to JJ.  Pittsburgh has enough under cap, leaving them enough for future use, to offer him a generous $2 million which is rumored to be what he wanted, so I'm not sure I would start putting stock in my funny, bald, little "Fee-Fee" now!

Have I mentioned that the Flyers want thrown in the hat?  No, I'm not joking, they seriously want a chance at Jagr too (according to TSN's Darren Dreger via @DarrenDreger)!  Wouldn't that just be the cherry on top of a shit sundae?!

I also want to make sure I relay this to all of my readers in order to relieve any panic some sources may be causing / have caused today:


The "Move is on to put out ton of misinformation" just screams "Svoboda is shady" to me and makes me quite nervous!  A little part of me considered that Svodboda was the "puppetmaster" in all this drama and it frustrates me that even though it wouldn't be far off from the Jagr we've come to know and love (being so "wishy-washy" unable to make a decision then when he does, he second-guesses himself) that he would allow someone else to make a decision that could effect his future with Pittsburgh so dramatically.  That's even more of a reason to believe that Svoboda is behind most of this ("I smell a rat and sense a double-cross" -- M. Madden). Or, I suppose, Svoboda is trying to do his job and create more interest ($) for Jagr; HOWEVER, in doing that, Svoboda does not have Jagr's best interest in mind when it comes to Pittsburgh and his career ... it's like leading him to a death sentence where his legacy as a hockey player is concerned, for sure ... FORGET returning to Pittsburgh and retiring the jersey, I would guess especially since Lemieux himself has made comments about being fairly certain that Jagr would sign with Pittsburgh.

With as much time and emotion I've invested in these past few days, I'm exhausted and feel quite deflated like my emotions tossed around too much.  If he doesn't sign with Pittsburgh, my days of defending him are over because that's the dumbest move I believe he could ever make and no amount of rationalization will ever make me believe otherwise (it's the last straw).  I will include myself in the vast majority of Pens Nation who already feel highly disappointed and led astray by Jaromir Jagr.

I hope that never comes to pass, but time will tell (and we will know, for sure, tomorrow).  His homecoming, which team he really wants to sign with, the greed / money, how many years he'll play, and his legacy are all irrelevant as far as I'm concerned because all I want is what the Pens organization as well as the rest of the fans want and I'll use Madden's words to sum that up: 

"Jagr owes the city of Pittsburgh a straight answer."

It's as simple as that.

Omnium Gervais-Talbot Tournament (Life Goes On Despite Jagr Watch!)

In the midst of all this JagrWatch drama, I almost forgot Talbot's (and Gervais') annual charity golf event!!  It's today and my blog buddy at IS THERE (hopefully he'll have lots of good "scoop" and pics to go along LIKE he usually does!)!!  Fellow (for now) Penguins and NHLers are taking part such as newly signed Pascal Dupuis.

According to 25stanley's twitter (@25stanley), in an interview he conducted with Max, Talbot stated that he did talk to the Leafs organization during the draft last weekend and that Brian Burke was " really classy."

Check back later / tomorrow for updates.

Is This Groundhog Day 2 (Jagr's Return)? I Sure Hope Not!

Phil Connors: Excuse me, where is everybody going?
Fan on Street: To Gobbler's Knob. It's Groundhog Day.
Phil Connors: It's still just once a year, isn't it?
from the movie "Groundhog Day"

That's what I feel like right now with all this Jagr nonsense.  I woke up wondering if today will play out like yesterday or if it will ever end although I have NO IDEA what's going on nor can I use this day (or the next) to change the outcome.  I JUST WANT IT TO BE OVER NOW no matter what the outcome.  As I'm sure most of you who spent the majority of yesterday hanging on every word, article, rumor, report, and TWEET about Jagr's decision are, today I am exhausted and very close to being "over it [him]!"

GREAT photo
(taken from Pittsburgh Trib-Rev)
With that, here are some of the latest happenings with #JAGRWATCH 2011:
  • As of earlier this morning (according to the latest Rob Rossi article), Petr Svoboda claims that Jagr IS in New York and that he (Svoboda) was scheduled to meet with Shero "shortly" with Rossi adding that this was 9:20 AM.
  • Svoboda is also claiming that a decision will be made by the end of today
  • Jagr's "heart is in Pittsburgh," but this decision is a tough one for him (this makes me uneasy especially when considering the following Svoboda quote ...)
  • "We are going to exchange some things," Svoboda said, adding that he would also speak with Detroit and Montreal about Jagr." from Rossi (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
  • Rossi's opinion (via @RobRossi_Trib):  "Pens have made their offer.  Cannot forsee them 'exchanging things.'"
  • While on Sports Talk on Trib Live this morning, Rossi stated that, "according to many, many people around the league and those close to Mario he is confident a deal is going to get done ..." (since Lemieux personally spoke to Jagr last week, if he does decide not to sign with the Penguins, this would be such a blow to that connection (and this entire idea of a homecoming to rebuild some of the bridges Jagr burnt when he left Pittsburgh especially when Lemieux seems to be so set on the notion of making things right where Jagr is concerned so the organization can rightfully honor him as part of Penguins successful history; I just can't see Jagr doing that to his "idol," but you just never know ... who really would've thought that birthing turtles would keep Jagr's plane from landing at JFK?!)
Two (ok, maybe three) things I know for sure ...
  1. #JagrWatch WILL END (and we won't have to wait much longer because tomorrow is July 1st)
  2. although this may all just be "Jagr being Jagr," this isn't any way to start (or gain closure) with the Penguins organization or the fans of Pittsburgh - if he does not end up in Pittsburgh, I am certain he will get more than "booed" upon his arrival at the CONSOL with the NHL team of his choice (can you say "Hossa?!"; personally, I can say that until I hear more about this entire situation and thoughts FROM JAGR HIMSELF, I am a little frustrated with him and may remain so (and I have been a fan of his from the beginning ... have always come to his defense and not only did I not take part in the harmonious "boos" from Pens fans, it would actually make my skin crawl ...)
  3. this was ONE HELL OF A RIDE that we Pens fans will never forget and will continue to talk about for years to come (I mean, seriously, you can't even make up anything better with a story like this!)
So until Jagr SHITS AND GETS OFF THE POT, check back here for breaking news and updates ... although I won't be as consumed with Twitter as I was yesterday, I will be keeping close track of this Jagr saga!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some GOOD NEWS Today: Pens Re-Sign Asham

The Penguins just announced that they re-signed Arron Asham to a 1-year / $775,000.00

I'm actually happy with this signing (aside from Rupper most likely being gone) because I really want Asahm to win a Cup ... seeing his face when we lost Game 7 in the first round was devastating ... you KNOW with being so close these past two seasons that he's just ready to win a Cup ... he'll have another chance at that this year and hopefully he'll play that way the entire season (not just in the playoffs!)!

Talbot's Negotiating Rights Traded to Toronto? I'm Not Buying it JUST YET ...


Just as I posted this, the Tribune-Review via Twitter (@JoshYohe) posted this:

Talbot's agent, Pat Brisson: Talbot's rights have NOT been traded to Toronto, or to anyone, for that matter.

This just reported by (rough translation by Google Translate).

When translated, the article only reports what Shero said at the Entry Draft (this past weekend) and nothing about the Leafs.  To paraphrase, Shero said that he expects Max to "depart" and he wishes him well.  I'm still not certain about this report.  Ultimately says that Toronto acquired Talbot's negotiating rights and they have until Friday at 12 noon or Talbot can walk away for any other offer he gets (which could also mean that he could decide to stay with Pittsburgh as well). says, "The message is clear enough."  IS IT?  You decide:

The player who gave victory to the Penguins in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final of 2009 with two goals he is on his departure?

The answer is yes. The Chief Penguins, Ray Shero I made the statement at the entry draft: "I expect the departure of Max Talbot. I wish him well and he will never be forgotten in Pittsburgh. "The message is clear enough.

Maxime Talbot has not to worry as nearly a dozen NHL teams could make him the eye July 1.

Maybe I'm missing something or found the wrong article.  How do you get that Talbot's negotiating rights have been traded to Toronto from that?  I'm not quite sure.  Personally, I find it laughable that with the article above, even Pittsburgh news stations are beginning to report on this "news."  I'm guessing it's just the era of the internet and media and print sources' desire to be first and fast (I suppose I can't blame them).

But I'm not going to put much stock into this one until I see more sources report; perhaps until I read it on the Penguins official webpage (even TSN is reporting on what RDS said ... "according to an RDS report").

It's D- (or J-) Day!! Jagr to Answer Pittsburgh Today

Lots has occurred since my last post yesterday.  My main source for #JagrWatch  has been Twitter (mainly tweets from Rob Rossi and his "new sidekick" at the Trib, Josh Yohe).

According to Rossi and Yohe, Jagr's agent Petr Svoboda and Shero talked yesterday afternoon.  Shero gave Jagr's agent the Pens final (perhaps only) offer last night and said they wanted an answer by today which is where we're at now (WAITING ...).  Shero has said that with the Pens cap situation, the offer to Jagr is as good as it gets.  It's officially a one-year deal, but details on how much has not been released (I've read that it's close, if not at, $2 million which is what Jagr reportedly was asking).

LATEST (AT THIS VERY MINUTE), Svoboda is saying Jagr is on a plane heading to the US (meaning Montreal is out of the picture, I'm assuming -- however, most sources have been told NOT to read into that) ... I would guess that we will definitely know his answer (Pittsburgh or Detroit) once his plane lands and someone spots him and tweets about it.  The latest #JagrWatch Trib article reports that Jagr's plane will land in JFK in New York.

"He is flying to New York (from the Czech Republic) right now," agent Petr Svoboda said. "He is coming this afternoon and will tell us his answer then."

Jagr is not expected to arrive in the U.S. until at least 3:30 p.m. Svoboda said he expects to know Jagr's decision within and hour of his arrival.
My gut is telling me he'll be playing with Pittsburgh next season but we'll know for sure closer to mid-day, so ...


Talbot Turns Down Leafs Deal

[Thanks to a tip from @pensexperience]

From "The Spin on Sports" in The Star, Talbot turned down a 4 year / $6.8 million ($1.7 per year) deal and still wants to test the market on Friday.
Various reports in the past few hours have linked the Leafs to Max Talbot of the Penguins, an eight-goal scorer who may command somewhere around $2 million a year in this inflationary market. The Penguins were willing to send his rights to the Leafs for a fifth round pick and let the Leafs talk to Talbot's agent first, but the two sides couldn't come up with a deal. It's suggested the Leafs were willing to do something in the neighborhood at four years, $1.7 million per, but there was no agreement and Talbot will see what kind of offers he can attract on Friday.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pascal Dupuis on The X

Right now, Mark Madden is talking to Pascal Dupuis on 105.9 The X!!

Update - BREAKING NEWS: Pens Sign Dupuis (IT'S OFFICIAL)

The Penguins webpage has officially announced Dupuis' signing today.

The word is that the Penguins have re-signed winger Pascal Dupuis.  No official announcement has been made (i.e., it's not yet on the Penguins webpage.

According to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi (sources have confirmed), Dupuis signed a two-year deal worth $3 million.

STAY TUNED (and check back here often!)!!!  Until then, this is a breakdown of the Penguins free agency as of today at 2:30 PM:

ADAMS, Craig (SIGNED June 9, 2011)
ASHAM, Arron
CRAIG, Ryan (SIGNED June 13, 2011)
CURRY, John (SIGNED June 16, 2011 - Hamburg Freezers, Germany)
DUPUIS, Pascal (SIGNED June 28, 2011)
ENGELLAND, Deryk (SIGNED January 3, 2011)
GODARD, Eric (WILL NOT BE SIGNED; will test free agency)
HADDAD, Joey (06/27/11-was not given a qualifying offer as RFA; will not be signed by Pens)
JOHNSON, Nick (SIGNED June 4, 2011)
KENNEDY, Tyler (06/27/11-was not given a qualifying offer as RFA)
LETESTU, Mark (SIGNED January 18, 2011)
RUPP, Mike
WAGNER, Steve (SIGNED June 9, 2011 - Adler Mannheim Eagles, Germany)


The Latest on Penguins Free Agency Situation

The big news yesterday was that the Penguins did not extend a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Tyler Kennedy (they had until 5:00 PM yesterday to do so).  This will make him an unrestricted free agent come Friday. 

At first glance, it doesn't look likely that TK will be back in Pittsburgh next season; however, according to Pittsburgh Tribune Review's Rob Rossi, Penguins GM Ray Shero made this move to avoid arbitration (and alot of precious time being tied up).

"We want clarity in this situation. By doing this we get the most clarity," Shero said. "An arbitration hearing can go into early August. We want to know what's going on before then."
"(Kennedy) wants to come back," Shero said. "And we certainly want him back."

Shero's plan, again according to Rossi, is to re-sign Kennedy and sign Jaromir Jagr to a one-year deal BEFORE FRIDAY.  He's also hoping to re-sign one or both free agents Mike Rupp and / or Pascal Dupuis before free agency comes into play on Friday at 12 noon.

Shero also confirmed to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that a three-year deal was offered to unrestricted free agent Max Talbot who ultimately turned it down and will be testing free agency come Friday.  This doesn't look good for Talbot returning in black and vegas gold next season although there could be a small glimmer of hope in the fact that Shero hasn't publicly announced that he wouldn't be signed as he did with Mike Comrie and Alexei Kovalev.  A few weeks ago, it was reported by that Talbot would be interested in playing for Montreal if he doesn't sign with the Pens.

In other Penguins free agency news, two of Pittsburgh's AHL players will be playing for another country come next season.

According to Jonathan Bombulie (WBS Baby Pens beat writer for Citizens Voice), goaltender John Curry has signed with the Germany's Hamburg Freezers.  Bombulie conducted a Q&A with Curry last week who was vacationing with his family.  CLICK HERE TO READ IT.

WBS Baby Pens defenseman Steve Wagner was also signed by a German team - the Adler Mannheim Eagles signed him on June 9th.

So here's how the free agency list for Pittsburgh looks as it stands now:

ADAMS, Craig (SIGNED June 9, 2011)
ASHAM, Arron
CRAIG, Ryan (SIGNED June 13, 2011)
CURRY, John (SIGNED June 16, 2011 - Hamburg Freezers, Germany)
DUPUIS, Pascal
ENGELLAND, Deryk (SIGNED January 3, 2011)
GODARD, Eric (WILL NOT BE SIGNED; will test free agency)
HADDAD, Joey (06/27/11-was not given a qualifying offer as RFA)
JOHNSON, Nick (SIGNED June 4, 2011)
KENNEDY, Tyler (06/27/11-was not given a qualifying offer as RFA)
LETESTU, Mark (SIGNED January 18, 2011)
RUPP, Mike
WAGNER, Steve (SIGNED June 9, 2011 - Adler Mannheim Eagles, Germany)


On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

at the NHL Amateur Draft, the Penguins select Chris Wells (24th), Richard Park (50th), and Sven Butenschon (57th)

Gene Ubriaco named the 11th Penguins head coach (second former Pens player to coach Pens)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Joe Morrow on The X

This morning the Penguins 2011 first-round draft pick, Joe Morrow, was on Pittsburgh's The X (105.9).

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

Philip Samuelsson (son of Pens alumni Ulf Samuelsson) was the Penguins second-round pick in the NHL Entry Draft ...

Third-round pick: Ben Hanowksi (RW); fourth-round: Nick Petersen (RW); fifth-round picks: Alex Velischeck (D) and Andy Bathgate (C) who is the grandson of former Pens center Andy Bathgate; sixth-round pick: Viktor Ekbom (D)

NHL Amateur Draft ... Penguins selected Milan Kraft (23rd), Rob Scuderi (134th), Toby Petersen (244th) and Matt Hussey (254th)

Craig Patrick signs a new five-year contract as the Penguins executive vice president and general manager

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pittsburgh's 2011 Draft Picks (Rounds 2-7)

Because the Penguins had made a few previous trades (four since 2009), they only had five picks instead of seven in this year's entry draft.

They gave up their third- and fourth-round picks (and had given up their seventh after getting Alexei Kovalev from Ottawa the second half of this past season, but also acquired a seventh at the 2010 draft by giving their seventh round pick that year to San Jose). 

The third-round draft pick was given up to Philadelphia at last year's draft (2010) in exchange for negotiating rights to Dan Hamhuis who ultimately signed with Vancouver instead of Pittsburgh.  Pittsburgh's fourth-round draft pick was given up back in January 2009 to Edmonton (along with goalie Dany Sabourin and forward Ryan Stone) in exchange for goalie Mathieu Garon.  So Pittsburgh was left with picks in the first, second, fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds and here are the results:

FIRST ROUND (23rd overall):
Joseph Morrow (D)

Scott Harrington (D)

FIFTH ROUND (144th):
Dominik Uher (C)

SIXTH ROUND (174th):
Josh Archibald (F)

Scott Wilson (F)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Penguins 2011 First Round Draft Pick

Pic courtesy of @pghpenguins

Pittsburgh has selected defenseman Joe Morrow in the first round of this year's draft.  I am quite confused right now since I don't think they need any more d-men and are lacking wingers (and they passed on Pittsburgh-native Saad).

Well, that's why Shero is there and I'm here!! 

And I've just been "schooled" -- regardless of what you need, you "still draft BPA = great asset!" (THANK YOU @ChrisRalphTHW!  I guess I understand, but don't necessarily agree ... right now I'm just a little confused).

BTW - BPA = "best player available"


Pittsburgh-Area LW Drafted 15th (in Round 1)

The New York Rangers just selected Pittsburgh-native (East Palestine, OH/Coraopolis) J.T. Miller in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft (15th overall).

CONGRATULATIONS J.T.!!  Pittsburgh pride!!

As a sidenote, RJ Umberger was selected 16th overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft (per the Penguins webpage, Miller is the first Pittsburgh-area player picked in Round 1 since Umberger).

2011-12 First Overall Draft Pick (Edmonton)


2011 NHL Draft (Round 1 Order of Selection)

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Winnipeg will officially announce that they will [remain] / be named the Winnepeg Jets (prior to their pick - #7).  CLICK HERE TO READ MORE from The Winnipeg Sun.

The Penguins webpage have the order of selection of this year's NHL draft.  Tonight VERSUS will broadcase Round 1 from 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM.  Below is the order for tonight's first round:

1. Edmonton
2. Colorado
3. Florida
4. New Jersey
5. NY Islanders
6. Ottawa
7. Winnipeg
8. Columbus
9. Boston (from TOR)
10. Minnesota
11. Colorado (from STL)
12. Carolina
13. Calgary
14. Dallas
15. NY Rangers
16. Buffalo
17. Montreal
18. Chicago
19. Edmonton (from LA)
20. Phoenix
21. Ottawa (from NSH)
22. Anaheim
23. Pittsburgh
24. Detroit
25. Toronto (from PHI)
26. Washington
27. Tampa Bay
28. San Jose
29. Vancouver
30. Toronto (from BOS)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dan Bylsma Media Appearance - LISTEN LIVE!!

Mark Madden has just announced that Dan Bylsma will be making a radio "appearance" on 105.9, The X at 5:30 PM (est) today.



Pens 2011-12 Regular Season Schedule Released

Pittsburgh just released their schedule for the 2011-12 season along with the rest of the league.  Here are some interesting items on this season's schedule:
  • Penguins season begins with a three-game road trip on Thursday, October 6th in Vancouver (10:00 PM); and ends in Edmonton on Sunday, October 9th (9:00 PM)
  • First home game is Tuesday, October 11th against the Florida Panthers (7:00 PM)
  • The Penguins will play the re-located [Atlanta Thrashers] franchise IN Winnipeg on Monday, October 17th (8:30 PM) then the team will travel to play at the CONSOL on Friday, February 10th (7:00 PM)
    • both games are listed as "NHL" (for "Visitor / Home") on the official schedule since the franchise has yet to choose a name for the team
  • The final home game (and for the season) is an afternoon game on Saturday, April 7th agains the Philadelphia Flyers (3:00 PM)
and ...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bylsma Knows Jack!

With or without the honor, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma had an outstanding season this past year.  It's always nice to be acknowledged which is what Bylsma was last night at the 2011 NHL Awards as this year's recipient of the Jack Adams Award.  It was an honor well-deserved ...

Penguins Nation is PROUD!

2011 NHL Awards Tonight (EA's NHL 12 Cover Athlete to be Unveiled!)

Tonight is the 2011 NHL Awards Show which will be broadcast on VERSUS at 7:00 PM (est).  The ceremony is again being held at the Pearl Concert Theater in Las Vegas at the Palms Hotel.

Dan Bylsma is our only Penguins connection to the awards.  Bylsma has been nominated for the Jack Adams Award which is given to the season's most outstanding coach.

The Jack Adams Award is an annual award presented by the National Hockey League Broadcasters' Association to the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success. The winner is selected in a poll among members of the NHL Broadcasters' Association at the end of the regular season.
Bylsma is among Barry Trotz (Nashville Predators), and Alain Vigneault (Vancouver Canucks) nominated for the prestigious coaches' award.  I think he has a pretty good chance although Vigneault makes me nervous being that he led his team to the SC Final; however, I believe the awards are voted on prior to the playoffs so he may not have that advantage over Bylsma.

The Bylsma Family in Las Vegas (at Dan's photo shoot)
photo courtesy of Penguins Report
Another exciting part of tonight's awards ceremony is the unveiling of the latest cover athlete for EA's NHL 12. 

Did you know that Sid has yet to grace the cover?  It's pretty unbelievable, but very true (I'm not sure the reasoning behind it, but a guess would be that it's too obvious a choice ... IDK).  Sid is, however, among the names being mentioned as possibilities for this year's cover. He would be the first Pittsburgh player on the cover since Mario Lemieux (NHL 2002).

My guess for this year's cover athlete is Tim Thomas.  He's a pretty worthy candidate and according to The Examiner, the last time a goalie was featured was back on NHL 97 when John Vanbiesbrouck made the cover.

So be sure to tune in to the 2011 NHL Awards tonight at 7:00 PM (est) on VERSUS.
Until then, check out the list of cover athletes below!

Players featured in EA's NHL series (with European cover athlete in parentheses):
(click on each player for a link to it's Wiki page)
courtesy of and Wikipedia

Crosby Still > Ovechkin

In yet ANOTHER category, Sidney Crosby beats out Alexander Ovechkin (and the amazing part is that he didn't even have to play an entire season to do so).

According to an article in SportsBusiness Daily yesterday, Crosby's jersey topped sales for the sixth NHL season in a row even though he missed half of it while recovering from a concussion he suffered back in January.  He is joined by three other team mates - Evgeni Malkin (5th), Marc-Andre Fleury (10th), and Kris Letang (17th).

Interestingly enough, the Top 20 list is void any representation of Vancouver despite the fact that they made their way to the Stanley Cup Final.
  1. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins)
  2. Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)
  3. Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks)
  4. Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
  5. Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins)
  6. Mike Richards (Philadelphia Flyers)
  7. Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals)
  8. Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers)
  9. Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres)
  10. Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins)
  11. Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings)
  12. Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings)
  13. Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers)
  14. Milan Lucic (Boston Bruins)
  15. Ryan Callahan (New York Rangers)
  16. Marian Hossa (Chicago Blackhawks)
  17. Kris Letang (Pittsburgh Penguins)
  18. Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils)
  19. Patrick Sharp (Chicago Blackhawks)
  20. Joe Thornton (San Jose Sharks)

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

Pittsburgh acquire a third-round round pick from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for Chris Thorburn

the Penguins trade Sergei Zubov to the Dallas Stars for Kevin Hatcher

for the second time in his career / Penguins history, Ed Johnston takes over as Pittsburgh's head coach

In the NHL Amateur Draft, Pittsburgh selects Markus Naslund (16th pick), Rusty Fitzgerald (38th) and Ed Patterson (148th)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pens Release 2011-12 Pre-Season Schedule

The hockey season officially ended last Wednesday with the Bruins winning the Cup, so it's a little odd to be talking about schedules already.  However, I for one, am happy to fill in the gaps with any current hockey news I can ESPECIALLY when its about the Penguins!!

Earlier today, the Penguins released their upcoming pre-season schedule (all EST times):

  • Wednesday, September 21st VS Detroit at the CONSOL (7:00 PM) - part of season ticket package
  • Thursday, September 22nd VS Chicago at the CONSOL (7:00 PM) - part of season ticket package
  • Saturday, September 24th VS Minnesota at the CONSOL (3:00 PM) - second annual free game for kids; details will be forthcoming
  • Tuesday, September 27th VS Los Angeles at Kansas City (8:00 PM) - neutral site
  • Friday, September 30th AT Chicago (8:00 PM)
  • Sunday, October 2nd AT Detroit (4:00 PM)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Former Penguin Announces Retirement After Raising the Cup

No better way to "go out" than ON THE TOP!  And that's just what Mark Recchi had in mind.

Moments after raising Lord Stanley for the third time in his NHL career (twice once with the Pittsburgh Penguins and then with the Carolina Hurricanes), he told Pierre McGuire that he's hanging up his skates.

CONGRATULATIONS to Mark Recchi and the Boston Bruins!!!

Penguins Make Top Ten in ESPN's "Best Franchises in Sports"

ESPN The Magazine's ninth annual "Best in Sports" issue will hit stands tomorrow (Friday, June 17th) which includes the feature, "Best Franchises in Sports."
The “Best Franchises In Sports” feature is part of ESPN The Magazine’s Ultimate Standings methodology study, which determines an overall ranking for pro sports franchises according to how much they give back to fans for the time, money and emotion they invest in them.
In all, 122 teams from the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball were ranked in order, based on a weighted average of scores in eight different categories ranging from the quantitative to the emotionally subjective: “bang for the buck” (24.3%), players (16.6%), fan relations (16.5%), affordability (14.1%), stadium experience (9.1%), ownership (9.0%), title track (6.7%), and coaching (3.9%).
The Penguins make the list at number 10 while the Pittsburgh Steelers were at number 7 and the rest of the rankings look like this:
  1. Green Bay Packers (NFL)
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)
  3. New Orleans Saints (NFL)
  4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (MBA)
  5. San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
  6. Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL)
  8. Colorado Rockies (MBA)
  9. Memphis Grizzlies (MBA)
  10. Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
Seeing how only two teams in the NHL cracked the top ten I'd say number 10 isn't too shabby (and the TB Lightning at #2 is pretty impressive)!

To read more about the current ESPN The Magazine hitting newstands tomorrow, CLICK HERE.

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

Pens assistant coach Mike Yeo resigned from the team to accept a head coaching job with the Houston Aeros (AHL)

the Penguins obtained Joe Mullen from Calgary for a second round choice in the 1990 NHL Amateur Draft (Pittsburgh selected Jaromir Jagr (fifth overall), Joe Dziedzic (61st), and Chris Tamer (68th))

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Craig Will Return for Another Season

Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that they re-signed forward Ryan Craig.  It's a one-year, two-way contract for $525,000 at the NHL level.

ADAMS, Craig (SIGNED June 9, 2011)
ASHAM, Arron
CRAIG, Ryan (SIGNED June 13, 2011)
DUPUIS, Pascal
ENGELLAND, Deryk (SIGNED January 3, 2011)
GODARD, Eric (WILL NOT BE SIGNED; will test free agency)
JOHNSON, Nick (SIGNED June 4, 2011)
LETESTU, Mark (SIGNED January 18, 2011)
RUPP, Mike


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Penguins Extend Craig Adams Contract

Pittsburgh just announced that they've extended forward Craig Adams contract for an additional two years.

The contract has an average annual value of $675,000, and runs through the 2012-13 season.
It's good to finally be moving into signing some of the "meat" of the Penguins free agents ... hopefully we won't have to wait long for others.

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

Penguins forced a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup final by winning over Detroit by a score of 2-1 (which ultimately led to their winning the Stanley Cup on June 12, 2009)

Penguins drafted Mario Lemieux, Doug Bodger and Roger Belanger in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft making it the only time in the organization's history that they selected more than one player in the first round (and it was the first time the Penguins chose first overall)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Guerin Pittsburgh's New Player Development Coach

The Penguins recently announced that they've named former player, Bill Guerin, as the new player development coach.

According to the official webpage, Guerin will work with Penguin prospects (helping with the development of players in the minor leagues as well as junior and college hockey).
“Billy has only been retired as a player for one year, so he brings a new and very contemporary perspective to the position,” Shero said. “He is going to be a big asset to our young prospects throughout the organization, and to our staff.”
It's nice to have him back with the Penguins organization even though we probably won't see much of him (he'll be working more "behind the scenes" now)!


Penguins Coaches Re-Signed

The Penguins organization announced yesterday that they have extended the contracts of their NHL and AHL coaches.

Tony Granato
Tony Granato, Todd Reirden, Gilles Meloche (goaltending coach), and Mike Kadar (strength and conditioning coach) as well as WB/S head coach John Hynes and assistant coach, Alain Nasreddine, all signed multi-year contracts with Pittsburgh.
“We’re excited to have this entire group together and under contract as we move forward and prepare for the 2011-12 season,” Shero said. “We think we have an outstanding coaching staff, both here in Pittsburgh and in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and this gives them and us a strong sense of stability.”
The Penguins already extended head coach Dan Bylsma's contract earlier this year.

On this Date in Pittsburgh Penguins History

Mario Lemieux becomes the first Penguin player to win either the Hart Memorial or Art Ross trophies as both the league's MVP and leading scorer

Pittsburgh selects Bob Errey in Round 1 (15th overall), Todd Charlesworth in Round 2 (22nd overall), Frank Pietrangelo Round 4 (63rd overall) and Dave Goertz in Round 12 (223rd overall) at the NHL Amateur Draft

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New NHL Discipline Comes Through

Surprisingly, the new setup for league discipline seems to be working ... now the big test will come down to it's consistency league-wide (and if Brendan Shanahan continues with what the interim has set forth), so I don't think we'll immediately see the effects.

I'm sure most of you have at least heard about, if not seen, the nasty [LATE] hit Canucks Aaron Rome laid on Bruins Nathan Horton.

Horton (Boston)
The hit left Horton dazed on the ice for a few seconds before he was wheeled off on a stretcher and transported to the Mass General Hospital where he was admitted for overnight observation.  It was later reported that he suffered a severe concussion (and luckily it wasn't worse even though it was bad enough). 

Prior to the NHL handing down Rome's punishment, the Bruins announced that Horton would be out for the rest of the Stanley Cup final.

Rome (Vancouver)
The league announced they gave Rome a 4-game suspension which I believe is only fair (it's the same length of time for both players; the only difference being that the players are somewhat unmatched in terms of talent for their teams and, more devastating, Horton may suffer consequences far beyond the end of the playoffs).  But here's the beauty of this decision (and where it appears the league is serious about turning this around):  if it takes less than four games to win the Cup, the suspension will extend into the beginning of next season - message sent (and a step in the right direction for the league).  Now let's hope the message is received.
"Two factors were considered in reaching this decision," said NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy. "The hit by Rome was clearly beyond what is acceptable in terms of how late it was delivered after Horton had released the puck and it caused a significant injury."
The process for determining Rome's punishment seems simple enough (and full of common sense), but the impact of this decision on the future of hits like these in the NHL is only as strong as the league's consistency and it's commitment to back it up.  For the sake of players safety (and Nathan Horton along with the rest of the players who have already suffered the consequences), let's hope this is a positive turning point.