Rookies from the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks will pit first-year players against each other this September in a rookie tournament.
The Pens kick the tournament off at 2 p.m. on Sept. 5 against Ottawa. The entire tournament will be played in London, Ontario, home of the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. Read the rest of this entry »
NHL.com has been previewing each NHL team/organization this summer leading up to the opening of training camps and the preseason.
Today was the Penguins turn, and NHL.com previewed everything from the projected line pairings to the top prospects within the organization. The league put some pretty good stuff together — specifically getting coach Dan Bylsma and general manager Ray Shero to talk about prospects in the system — and it’s never a bad time for some fresh Pittsburgh hockey content.
First off is a piece on the projected Penguins lineup, and how familiar it might look despite losing some faces from last season. The projected lines:
The projected defensive pairings:
Now, that third pairing is predicted by many to be non-existent at some point this season, if not before the season begins. Given the Penguins cap situation, Niskanen’s salary doesn’t appear to make much sense given the organization’s depth defensively.
Next up is a piece on the organization’s top prospects, which features a number of highly talented defensemen. Tops on the list? A trio comprised of Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot and Scott Harrington.
Matta is ranked No. 1 by the NHL.com writers, and Bylsma had this to say about the promising defenseman:
“Olli Maatta is a guy we think really highly of,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “He’s had a great amount of success playing junior hockey in London. He has to play in the National Hockey League to turn pro. He cannot go to Wilkes-Barre (American Hockey League). He’s a guy who is going to get an opportunity in [training] camp to really show what he can do. Whether that is in an exhibition game or a couple of games, he’s going to get that opportunity. We want to see him play against pro players and practice against pro players. Depending on which scout you talk to, he’s ready to play in the National Hockey League, so we’re going to see.”
Lastly, the league looks at a guy that is already starting to get a lot of positive press and buzz heading in to training camp: winger Beau Bennett.
NHL.com quotes Bylsma saying Bennett benefited from the time playing in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the lockout, and it helped him transition to the NHL after missing a decent amount of hockey in previous years.
“He hadn’t played a lot of hockey prior to turning pro,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “He didn’t play a lot his sophomore season, and I think he really benefitted from the lockout, going down to Wilkes-Barre, playing a lot of games and learning the pro game. He showed he can play in certain areas of the rink, like in the defensive end and in the corners.
“Then, when he did have a chance in the National Hockey League, he showed that it wasn’t just his skill and his hands and his hockey sense. He could be depended on to hold onto the puck, and he could be depended on to play defense for us. He did that.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins released their promotional schedule for the 2013-14 regular season – a yearly step that signifies hockey is upon us.
The team is highlighting a Team USA Dan Bylsma bobblehead as the top giveaway during the coming season. The freebies every so often are nice, but really a team as successful as the Penguins doesn’t need to hand out trinkets to bring people in the doors of CONSOL Energy Center. Read the rest of this entry »
The Wheeling Nailers and defenseman Paul Cianfrini agreed to terms on an ECHL contract Wednesday.
Cianfrini, 24, played in 19 games with the Nailers last season, totaling six assists and nine penalty minutes along with a minus-2 rating. He then went on to play in 36 games with the Trenton Titans, adding another five assists. Read the rest of this entry »
In less than seven minutes the Pittsburgh Penguins turned a tight game into a blowout Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.
In a span of 6:49 in the second period, Pascal Dupuis, James Neal, Matt Cooke and Sidney Crosby all scored to break open a 1-1 tie and give the Pens a 5-1 advantage heading into intermission. Pittsburgh went on to win, 5-2, snapping a 9-0-1 streak for the Caps at CONSOL Energy Center.
“That doesn’t happen every night,” Crosby said. “And especially to be at home, to be putting goals in like that and capitalizing, it’s a lot of fun. You could feel the energy in the building and guys were really working off that. Every line was hopping over there expecting to create a chance and make something happen, and it’s nice to see everyone get rewarded.”
Things didn’t start off in nearly as positive of fashion. Washington grabbed a 1-0 lead after the first period on a goal from Mike Ribeiro in front of the cage. Marc-Andre Fleury got knocked off his skates and lost his helmet, but the goal stood.
Pittsburgh managed just five shots on goal in the first period.
The second period was just about the polar opposite of the first, seeing the Pens heave 18 shots on goal and score five times.
Evgeni Malkin got things started on the power play at 6:59. Crosby fired a cross-ice pass to Malkin from just above the right faceoff dot, which he promptly wristed high over the glove of Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth to tie the game, 1-1.
“He makes a great shot there and we’re right back in the game,” Crosby said. “I feel like it gave our power play a boost, too. It looked like we were pretty confident from there on in on the power play. Nice to get an early one there and build off of it.”
At 12:49, Dupuis took a drop pass from Crosby and batted a rolling puck between Neuvirth’s legs for a 2-1 Penguins lead. Neuvirth was quickly pulled by Washington coach Adam Oates for Braden Holtby.
It didn’t change much, as Chris Kunitz fed Neal less than a minute later for a second power play goal.
The Pens went 3-for-4 on the power play Thursday night despite missing Kris Letang, who routinely mans the point. In their last three games they’re 6-for-10 with the man-advantage.
“Guys are going to be in different spots, obviously injuries happen,” Neal said. “We’re going to have some different looks. But we moved the puck well and shot it with every opportunity we got. Some good individual efforts from Sid and Geno there.”
As the Neal goal was being announced, Brandon Sutter sent a clean faceoff win right to Cooke at the top of the circle, who wristed it far side for a 4-1 lead. And with 22 seconds until the second intermission, Crosby batted a rebound out of the air and in for a 5-1 lead.
Both Crosby and Malkin finished with a goal and two assists a piece.
“Tonight we just worked pretty hard,” Crosby said of their success. “We executed well. Next game we could go out and do the same things and maybe not score as many goals or it may not go in at all. But you’ve got to give yourself the best chance to score, and I thought our work ethic and our execution did that for us.”
Alex Ovechkin scored a power play goal at 8:34 of the third period. Fleury stopped 23 of 25 shots on the night.
Chris | Penguins Report
(Photo by Getty Images)
Wheeling overcame a 1-0 deficit after two periods to take a 2-1 lead in the third only to fall short, 3-2, in a shootout against Gwinnett at WesBaco Arena Thursday night.
Peter Lenes tied the game, 1-1, at 3:37 of the third period, lifting a wrister past Gladiators goaltender Mike Lee. Jordy Trottier scored his first of the year just 61 seconds later for a 2-1 Wheeling lead.
That lead lasted less than three minutes, however, as Gwinnett came right back. Justin Bowers fired a shot past Nailers goaltender Peter Delmas to tie the score and eventually send the game to overtime.
After a scoreless overtime period, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Alex Belzile, and Joey Hadded scored for Gwinnett to win the game. Zabotel, a former Nailer, scored the first goal of the game for the Gladiators at 3:03 of the first period.
Delmas stopped 24 of 26 shots for Wheeling, which now has a 21-16-3-5 (50 points) overall record. The Nailers are back in action Saturday night at Norfolk.
Chris | Penguins Report
(Photo by wheelingnailers.com)
The Pittsburgh Penguins made a major roster move Wednesday night, trading defenseman Ben Lovejoy to the Anaheim Ducks.
In return, the Penguins received a fifth-round draft pick in 2014.
In 98 career NHL games in Pittsburgh, Lovejoy tallied four goals and 21 assists for 25 points. He played in nine playoff games, adding two more assists in the post-season.
Because of the move, Pittsburgh has recalled defenseman Dylan Reese from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He has three goals and 12 assists to lead all defenseman with 15 points for the Baby Pens.
Reese is an Upper St. Clair native. He’ll be just the fourth local player ever to play with the Penguins.
Reese has three goals and 14 assists for a career total of 17 NHL points.
Chris | Penguins Report
(Photo by Getty Images)