Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday News and Notes

Is Marc-Andre Fleury losing a grip on the starting job in Pittsburgh?
It is starting to seem that way. Fleury, who has struggled throughout the preseason, is the only goalie on the roster that wouldn't have to clear waivers, though he is on a one-way contract. Coming into camp, it was all but decided that it would be his job to lose and Jocelyn Thibault would be the most likely back-up. That is being revisited as Fleury posted a 4.39 GAA during the preseason, and there are whispers that he could even start the season in Wilkes Barre-Scranton. Danny Sabourin has had a very strong camp and Thibault has been consistent, both efforts have management wondering if they should move in another direction. Thibault will start the game against Buffalo tonight, with no announcement having been made on tomorrow night's starter. If Fleury gets the opportunity, it could be make or break.

Dan Carcillo Making a Push
Carcillo, the former OHL villain, has been in complete control of his emotions this preseason. He has accumulated only 4 penalty minutes after racking up 311 minutes in 51 games with the Wilkes Barre-Scranton Penguins last season. Carcillo chalks his new found Lady Byng status up to get more focused before games and controlling his emotions. Something that he wasn't always able to do in the past. He has taken some pretty big steps over the past couple years, steps that might place him on the Penguins opening night roster. He seems to be a new man, instead of taking penalties, he is drawing them. He put on a fine display of that last week against Washington, when he was able to ruffle the feathers of none other than Donald Brashear. Carcillo seems to have matured much since he was suspended on two occasions for stick infractions during his final season in the OHL and he has impressed Penguins brass.

Ron MacLean to Officiate During the Second Period Tonight
MacLean, host of CBC's Hockey Night In Canada and certified referee in the Canadian Hockey Association, will officiate during the second period of the Penguins/Sabres game tonight at Mellon Arena. He will work alongside the NHL’s Senior Vice President and Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom. MacLean attended the officials training camp earlier this month in Erie, and the league wanted him to gain an on ice perspective during game conditions.

Malkin Update
Word is that Evgeni Malkin could begin skating as soon as this weekend. There is no indication of when he will be able to participate in full contact drills with teammates, but this is good news. The shoulder supposedly slid right back into place when they reset it. Complications tend to arise with getting the shoulder back into socket, something that doesn't seem to be a problem in Malkin's case. It is definitely looking more and more like he will be back sooner, rather than later. More as I have it!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pens Claim Stewart - Edit

The Penguins have claimed left wing Karl Stewart from the Anaheim Ducks. Stewart has spent the bulk of his career in the AHL and looks to continue that trend in Pittsburgh. He was originally signed as a free agent by the Atlanta Thrashers.

I assume this is a move to add some depth in Wilkes-Barre Scranton. He projects as no better than a 4th line energy guy in the NHL.


As I look and read a bit more about Stewart, he will probably be used in a 4th line role in the NHL to start the season. At least throughout the rest of training camp. He would have to clear waivers to report to WBS and I doubt the Penguins would have wasted the claim just to have him re-claimed by Anaheim.

The probably hurts the chances of Ryan Stone or Dan Carcillo making the team, but we will see!

"BAAAArmy Training Sir!.........."

Just like Bill Murrary's character John Winger said in Stripes. The Penguins are currently going through some army training and team building at West Point. Instead of Sgt. Hulka barking orders at them, they have 1st Sgt. J.B. Spisso, a Pennsylvania native and general manager of the US Military Academy's sports facility, taking them through their maneuvers and putting them through drills they probably haven't seen the likes of before.

Their day started early yesterday morning as they took to the field at Michie Stadium, located at the Military Academy. They were put through some standard calisthenics such as push ups, squats and running the stadium steps, but were soon participating in activities involving their assault rifles. The rifles were not real of course, they were rubber replicas of the same weight and dimensions of the real thing.

The players then moved on to some team based activities. One required each player to run the length of the field while "fireman" carrying a teammate. Then they broke into groups of three for a drill in which two guys had to stay low "dodging enemy fire" while dragging a "wounded" teammate to safety. Sidney Crosby joked that he was lucky to be paired with Mark Recchi and Dan Carcillo, because they aren't that big. He even offered pity for whoever was stuck dragging the 222lb Josef Melichar.

The players received compliments from Sgt. Spisso in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "They're conditioned extremely well for what they do," Spisso said. "I was expecting them to give their best, and they did."

This could be a very good thing or the Penguins. The New York Rangers participated in these team building activities last season. A season where they were picked to be one of the worst teams in the East by many experts. That Ranger team ended up being one of the best in the league throughout the season and made the playoffs.

It is worth noting that throughout camp, this team has seemed closer and hasn't had any notable personality conflicts. Each member of the team has been wearing a "Take the Next Step" t-shirt to events such as the activities at West Point, and showing great solidarity with teammates.

Let's hope that this activity is a home run for GM Ray Shero and head coach Michel Therrien and spurs the Penguins back to respectability.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Therrien Rant Revisited.....

I have been waiting for this and finally found it on youtube. I present the Therrien Rant!!! Coach Michel Therrien melted down after a particularly bad loss by the Penguins last year against the Edmonton it is for your is my original blog on the melt down.

Malkin, Roster Moves and Some Notes

As is being reported just about everywhere hockey news is read, Evgeni Malkin will not require surgery. It is being speculated that he will need roughly 4-6 weeks to recover from the injury. This is great news for Malkin and the Penguins. I just hope that they do not rush the kid back. I am sure that Ray Shero is smarter than that, but your never know. The allure of having Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby on the ice at the same time may be too much to handle. It would be a shame to see this kid pass on surgery now, only to have to go under the knife in a couple years.

The most interesting thing that I have heard regarding this situation are the comments being made by Malkin's mother. She is quoted in Sport-Express in Russia as saying: "Zhenia had his X-ray exam done yesterday [Monday]. The shoulder was not dislocated. Simply a bad bruise. Doctors said: in two-three weeks he will be ready to come back on ice. Recently we have received an invitation from Pittsburgh. Now we are waiting for the visa to come from Moscow. We would very much like to go to support our son." Sounds like the most optimistic report we have gotten. If this is accurate, it could mean that Malkin will be in the line-up come October 5th against the Flyers.

The Penguins made another round of cuts Sunday night, before shipping off to West Point for their scheduled team building activities. Forwards Tyler Kennedy, Erik Christensen, Jonathan Filewich, Conner James and Stephen Dixon along with defensemen Micki Dupont, Matt Carkner and Alain Nasreddine were assigned to the AHL affiliate in Wilkes Barre-Scranton.

Jordan Staal looked like he was making a strong case to stay in the NHL during the early parts of camp, unfortunately, his play has continued to slip during the exhibition games. He started strong against Ottawa last week, but has since looked a little over matched. He is a big strong kid who protects the puck well, but would probably benefit from another year in the OHL. He would probably be the best player on his team and would be given a chance to dominate while centering the top line for Peterborough. The fact that he is still in training camp leads me to believe that the Penguins are going to keep him around for his 9 game cup of coffee before sending him back. Some have speculated that this is going to happen due to the Malkin injury, I personally feel it is just to get a better look at Staal in game situations, since he hasn't really set the world on fire when given a chance on the top 2 lines during exhibition games. He is not Malkin's replacement. The most likely move would see Ryan Malone shift to center on the second line, with John LeClair moving up to play along side he and Mark Recchi.

Is Marc Andre Fleury ready to dominate this season? I don't think so. MA, who is a great athlete, still has a penchant for getting beat high over his glove hand. He also hasn't mastered the art of controlling his rebounds. He will be given every chance to establish himself this season, coming into camp as the undisputed go to guy between the pipes, but he has got to get better. Fleury has always flashed glimmers of what's to come, but he needs more consistency. Seems like he can be counted on to make the huge save, only to allow the "soft goal." Jocelyn Thibault is also back in camp this year, and up until Sunday night didn't seem to be pushing Fleury much. Thibault was impressive in stopping 21 of 22 shots and earning the win in London, Ontario against the Flyers. These two goalies may platoon a bit during the beginning of the season, with Michel Therrien going with the "hot hand."

Friday, September 22, 2006

Penguins Assign 5 to WBS Camp

The Penguins trimmed 5 more names off of their training camp roster. They sent Forwards Joe Jensen, and Dennis Bonvie, Defenseman Michael Sersen and Ryan Lannon, and Goaltender Andrew Penner to the Wilkes Barre- Scranton Penguins. That leaves 38 players in Penguins camp, including 18 year old Jordan Staal.

Malkin's Shoulder Dislocated

The Penguins finally announced what most have been speculating, Evgeni Malkin does have a dislocated shoulder. He will be re-evaluated next week. No other info was available...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Recchi Update - No Real Malkin News

It was announced today that Mark Recchi has suffered a fracture in his cheek. The injury is not expected to cause any missed time. Recchi will probably be held out of the next couple preseason games, but should be fine for opening night.

Some sources are saying that Evgeni Malkin did dislocate his shoulder, but the Penguins training staff was able to pop it back in. This has not been confirmed, but seems logical. He was taken to the hospital for observation, and will be further evaluated today. He was given a sling last night, but chose not to wear it. He was at Penguins practice today, but did not participate. It sounds like he will not miss a significant amount of time, which would be great for the Penguins. Malkin has really looked to be one of the best forwards on the team during camp thus far.

Separated Shoulder??

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette is speculating that the shoulder of Evgeni Malkin may have been separated in his collision with John LeClair. Dave Molinari, PG hockey writer, says that he has heard this speculation from "team officials." I guess we will find out. For what it is worth, Malkin was seen leaving the arena in Moncton after the game, he was smiling and did not have a sling on the arm.

Mark Recchi was also injured in the game tonight. He took a stick to the face early in the 1st period. He went to the locker room for a bit and then returned to action for a short time. He ended up going to the hospital when the team sent Malkin and it is being speculated that he may have a broken cheek bone. He was suffering from swelling and blurred vision.

More on these injuries in the morning....

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Malkin Injured

Evgeni Malkin made his Penguins debut tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. He was off to a great start, picking up an assist on his first shift of the game. He took a loose puck from behind the net, sent a nice pass out to the right point, where Micki Dupont took the puck and sent it to Sergei Gonchar at the left point, who buried a laser to open the scoring.

Malkin made several slick plays throughout the period, and didn't look out of place at all. Unfortunately, his night came to an early end. He and John LeClair had a scoring opportunity early in the second period. Malkin slid a beautiful pass over to LeClair who was streaking down the left wing, LeClair seemed to lose his footing, and went crashing into the boards, at the same time Malkin had circled the net and collided with LeClair. Malkin went head over feet and came crashing down on his face, neck and upper body. He was down for quite some time, but was able to get to his skates and leave the ice. He was clutching his left arm and bent over the entire way off the ice.

General Manager Ray Shero addressed the media after the game. He said Malkin is suffering from an upper body injury and that he was cleared to fly home with the team tonight. There will be an update tomorrow after Malkin is evaluated by the medical staff in Pittsburgh. Shero did not elaborate beyond that. He did say that he was just glad to see the kid get up after such a horrific fall. He also said that he is not preparing for life without Malkin when asked. Saying that he didn't want to get into speculation, but he knows that they will have him back at some point. Shero also mentioned being very impressed with his play prior to the injury.

Malkin did look great early in the game. He does not look out of place and was one of the fastest players on the ice. He gets to every loose puck and always seems to make the smart play.

More tomorrow as it comes out.....

Tonight's Line-up

Here is the Pittsburgh line-up for the preseason game tonight between the Penguins and Flyers.

Evgeni Malkin
Ryan Malone
Mark Recchi
Sidney Crosby
Jordan Staal
Dominic Moore
Max Talbot
Colby Armstrong
Jarkko Ruutu
Conner James
John LeClair
Andre Roy

Sergei Gonchar
Michael Sersen
Ryan Lannon
Josef Melichar
Micki Dupont
Mark Eaton

Jocelyn Thibault
Dan Sabourin

Jordan Staal is expected to play the left wing on a line with Sidney Crosby and Colby Armstrong. He spend some time there in the third period last night.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Penguins Captain Controversy

Michel Therrien's announcement that the Penguins would not name a captain this season seems to have hit a nerve around the hockey world. Everyone seems to think that this is the worst thing that the team could have done and that it means certain doom! I for one do not see the big deal. Though it is unconventional and has been done with mixed results in the past, it could work. The team didn't have a captain for a big chunk of last season and actually had their most successful portion of the year. Everyone knows that this is Sidney Crosby's team and it will be for the foreseeable future. He will be one of the players wearing an "A" and will serve as a leader for this team. Sidney, who was accused of yapping at the refs a bit too often, really got himself in check after he was given his "A" last season and it is very evident that he has matured well beyond his years. Sidney will be very vocal in the locker room and on the ice.

The team also has several other worthy candidates to sport the "A" this season: John LeClair, Mark Recchi and Sergei Gonchar just to name a few. The most likely scenario will probably see Recchi and LeClair each getting an "A" stiched to their jerseys. This could be very positive, in that it would bring Crosby and Recchi together and would dispel any doubts about their relationship. Both say that the problems from a year ago are water under the bridge, and watching the two interact during training camp, I believe it.

These players are all class acts and will work together to see that the team is on track and clearly understands the goals outlined by the coaching staff.

I have heard several examples of this scenario failing in the past, but there is one big positive. Though they didn't go with all alternates, last year's Buffalo Sabres had a shared captaincy, which isn't radically different and look at the success that they had.

I am not sure that it is necessary to do this as a nod to Mario Lemieux, but it could work out just fine for the Penguins. General Manager, Ray Shero, left the door open for possibly naming a Captain down the line and will do so if this doesn't work out. So, let's give it a chance.

Tonight's Roster

Here is the roster for tonight's preseason game against the Ottawa Senators. Evgeni Malkin will make his preseason debut tomorrow night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sidney Crosby
Dan Carcillo
Jonathan Filewich
Jordan Staal
Ryan Stone
Dennis Bonvie
Stephan Dixon
Nils Ekman
Libor Pivko
Colby Armstrong
Eric Christensen
Michel Ouellet

Noah Welch
Rob Scuderi
Ryan Whitney
Alain Nasreddine
Matt Carkner
Kristopher Letang

Marc-Andre Fleury
Andrew Penner

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pens To Go Without A Captain

According to TSN in Canada, head coach Michel Therrien has stated that the team will go without a captain this season. Instead, they will go with a group of alternate captains. No players have been identified as of yet. Some players who wore an "A" last season are as follows: Sidney Crosby, John LeClair, Joe Melichar, Sergei Gonchar.

The team has not had a captain since team owner, Mario Lemieux, retired in January of last season.

Final Day of Camp in Pittsburgh

The Penguins took to the ice for the final day of training camp in Pittsburgh, before taking off for a three day trip through the Canadian Maritimes. The team has been running very structured practices and the players seem thrilled. Michael Therrien is doing a great job of implementing his system and clearly defining what he wants done on the ice. Many of the players have been vocal about feeling a difference from last year. Noticing the structure. Players who were here last year have felt even more comfortable because they know the drills and the system and can work on getting better at it.

The team played it's final intra-squad scrimmage with the Black team taking the series 2 games to 1. It didn't seem as if that would be the case early as the White squad jumped out to a three goal lead on tallies by Dan Carcillo, John LeClair and Jonathan Filewich. The shut out didn't last long as Evgeni Malkin scored on an awesome one timer. He entered the zone and took a feed from Mark Recchi, he dropped a subtle pass to Sergei Gonchar and glided to the right face off circle. Gonchar got him the puck and he buried up above Marc-Andre Fleury's glove hand, sending the water bottle flying! The period ended with White holding a 3-1 lead.

Period two got underway and the team exchanged penalty shot goals by Max Talbot and Ryan Whitney. That left the score at 4-2. As the period moved on, Ryan Stone and Tyler Kennedy scored to knot the game at 4 all. The teams exchanged chances and it looked like OT was inevitable. That was until Max Talbot drew a penalty shot with :22 seconds remaining in the period. His shot found it's way into the net giving Black the victory.

The team made a few roster moves before leaving for Halifax. They reassigned 4 players to their Wilkes Barre-Scranton AHL affiliate: Forwards - Jordan Morrison, Mathieu Roy, Tim Wallace and Defenseman - Paul Bissonnette. They also reassigned goaltender Patrick Ehelechner to Duisburg (Germany).

Ronald Petrovicky looks to be out for 8-10 weeks following his hip surgery on Friday.

Sidney Crosby looks very strong in camp. He looks poised for a huge year. Not only is he throwing his body around a bit, he looks at least a step faster. His line looked strong throughout the 3 days in Pittsburgh and Nils Ekman seems to be settling right in with he and Colby Armstrong.

The team will actually be practicing in Moncton, New Brunswick beginning today. They will face the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night in Halifax and the Philadelphia Flyers in Moncton Wednesday.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Some Pics from Camp

Evgeni Malkin

Marc Andre Fleury

Crosby Scores on Penner

Pics compliments of will have some of my own up soon. Was having some problem getting them uploaded.

Some Saturday Pens Notes.....

The Penguins were back on the ice this morning for another day or workouts and scrimmage number 2. Today it was the white team who had a big day, beating the black team 6-3. The goalscorers for each team were as follows:

Black: Malkin, Staal, Jensen

White: Armstrong(3), Christensen(2), Crosby

Malkin's goal was on the penalty shot and was pretty impressive, deking left and pulling it back to his forehand and burying it. I was starting to think that he would need some time to adjust to the NHL game, I am changing that view. He is the real deal and I can't wait to see him in game action this week.

Sidney Crosby was impressive in scoring his goal. He took a pass through the neutral zone and broke between two defenders, leaving them at least a step behind, moving to the net and shooting. The save was made, but he burying his rebound.

Marc-Andre Fleury really had a bounce back day. Stopping each shot he faced, including 2 penalty shots.

Jordan Staal is also making his case to stay in the NHL. He was impressive in the workouts as well as the scrimmage. He scored a pretty penalty shot goal and his skating was better than any workout so far this camp.

Ronald Petrovicky, signed via free agency, has apparently had hip surgery and will be out of action indefinitely. This could open the door for a player such as Dan Carcillo or Ryan Stone to make the initial roster.

There were roughly 2000 fans in attendance today at camp. An impressive total. That is right around what the team was drawing last year during camp, as season that the team posted the most improved attendance numbers in the league. Having Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc Andre Fleury and Jordan Staal in camp does not hurt!!

For anyone in the Pittsburgh area or anyone who can access Fox Sports Pittsburgh, the channel will broadcast the Tuesday and Wednesday night preseason games. They face Ottawa and Philadelphia in the two match-ups. Will post the rosters for each game as soon as they are determined. I am sure Malkin and Staal will make their debuts.

The Russian arbitration commitee has ruled that Evegni Malkin is legally only allowed to play for Metallurg Magnitagorsk. They will release a 10 page summery of their decision in roughly 10 days. I do not see this being a factor, at least not according to everything I have heard and read in the last 48 hours. This was expected and Malkin's people have been preparing for it. He should be in the line-up October 5 when the Pens kick off the season.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Day One: Penguins Training Camp

The Pittsburgh Penguins actually kicked off training camp yesterday, but today was the first official day of workouts on ice. The festivities started off at 9:00am with Group A, headlined by Sidney Crosby(group rosters will follow the post). Head Coach Michel Therrien ran the group through several drills that seemed to concentrate on a lot of skating and passing. They also worked on their breakout. It was evident during the Penguins Rookie camp and again today, that Therrien is going to have a team that is well conditioned. He has been waiting to get his hands on this group in camp since he took over in the middle of last season. They ran 1 on 1, 2 on 1, and 3 on 2 drills. Most of the team seemed to be able to keep up. Of course there were some guys sucking air, but I guess that is to be expected on the first day.

The practice wound down and lead right into the scrimmage between Group A(White) and Group B(Black). Black went on to win the scrimmage 5-3 on the strength of two Evgeni Malkin goals. He scored on a penalty shot, picking the top right corner above MA Fleury's glove hand(sound familiar), and the second by finding a seam on Dan Sabourin's short side that didn't seem to be there, a seeing eye puck if you will. Actually Malkin looked much better today than I thought he did in rookie camp. He was good there, but he seemed relaxed and a lot more comfortable. He was stick handling and making great passes. He did seem to struggle on face-offs a bit though.

Sidney Crosby was Sidney Crosby, making some great plays and setting his wingers up. Sid was surprisingly stopped on 2 of 3 penalty shots in the scrimmage, which may be one of the only parts of his game he can improve upon a bit. He didn't convert many of his shoot-out chances last season.

The most impressive goal of the day goes to the newly acquired Nils Ekman. Ekman drew a penalty shot and moved in on young camp invitee Andrew Penner. He brought Penner to the ice, stopped on a dime, glided backwards along the crease and roofed a shot over Penner's shoulder. Great goal.

The goals for each team were as follows: White - Crosby, Ekman, LeClair Black - Malkin(2), James, A Roy, and Recchi.

The line combos shaped up as follows:






Following the scrimmage, assistant coach Mike Yao had the white team skate laps around the nets, which he had placed between the face off circles. The team was broken into 3 groups and put through the paces. All part of the conditioning program.

Group B was them brought out for their practice session. It was much the same as the first one. A lot of skating, breakouts, and man on man puck pursuit. They ended their session with the laps mention above. Many of the players stayed on the ice to shoot around a bit, including Evgeni Malkin.

All in all, the team looks to be improved. They should have at least two quality scoring lines, with a 3rd and 4th line that can contribute. I look forward to seeing their first preseason action Tuesday night when they take on the Ottawa Senators in Halifax.

Group A
Forwards: John LeClair, Erik Christensen, Dominic Moore, Colbey Armstrong, Libor Pivko, Ronald Petrovicky(did not skate today), Nils Ekman, Jarkko Ruutu, Stephen Dixon, Dennis Bonvie, Jonathan Filewich, Daniel Carcillo, Mathieu Roy, Sidney Crosby

Defense: Josef Melichar, Rob Scuderi, Ryan Whitney, Alain Nasreddine, Wade Skolney, Brooks Orpik, Kristopher Letang, Paul Bissonnette

Goal: Marc-Andre Fleury, Danny Sabourin

Group B
Forwards: Michel Ouellet, Mark Recchi, Ryan Malone, Maxime Talbot, Andre Roy, Jordan Morrison, Ryan Stone, Tyler Kennedy, Jordan Staal, Tim Wallace, Joe Jensen, Evgeni Malkin, Conner James

Defense: Mark Eaton, Noah Welch, Eric Cairns, Matt Carkner, Micki Dupont, Ryan Lannon, Sergei Gonchar, Michael Sersen

Goal: Andrew Penner, Jocelyn Thibault, Patrick Ehelechner

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Carter Officially Off the Pittsburgh Radar....

In an unexpected move, Anson Carter has come to terms with the Columbus Blue Jackets.....TSN is reporting that he has accepted a 1 year, $2.5 million deal. There has been speculation throughout the off season the the Penguins had some interest in Carter.

The Blue Jackets are trying to ensure their offense will have some punch, since there is still a good chance that their young Russian star, Nikolai Zherdev, will head back to Russia for the upcoming season....


Pens to Re-Retire Mario's Number, but......

Mario Lemieux has said that he does not want any kind ceremony.

The team will raise number 66 back into the rafters of Mellon Arena on October 5th prior to the opener against Philadelphia, but it will be with little fanfare. The team may spotlight the jersey and have a video montage, but Lemieux requested that it not be anything major. Lemieux, who has maintained a fairly low profile off of the ice over the years, made the request because he didn't want to take anything away from the young talented team that will be on the ice. He wanted the night to belong to Sidney, Evgeni, Marc-Andre and the boys. Another class act by one of Pittsburgh's most revered athletes.

Isles With Another Crazy Decision.....

The Islanders made another crazy decision today signing 25 year old goaltender, Rick Dipietro, to a 15 year, $67.5 million dollar contract. Actually it is probably a worse decision for Dipietro, who will make an average of $4.5 million dollars a year until he is 40. This is probably more than he is worth today, but far less than he could command in the future if he develops into one of the top goaltenders in the game, as the Islanders are hoping he will.

This really doesn't make sense, especially for a team who has been stuck with the 10 year albatross of a contract they gave to Alexei Yashin. It was overpaying then and it could be overpaying now. Dipietro, who posted modest modest totals in the league last season, has really not proven himself to be a top flight NHL goaltender as of yet. He has shown flashes and gone on some nice runs, but until he consistently shows that he can carry the Islanders, this could be a major league mistake....

Once Dipietro plays out this contract, which will run through 2021, he could move right into the GM spot that Garth Snow may be willing to retire from at that point.

Wang continues to lose his mind on the Island and these decisions are going to be fun to follow in the upcoming years....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rookie Camp in the Books....

The Penguins saw their rookie camp end today and are now looking forward to the start of training camp this Thursday. They released or reassigned 6 players who will not attend the main portion of is the story from


The Pittsburgh Penguins trimmed their camp roster by six players, it was announced Tuesday by General Manager Ray Shero.The following players were released or re-assigned:

Forwards: Moises Gutierrez (re-assigned to Everett (WHL)), Jeff Kyrzakos (released).

Defensemen - Ryan Martinelli (re-assigned to London (OHL)), Jean-Philippe Paquet (re-assigned to Shawinigan (QMJHL)).

Goaltenders: Jean-Christophe Blanchard (re-assigned to Victoriaville (QMJHL)), Gabriel Bouthillette (released).

The Penguins will open training camp on Thursday with 50 players (28 forwards, 17 defensemen and five goaltenders) with the first on-ice practices to take place on Friday.

Here is a link to the training camp roster:

The team seems to be working extra hard on conditioning, something head coach Michael Therrien stressed was lacking last season. Just judging by rookie camp, the team did a lot less scrimmaging and a lot more power skating and drills. Is this a sign of things to come in training camp? I will let you know this weekend.


We will have some camp updates, thoughts on this year's line combos, and could their be a surprise youngster who makes the final roster? There are more than a few candidates. The season preview will also be up soon.....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Roster and Schedule for Penguins Rookie Camp

The Penguins rookie camp will get under way tomorrow morning at 9:00am when the invited players will take part in medical testing at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine. There is an optional practice scheduled for the afternoon.

There will be two sessions over the weekend open to the public. This will be the first chance for many Penguins fans to see Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal in the flesh! The dates and times are as follows:

Saturday September 9, 2006 - 10:00am until 11:30am
Sunday September 10, 2006 - 10:00am until 11:30am

Both sessions will take place at Mellon Arena.

The list of invited players is as follows:

Evgeni Malkin
Jordan Staal
Tyler Kennedy
Jeff Kyrzakos
Jordan Morrison
Dan Carcillo
Steven Dixon
Joe Jenson
Mathieu Roy
Ryan Stone
Jonathan Filewich
Moises Gutierrez
Conner James
Nick Johnson
Tim Wallace

Paul Bissonnette
Daniel Fernholm
Ryan Lannon
Kristopher Letang
Ryan Martinelli
Jean-Phillippe Paquet
Michael Sersen
Noah Welch

Jean Christophe-Blanchard
Gabrielle Bouthillette
Patrick Ehelechner

* - all info from the Penguins Official Site

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Some Additional Malkin Coverage.....

Here are some additional links on the Malkin signing, including the official stories from the teams site, there are also links to a press conference feed and the official Pens Malkin preview video:

Malkin Officially a Penguin

The Pittsburgh Penguins held a press conference today to announce the signing of Evgeni Malkin. Malkin arrived in Pittsburgh last night and was greeted at Pittsburgh International Airport by media and fans. Mario Lemiuex, in his first public appearance in months, presented Malkin with his #71 Penguins jersey.
Malkin answered questions for about 15 minutes via his translator. He seemed a bit nervous, but answered everything that was thrown at him. He reiterated how badly he felt after he signed the one year deal with Metallurg and looked for his first opportunity to leave, which he did in Finland. He mentioned being nervous about meeting Mario, but considered it an honor. He got to meet Sidney Crosby for the first time last night and watched him skate this morning. He is looking forward to playing with Sid, and said that he is a down to earth guy and one of the most powerful players in the NHL.

Malkin's deal is pretty much a mirror image of the one signed by Alexander Ovechkin last year. He will receive $984,000 in base salary on a three year deal. The deal includes many incentive bonuses, which could push the value close to $3.5 million for his rookie season.

Malkin will live with teammate Sergei Gonchar for at least a few months to get acclimated to North America and to learn customs etc. Pat Brisson, Malkin's agent, said that he was spending a lot of time with his Russian to English dictionary and is trying his best to learn the language.

Malkin is expected to participate in the Penguins rookie camp which begins Thursday with physicals etc. All players will take the ice Friday.