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SteelCityMan786
01-16-2007, 09:30 PM
Good Game Tonight. Well Played by the Penguins all around.

83-Steelers-43
01-17-2007, 09:27 AM
Definately not one of our better games. Penalties and our 5 on 3 PP chances were ugly. But a win is a win. It was nice to see Ouellet finally score on that wide open net. Malone showed up even though he did not score a goal, but that's always the case when he has a trade rumor hanging over his head. Talbot never stopped skating tonight. Very impressed. Christensen played great with his 2 goals.

The only player who I felt struggled last night was Gonchar. The guy needs to shoot the puck more. He's getting fed these opportunities and he's trying to make the perfect play. Shoot the puck. The guy also struggles keeping the puck in the zone when it's passed back to him at the point.

Blake should be suspended for that spear on Sid. Chicken shit play on Blake's part.

Hats off to Armstrong, Thorburn and Talbot. When I got home from the game I heard all three of them were handing out pizzas to the student rush crowd. Very classy. You don't see those type of actions occur in any other sport.

SteelCityMan786
01-18-2007, 06:40 PM
2-0 Early. Malkin just scored.

83-Steelers-43
01-18-2007, 07:19 PM
3-2 Bruins in the mid-2nd.

I love how these teams can interfere all they want. I have no problem with the new rules and the crackdown, but call it both ways. The last three games that has not been the case.

IMO, we are getting screwed over.

83-Steelers-43
01-18-2007, 07:33 PM
Malkin is trying to win this game by himself. Scored his second goal to tie it up and it was one helluva goal.

83-Steelers-43
01-18-2007, 07:39 PM
Staal with the PP goal. 4-3 Pens. Woohooo!!!

Young kids are tearing it up.

SteelCityMan786
01-18-2007, 07:57 PM
The Penguins STRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIKE BACK!

X-Terminator
01-18-2007, 11:12 PM
Another come from ahead loss in another shootout. Dammit, I'm PISSED! Why can't they ever win a freaking shootout? I'm sick of them losing games they should freaking win! I'm at the point now where I'm going to start turning the game off or leaving the arena if it goes to a shootout, because you know they're going to lose it.

HometownGal
01-19-2007, 07:21 AM
I'm at the point now where I'm going to start turning the game off or leaving the arena if it goes to a shootout, because you know they're going to lose it.

When you start doing that, you'll miss them winning one and besides, I'm staying in my seat, cheerin' them on until the end, so I'll toss you the keys and you can go sit in the cold car. :flap: :wink02: Yes - it is frustrating not being able to win via shootout, but the way I look at it- this is a very young team with a plethora of talent but with a lot of growing yet to do. This is only Fleury's second season as a starter, but he does need to work a bit on his one-on-one skills - he's just not good right now on those breakaways. Keep the faith - not many people expected them to get into the playoffs this season - remember the slogan........"The Evolution".

83-Steelers-43
01-19-2007, 07:57 AM
The Penguins STRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIKE BACK!

Tough loss but at his point in the season I'll take all the points we can get. Let's try and grab two from Toronto before the All-Star break. :cheers:

Blake get's a $1,000 fine for spearing Crosby? I call B.S. if that's permitted.

83-Steelers-43
01-19-2007, 08:14 AM
No surprise, these things take time. Hopefully the heart attack ratio doesn't go up in Pittsburgh after reading this article............

No deal made in Pens arena face-off
By Andrew Conte and Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, January 19, 2007


Penguins owners and public officials failed Thursday to reach agreement on a new arena and keep the hockey team in Pittsburgh.

Team co-owner Ronald Burkle met for a second time this month with Gov. Ed Rendell, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. They gathered at 9:15 p.m. inside the State Office Building, Downtown. Co-owner Mario Lemieux wasn't seen going into the building.

Penguins officials had no comment as they left the building after the meeting broke up about 90 minutes later. Ravenstahl and Onorato left shortly after midnight without making a comment.

"The negotiations are going to continue, and we hope to be able to work out a deal at some point in the near future," said Chuck Ardo, a Rendell spokesman.

Ardo said no further meetings are planned, but that local officials hope to have a new deal worked out as soon as possible.

Unlike the previous meeting, last night's session included Detroit businessman Don Barden, who owns the Majestic Star Casino. He has agreed to pay $7.5 million a year toward an arena from the profits from his planned North Shore slots casino.

Barden said before the meeting that he would not increase his offer and could not start making payments before the casino opens. The casino is expected to open in March 2008.

"I can't make any payments until I start making some money," Barden said.

Heading into the meeting, public officials said they remained optimistic.

"It might take a couple of more days to finalize this deal," Onorato said. "We're dealing with a lot of issues. There is a lease, there is financing, but nothing here is unusual. I'm still optimistic."

Earlier in the day, Penguins officials were in touch with AEG, operator of the new Sprint Center arena in Kansas City. A source in Kansas City said he did not expect the Penguins to reach a deal for a new arena in Pittsburgh last night.

Burkle and Lemieux traveled to Kansas City earlier this month to look at relocating the team there.

The full details of the latest proposal from local leaders were not disclosed, but it's believed they are more beneficial to the Penguins than Rendell's original offer, called Plan B. The proposed Uptown arena is expected to cost at least $290 million and would be located between Centre and Fifth avenues.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_489303.html

83-Steelers-43
01-19-2007, 09:13 AM
Nice to see somebody is asking a question that i've been asking myself for the last three plus weeks.......

Penguins Q&A with Dave Molinari
Friday, January 19, 2007

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Q: What's with Michel Ouellet? Why does Michel Therrien continue to place him on the top two lines and put him out on the power play? Why doesn't he give other guys like Erik Christensen a shot on the top couple of lines? - Seth Wano, Pittsburgh

MOLINARI: Ouellet can only hope that the agent who will negotiate his next contract has as much faith in him as Therrien does. Or that his blood relatives believe in him the way Therrien does, for that matter.

The strong ties between Ouellet and his coach go back to their days together with the Penguins' farm team in Wilkes-Barre, and no adversity Ouellet has experienced -- including the goal-scoring drought that reached 12 games before Ouellet got one during the Penguins' 5-2 victory against the New York Islanders Tursday -- has been enough to shake them. And there's nothing to suggest that's going to change, especially since Ouellet has started to pick up some points in recent games.

Ouellet has a history as a goal-scorer -- one who is particularly dangerous around the net -- and that is why Therrien continues to deploy him as a top-six forward and on the No. 2 power play. Going into last night's game at Boston, however, Ouellet's offensive credentials really haven't been established at this level. He had 24 goals in 86 NHL games, including eight in 36 games this season.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07019/754989-125.stm

83-Steelers-43
01-19-2007, 11:38 AM
Rendell says Penguins given best offer of any NHL team
Friday, January 19, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Gov. Ed Rendell said today that public officials have offered the Penguins the best deal any National Hockey League team has received to build an arena in recent years.

The governor, who participated in a meeting between public officials and team executives late last night, elaborated on the discussions to keep the team in Pittsburgh as he emerged from the Sheraton Hotel in Station Square this morning.

He said that, under terms discussed last night, the Penguins would be expected to contribute a fraction of what the Pirates, Steelers and three Philadelphia teams -- the Eagles, Flyers and Phillies -- put into their new facilities in recent years.

He said the Pirates contributed 18 percent of the construction costs for PNC Park. The Penguins' expected contribution would be significantly below that, he said, but he wouldn't give a dollar figure.

"I believe the offer we put before the Penguins is the best of any offer that's been made to any NHL team for a new stadium in recent times and it's also by far the best of any offer made to any Pennsylvania professional sports team for a new stadium."

Officials on both sides of last night's meeting generally were closed-mouthed after the session, a contrast to the optimism expressed after the first round of meetings.

Mr. Rendell said, "We made progress on some things and went back on others and that's very common in negotiations." Asked what they "went back on," he said, "some of the requests for relief from the Penguins."

"I hoped we would have made more" progress, the governor said. "I'm still hopeful, but there's a lot of posturing that goes on. That's true in these types of negotiations, that's true in business negotiations, it's true in labor negotiations."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07019/755192-100.stm

83-Steelers-43
01-20-2007, 07:12 AM
Penguins souring on Plan B
Governor calls deal hard to beat, but team balks at splitting development rights, parking
Saturday, January 20, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Gov. Ed Rendell yesterday said the arena deal being offered the Penguins is better than others struck recently in the National Hockey League, but the team has balked at a proposal to share development rights and parking revenues with Pittsburgh casino backer Don Barden.

Another issue that has come up in the talks is $10 million the Penguins may owe Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., which lost to Mr. Barden in the bidding for the city's casino license.

According to Mr. Rendell, the Penguins agreed to pay that amount if Isle of Capri failed to win the casino license but the team still secured a new arena in Pittsburgh.

During an interview yesterday, Mr. Rendell, coming off a late-night round of negotiations with the team Thursday, said the Penguins' share of the arena financing would be a "fraction" of what Pennsylvania's other professional sports franchises -- the Steelers, Pirates, Flyers, Eagles, and Phillies -- contributed toward their new homes.

"I believe the offer we put before the Penguins is the best of any offer that's been made to any NHL team for a new [arena] in recent times and it's also by far the best of any offer made to any Pennsylvania professional sports team for a new stadium," he said.

Mr. Rendell added that the Penguins' share under a sweetened Plan B funding formula would be "significantly below" the 18 percent the Pirates paid toward the construction of the $260 million PNC Park.

The Steelers paid about 44 percent of the $281 million cost of Heinz Field. Under Plan B, the Penguins initially would have paid about 20.7 percent toward a $290 million arena.

An October Post-Gazette survey found that since 2000, NHL teams have contributed anywhere from nothing to 30 percent of the cost of building new arenas.

While the governor touted the proposed Plan B deal as hard to beat, the Penguins apparently felt otherwise during a 90-minute meeting Thursday that broke off without an agreement.

According to sources, team representatives, including co-owner Ron Burkle, were stunned when state and local officials proposed that the Penguins share development rights and parking revenues with Mr. Barden, who was a surprise visitor to the negotiations.

The team saw the proposal as a worse deal than it would get under an extension available next year at Mellon Arena, one that would allow rent-free use of the building and give the franchise control over all building revenues, including parking.

In addition to sharing parking revenues and development rights, the state, city and county also want the team to pay rent at the new arena, in excess of the roughly $2 million a year it pays SMG at Mellon Arena, sources said.

Team officials saw the latest proposal as a setback after a "very positive" Jan. 4 meeting, they said. They were surprised to see Mr. Barden, who was invited by Mr. Rendell, and the proposals for sharing development rights and parking revenues. They also felt the overall plan represented a retreat from the previous session.

Mr. Barden has committed to providing $7.5 million a year for 30 years toward a new arena under the Rendell-crafted Plan B, which also calls for contributions from the Penguins and a slots-financed state economic development fund.

The casino operator said Thursday night he joined the talks to "observe and see if I can be helpful. I want to do everything I can to see that the Penguins stay in Pittsburgh."

The Penguins declined comment on all aspects of the talks yesterday, saying in a statement that "we'll continue to explore all of our options."

One of those options is Kansas City, where the $276 million Sprint Center will open this fall. The Penguins are being offered a deal that includes free rent and a share of building revenues. It's likely that the team will explore that option more seriously in the wake of Thursday's meeting. The Penguins' Mellon Arena lease expires at the end of June.

Mr. Rendell said the proposal to share development rights is a result of a city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority resolution passed in 2005 offering such rights to any casino operator or private investor who commits to building a new arena.

The rights would extend to authority-owned property that now includes Mellon Arena, which would be demolished if a new facility is built across the street. Since neither Mr. Barden nor the Penguins would fully fund a new arena, the authority is talking to them jointly, Mr. Rendell said.

"The way the revenue streams are, neither one is solely responsible [for funding an arena], so together they would probably qualify under the [authority] recommendations," he said.

Asked about the sharing of parking revenues, Mr. Rendell replied, "Parking is on the table for discussion."

Despite the objections by the Penguins, Mr. Rendell believes Plan B is still better than what Kansas City is offering because the team would have to share building revenues there. In Pittsburgh, they would get virtually all such revenues from hockey and non-hockey events, excluding the parking.

The governor said the $10 million payment to Isle of Capri has come up in the talks as a cost the Penguins would have to bear if they stayed in Pittsburgh as opposed to moving to Kansas City.

Isle of Capri spokeswoman Jill Haynes said the company "does not comment on alleged content of confidential business agreements." The team also said it would not comment "on private business deals."

In the aftermath of Thursday's session, it is clear that whatever optimism preceded it now has dissipated. The governor conceded the results of the meeting were mixed.

"We made progress on some things and went back on others and that's very common in negotiations," he said.

Asked where they had fallen back, he replied, "some of the requests for relief from the Penguins."

While the governor had hoped for more progress, he said he still thought an agreement was possible.

"I'm still hopeful but there's a lot of posturing that goes on. That's true in these types of negotiations. That's true in business negotiations. It's true in labor negotiations."

No new talks have been scheduled, but Mr. Rendell said he hoped for another meeting soon.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07020/755371-61.stm

SteelCityMan786
01-20-2007, 08:58 AM
Let's hope we have another meeting soon.

HometownGal
01-20-2007, 10:38 PM
Great game against the Leafs tonight at Mellon Arena! Pens win 8-2. :thumbsup: Recchi gets the hat trick, Ruutu scores on a penalty shot and Malkin had 5 assists - excellent overall team arse-kickin! :banana:

4 fights on the ice and another 4 fights in the stands - quite the busy evening. There must have been 2,000 - 3,000 Leafs fans at the game and several drunken Leafs fans had to be dragged out by the Pittsburgh Police. :toofunny: Gill is a real POS - took a shot at one of the Pens on the bench but he got his payback as soon as Thornburn got out of the sin bin - bwa ha ha! Several Pens and Leafs players tossed, as well. Therrien exercised caution in the last 4-1/2 minutes in the game by sitting Crosby and Recchi and then sitting Malkin with 3 minutes or so left in the game - wise decision. I haven't seen a Pens game like that for several years, but it was well worth every second! :smile:

SteelCityMan786
01-20-2007, 10:43 PM
Way to make maple syrup out of Toronto.

X-Terminator
01-20-2007, 11:02 PM
Great game against the Leafs tonight at Mellon Arena! Pens win 8-2. :thumbsup: Recchi gets the hat trick, Ruutu scores on a penalty shot and Malkin had 5 assists - excellent overall team arse-kickin! :banana:

4 fights on the ice and another 4 fights in the stands - quite the busy evening. There must have been 2,000 - 3,000 Leafs fans at the game and several drunken Leafs fans had to be dragged out by the Pittsburgh Police. :toofunny: Gill is a real POS - took a shot at one of the Pens on the bench but he got his payback as soon as Thornburn got out of the sin bin - bwa ha ha! Several Pens and Leafs players tossed, as well. Therrien exercised caution in the last 4-1/2 minutes in the game by sitting Crosby and Recchi and then sitting Malkin with 3 minutes or so left in the game - wise decision. I haven't seen a Pens game like that for several years, but it was well worth every second! :smile:

That definitely was a great game to see - action everywhere you look! It can be argued that the fights in the stands were better than the fights on the ice :wink02: I haven't been to a more entertaining game in the past 5 years! It was definitely smart of Therrien to get the stars off the ice late in the 3rd, because with the way the Leafs were playing and especially after McCabe went after Malkin before Orpik stepped to him, you know they were going to take more runs at them. And I think it can be argued now that Ruutu should be on the shootout - that move he made was a goal-scorers move. He was known as a good shootout performer, so why not use him? Overall, I was pleased with the effort tonight and it will be a game I'll be talking about for quite some time! :cheers:

X-Terminator
01-20-2007, 11:27 PM
Here's another story on Thursday's meeting from the Trib:

Rendell: Arena offer the best deal in or out of town

By Andrew Conte and Rob Rossi
For the Tribune-Review
Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gov. Ed Rendell dropped the gloves Friday in announcing that the Penguins won't be able to find a better arena deal than the one he and local leaders are offering to keep the team in Pittsburgh.

"The offer we have put on the table, I can tell you two things about it," Rendell said. "One, it's better than any city or state has offered to an existing NHL team for a new stadium in the last several years; and it is also significantly better from the team's perspective (than the deals offered to other Pennsylvania sports teams)."

Penguins co-owner Ronald Burkle met late Thursday with Rendell, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Unlike a previous meeting when both sides emerged feeling optimistic, participants left this time without saying anything.

No one discussed specifics about the negotiations, but Rendell has said that he would sweeten his original Plan B offer, which included $14.5 million a year for 30 years in gambling money.


Under the original proposal, the Penguins would have to pay $8.5 million up front and $2.9 million a year, while forgoing $1.16 million a year in naming rights. The team would get most of the money from concessions, parking, advertising and non-hockey events at the arena.

With minor changes, that proposal would be better than the Devils' agreement with Newark, N.J., for its new arena, the Pirates' agreement for PNC Park or the Steelers' deal for Heinz Field.

The Pirates paid about $50 million for their ballpark, while the Steelers paid more than $100 million for their stadium. Neither of those facilities hosts as many non-sporting events as an arena.

Thursday's meeting, which did not include Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux, broke down over specifics, an insider said. Team owners want to reduce their contributions.

They also want to offset the gains they would lose by not moving immediately to Kansas City's new Sprint Center in the fall. Staying in Pittsburgh, the team would become the main lease holder at Mellon Arena -- rather than Philadelphia-based operating company SMG -- which could be worth an extra $2 million a year.

Rendell said the two sides agreed to share information and to meet again.

"It was like all negotiations," Rendell said. "There's a give and take. There's movement. A step back, a step forward."

Don Barden, the owner of Majestic Star Casino, said he attended the arena meeting to "reaffirm" his offer of $7.5 million a year for 30 years from the profits at his planned North Shore slot machine casino. The state would pay $7 million a year from an economic development fund backed with gambling money.

Barden said he has done everything asked of him to help keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Rather than waiting for the arena to open in 2009, he agreed to move up his payments so they start as soon as the casino opens, scheduled for March 2008.

"They're happy with me," Barden said. "They love me."

While Penguins officials are considering moving the team to Kansas City, they have not applied to the NHL for relocation, said deputy commissioner Bill Daly. If they do, it will be up to the league to decide whether to let the Penguins go, he said.

Asked if Penguins ownership could relocate the club without league approval, Daly said, "Not even close." League officials have said they want to keep the team in Pittsburgh with a new arena.

"The league controls and has ultimate say on the location of its franchises," Daly said. "We have detailed franchise relocation procedures which, if applied appropriately, cause no competitive concerns and would easily withstand legal challenge."

Professional sports leagues have tried and failed to prevent owners from moving teams in the past. Most notably, the National Football League lost a lawsuit attempting to block the Raiders' move from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982.

The Penguins' lease at Mellon Arena expires in June, making the franchise a free agent. But Daly said the lease situation "has no impact on league analysis" over whether the team could be relocated.

Now this story is decidedly more optimistic than the P-G story, so which one do you believe? At this point, I have no idea but will just keep my fingers crossed for a deal.

83-Steelers-43
01-21-2007, 04:49 AM
That was definately one of the more exciting games I've seen in person in a long time at Mellon. I came to the conclusion around the mid-third period that Maple Leaf fans are the biggest jagoffs in the NHL. I already knew the media up there was pretty shady, but the fans topped them last night. That's a helluva way to act when representing your team on the road. Pathetic really.

Anyways, nice way to end the "first half" of the season. Very content with the way this team has played so far this season. No complaints here. Here's to Eaton coming back and this team getting stronger in the second half.....:cheers:

83-Steelers-43
01-21-2007, 04:57 AM
Interesting read on the Civic/Mellon Arena: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07021/755592-61.stm

http://www.post-gazette.com/images4/arena7_5FY01K5X_450.jpg
http://www.post-gazette.com/images4/arena8_7m600kgn_450.jpg

Jeremy
01-21-2007, 09:13 AM
I still believe that the Penguins will be in Pittsburgh. No way does the NHL want to loose one of their strongest markets and pick up a weak one like KC or Houston.

Once Bettman tells Mario that he won't let him move the team to KC, Mario will make sure this thing gets done.

Oh, and I never believe anything written in the P-G. I switched to the Trib when I got out here to Tucson and I haven't bothered to look at the P-G in three years.

skidboot
01-21-2007, 11:12 AM
good game last night.....attaway to hammer those Leafies.

83-Steelers-43
01-23-2007, 09:01 AM
Despite Lemieux reaction, officials hopeful on arena
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Despite negative comments yesterday by Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato said today they are still optimistic they can negotiate a deal to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh in a new arena.

Their comments, made after a news conference on cooperative purchasing of commodities, came a day after Mr. Lemieux said he was "very disappointed" with the deal being offered, and reiterated his willingness to "explore other options," including relocation of the team.

"We understand the frustration," said Mr. Ravenstahl. "It's been seven years" since Mr. Lemieux first approached public officials for help with financing a new arena.

"We're negotiating, we're optimistic, we continue to believe we can get a deal done," said Mr. Onorato.

The Penguins are upset over a proposal that would require them to share development rights near Mellon Arena and parking revenues with Pittsburgh casino developer Don Barden.

Mr. Ravenstahl and Mr. Onorato refused to discuss specifics, but the mayor referred to Gov. Ed Rendell's statements last week that "there are always steps forward and steps back" in negotiations.

The two officials would not say when further meetings would occur.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07023/756097-100.stm

X-Terminator
01-23-2007, 10:55 AM
*sighs* You know, I'm at the point now where whatever happens, happens. I've gotten so worn out and tired of all of the drama surrounding these negotiations. Up one day, down the next...up again, down again. However, in this case I think Mario is being a bit unreasonable. Getting upset because he isn't being given total control over land he doesn't even own? Ridiculous, IMO.

HometownGal
01-23-2007, 11:41 AM
*sighs* You know, I'm at the point now where whatever happens, happens. I've gotten so worn out and tired of all of the drama surrounding these negotiations. Up one day, down the next...up again, down again. However, in this case I think Mario is being a bit unreasonable. Getting upset because he isn't being given total control over land he doesn't even own? Ridiculous, IMO.

I have to agree with you, XT. While I realize the city and state officials have basically jerked Mario around for a number of years, he seems to want this development and everything associated with it handed to him on a silver platter. He needs to play fair and make concessions, too.

I'm still keeping the faith that a deal will get done and everyone will be happy.

83-Steelers-43
01-23-2007, 04:03 PM
Gov. Rendell says Pens are visiting Houston

By Andrew Conte and Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Gov. Ed Rendell today confirmed he has heard the Penguins are going to Houston to look at the Toyota Center as a possible new home.

"They kept telling us the Kansas City deal was so great," Rendell said today during a visit to Pittsburgh. "If the Kansas City deal was so great, why are they going to Houston?"

Team officials have not confirmed a visit to Houston, but a representative of the city's sports authority said officials were talking with team owners about a possible visit.

The Penguins have contacted the office of Houston Mayor Bill White, said William ?Billy? Burge, chair of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority. In an interview with Houston radio station KTRH-AM (740 & 790), Burge confirmed that the Penguins intend to visit Houston soon.

?It?s not a rumor. It?s truly a story,? Burge said. ?Right now, the contact has been through the mayor?s office and we?re letting that work itself through. It?s in the mayor?s corner. They have contacted him.?

Calls to Houston Mayor White were not immediately returned.

Rendell said he he didn't understand how Pens co-owner Mario Lemieux could have been offended by last week's meeting with public officials in Pittsburgh, where new terms were laid out for an Uptown arena deal.

"I don't know how he could be offended," Rendell said. "He wasn't even there."

The meeting included local officials and Don Barden, whose Majestic Star Casino is planned for the North Shore. Barden's group has pledged money toward building an arena, but wants to share revenues from development of the Mellon Arena site and parking.

Rendell also said if the Pens ultimately threaten to leave, he plans to approach the National Hockey League's Board of Governors to plead the city's case and prevent the team from leaving.

"We do not want to have to go to the NHL Board of Governors, but we would have no alternative, given the deal, if they turned it down," Rendell said.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking from Dallas, which will host the league?s All-Star Game on Wednesday, said the Board of Governors might not support a decision by Lemieux to relocate the Penguins.

?We love Mario, but we?re going to have to evaluate any potential transaction on its merit when it comes,? Bettman said.

Bettman said the league would not by shy about involving itself in arena talks between the Penguins and local officials.

?At the right time, if we thought it made sense to get involved, we would,? Bettman said. ?Right now, I think it?s most important that this is being done by ownership of the club.?

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_489915.html

83-Steelers-43
01-23-2007, 04:43 PM
Rendell: Appeal to NHL possible if Penguins try to leave
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

By Mark Belko and Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The deal offered by local officials to the Penguins for a new arena is so good that, if the team tries to leave town, Gov. Ed Rendell would take his case directly to the National Hockey League, Mr. Rendell said today.

The governor, speaking at another event in Downtown Pittsburgh this morning, was asked his reaction to comments yesterday by team owner Mario Lemieux. Mr. Lemieux said he was "very disappointed" with the deal being offered and reiterated his willingness to "explore other options," including relocation of the team.

But Mr. Rendell revealed more about the offer by the state, city and county, including some sweeteners, and repeated his statement of last week that it is the best deal any sports team in the state has received in recent years to build a new facility.

"We do not want to have to go to the NHL Board of Governors. We want to conclude this deal," Mr. Rendell said. "But we will have no alternative," given the proposal, if the Penguins reject it.

Mr. Rendell said the state is offering some funds for infrastructure and would even be willing to direct some tourism funds for advertising at a new arena.

But one sticking point is that the team wants to be compensated for a $10 million payment it owes Isle of Capri, which had a development deal with the team to build an arena if if won a license to build a casino in the city. Isle of Capri lost, triggering the $10 million payment. Mr. Rendell said public officials are not inclined to cover that debt.

Isle of Capri's failure to get the license led to the current round of talks.

Mr. Rendell said he has also heard that Penguins officials plan to visit Houston to check out facilities there.

Earlier today, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato said they are still optimistic they can negotiate a deal.

"We understand the frustration," said Mr. Ravenstahl. "It's been seven years" since Mr. Lemieux first approached public officials for help with financing a new arena.

"We're negotiating, we're optimistic, we continue to believe we can get a deal done," said Mr. Onorato.

The Penguins are upset over a proposal that would require them to share development rights near Mellon Arena and parking revenues with Pittsburgh casino developer Don Barden.

Mr. Ravenstahl and Mr. Onorato refused to discuss specifics, but the mayor referred to Mr. Rendell's statements last week that "there are always steps forward and steps back" in negotiations.

The two officials would not say when further meetings would occur.

SteelCityMan786
01-23-2007, 05:21 PM
I can't blame him. he's making all of the efforts to keep them team.

83-Steelers-43
01-23-2007, 05:26 PM
For the Penguins to ask the goverment to pay the 10 million for the IOC is just plain B.S. in my book.

Jeremy
01-23-2007, 10:12 PM
Mario is on the verge of getting a reality check from Bettman and the NHL. There's no way they screw up the thing they have in Pittsburgh right now especially for a shitty market like Houston or KC.

X-Terminator
01-23-2007, 11:37 PM
I have to agree with you, XT. While I realize the city and state officials have basically jerked Mario around for a number of years, he seems to want this development and everything associated with it handed to him on a silver platter. He needs to play fair and make concessions, too.

I'm still keeping the faith that a deal will get done and everyone will be happy.

Well, Mario has to understand and realize that that isn't going to happen, and that he is going to bargain on good faith as well as concede on some issues. It is ridiculous that he wants total control over land that isn't his, and it's even more ridiculous to expect the government to pay the debt that HE incurred by hitching his horse to IOC. He kept Jim Balsillie's $10 million deposit on the purchase of the team - he should use that to pay the $10 million he owes to IOC. Now we don't know what the full terms of the deal is, but obviously Rendell and Co. think it's very good if they are standing behind it and plan to fight a possible move by the team tooth and nail. It's starting to look to me like Mario is doing exactly what I and so many others accused Balsillie of wanting to do - undermine any deal so that he will have an excuse to move the team out of town - something I thought I'd never say about him. He's going to use up all of the good will he has gotten from the fans and media ever since IOC lost the slots bid if he continues with this attitude. I am hoping that a deal gets done in the next few weeks without anyone else getting involved, but if it comes to having to go before the NHL Board of Governors, I just hope that the league and Bettman stick by their desire to keep the team here, because I believe the absolute last thing they want to do is lose the proven, viable market they have here.

LarryNJ
01-24-2007, 05:29 AM
I haven't followed this as closely as those of you living in western pa. but my thoughts are. Both sides want to have the public opinion on their side. Mario & his group had the IOC deal which (I'm assuming) close to 100% of the public backed the idea. The arena would be paid for and did it really matter to you who got the slot license? So everyone was for IOC.

Everyone blamed the state (Rendell) for awarding the slots to someone else. Now they need to swing public opinion back to their side. They are politicians and they're good at it. The Pens need to use every card they have, moving the team, to get the most they can. You can bet your life that the Pens know where Bettman and the league stand and what control they have over any possible move of the team.

I personally think that a deal will be made. Just like when he's running for office, don't believe much that comes out of Rendell's mouth.

Jeremy
01-24-2007, 08:16 AM
Mario is well on his way to alienating most of the fanbase with his worthless posturing. He's also not winning any supporters with his trips to non-hockey markets like KC and Houston. He really needs to pull his head out of his butt and realize that there's no way on God's green Earth that the NHL lets the Penguins abandon one of the strongest hockey markets in the US without a significant fight.

83-Steelers-43
01-24-2007, 08:44 AM
Mario is on the verge of getting a reality check from Bettman and the NHL. There's no way they screw up the thing they have in Pittsburgh right now especially for a shitty market like Houston or KC.

I agree 100%.

Now, I know a good number in this city want to blame the "big, bad politicians", but I think Lemieux is starting to get a little carried away.

First off, I think it's crazy that he want's the goverment to pay the 10 million that he retained after hopping on the IOC plan. Who's fault was that? The "big, bad goverments" huh Mario? Use Balsillie's 10 million. Poof!

Going by all reports (not just from Rendell and Onorato), the deal put forward by politicians is very solid. The Penguins would be paying less than the Pirates who paid 18%. Yeah, the IOC did not fall through. Yeah, they would have had a free arena in a market where I believe the long-term value would not near what it would be in Pittsburgh (reason NHL doesn't want this team to move). But for those who want to live in the past and harp on it, be my guest. At this point the politicians put a great offer on the table (best in PA pro-sports) and the Penguins feel disrespected?

If you don't like the goverments past actions, more power to you. By no means am I stating they haven't screwed the Pens over (even though I think 9/11 had an impact on a new arena) in the past. The Penguins have asked and the morons like Rendell and Onorato looked the other way or laughed in his face. But the one thing I personally can't deny is that the politicians in this city have put a great offer on the table. While I know some will disagree (Lemieux is GOD, he can do no wrong), I think Lemieux is going to learn a very strong lesson when he brings his "deal" to the NHL board table. If the Penguins have a "viable plan" in this city (which they do from all reports), Lemieux is going to have a very difficult time moving this team to a Kansas City market where hockey has already failed and more importantly moving this team from a market which is excellent.

For the record, the Houston move is comical. Dallas already has a team. Good luck getting that to work.

83-Steelers-43
01-24-2007, 12:14 PM
Rendell optimistic after talking to Penguins owner
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Even as state and local politicians and the Penguins haggle over an arena deal, Gov. Ed Rendell disclosed today that he talked to team co-owner Ron Burkle last night and expressed confidence that an agreement can be reached to keep the franchise in Pittsburgh.

A day after threatening to take his case directly to the National Hockey League if the Penguins try to leave town, Mr. Rendell said this morning that he still believes an agreement is within reach. He said Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl also have talked to Mr. Burkle over the last few days.

"We're all optimistic that we can reach an agreement," he said after an appearance at an Oakland hospital.

"We want to reach an agreement. We think we're getting closer. We're hopeful."

Mr. Rendell said he and Mr. Burkle talked about "some of the issues that need to be narrowed a little bit and we both agreed to work on them." He said he expects to talk to him early next week about the Penguins situation. He said no formal negotiating sessions have been scheduled between the two sides.

Of the Plan B formula for funding a new arena, the governor said state and local officials "can still tweak this a little bit" but added that the deal, as now constituted, is better than any other professional sports team in Pennsylvania has received.

Despite the heated rhetoric over the negotiations the past few days, Mr. Rendell said his conversation with Mr. Burkle "was friendly" and that they "discussed everything."

"Look, Mr. Burkle is a great businessman. You don't accumulate the type of resources that he's accumulated without being a smart businessman. He's trying to get every advantage . . . We want to make sure the resources we devote to this are appropriate, not too much, not too little," he said.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07024/756398-100.stm

LarryNJ
01-24-2007, 10:51 PM
Did you hear the interview of Bettman in between the 2nd & 3rd periods tonight? To me he didn't sound real confident that the Pens would stay in Pgh. Than again he could of been using that as an excuse for the scheduling which many people aren't happy with. He said they didn't want to change it till they know what the Pens are doing.

Mario may be alienanting some fans now, but when they finally put a deal together it will all be forgotten.

83-Steelers-43
01-26-2007, 05:12 AM
Finally SCM. He is back. Now let's finish strong. Let's Go Pens!!!

Penguins Notebook: Eaton ready to return tonight
Friday, January 26, 2007

By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coach Michel Therrien won't be counting on Mark Eaton to give him 25 or 26 top-quality minutes when the Penguins visit Dallas tonight in their first game after the All-Star Game break.

He isn't putting him back on the No. 1 defense pairing with Sergei Gonchar -- not immediately, anyway -- and apparently will do all he can to ease Eaton back into his old role on the Penguins' blue line.

But that doesn't mean Therrien isn't delighted to get Eaton, out since Nov. 4 with a dislocated wrist, back in uniform for the Penguins' 8:38 p.m. visit to the American Airlines Center.

Understandably so, considering that the Penguins were 7-3 in the 10 full games in which Eaton played before being hurt, and that his shot-blocking and overall work in his own zone were keys to early season improvements in the Penguins' penalty-killing and team defense.

"It's a big plus for us to have Mark Eaton back," Therrien said after practice yesterday at Southpointe. "It's like having a new player."

Although Eaton seemed to bring out the best in Gonchar when they played together during training camp and the first month of the season, Therrien said that, "we want to be cautious" with Eaton and that, "our plan is to make that transition [to a reunion of the Gonchar-Eaton pairing] really slowly."

Eaton, who was hurt when San Jose's Jonathan Cheechoo shoved him from behind, sending him hurtling into the boards, said he won't second-guess any role he is given.

"I've never had to deal with a long-term injury like this, so I can't really predict how I'm going to feel out there," he said. "I'm going to take whatever [workload] they throw at me."

Therrien said he plans to use Eaton with Alain Nasreddine tonight, while Gonchar works with Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik and Ryan Whitney form the third pairing.

Although Noah Welch was recalled from the Penguins' minor-league team in Wilkes-Barre, he apparently won't play tonight unless they dress seven defensemen.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07026/757039-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
01-26-2007, 05:15 AM
Did you hear the interview of Bettman in between the 2nd & 3rd periods tonight? To me he didn't sound real confident that the Pens would stay in Pgh. Than again he could of been using that as an excuse for the scheduling which many people aren't happy with. He said they didn't want to change it till they know what the Pens are doing.

Mario may be alienanting some fans now, but when they finally put a deal together it will all be forgotten.

IMO, I don't think Bettman really knows what's going on here in order to make a solid/fair opinion. I'm not sure how up to date he is when it comes to the details. I could be wrong.

Basically he stated the same thing he has been stating all along. He doesn't want to see the Penguins move but at the same time we need a new building. He also stated that he would rather see a deal worked out between the two parties instead of it going in front of the NHL board.

At least there is a rumored meeting coming up some time next week. As long as they are talking, that's fine in my book. More importantly, I'm happy to see the talks are between Burkle (the man with the money, the actual businessman who is used to these situations and the man who doesn't hold a 7 year grudge) and Rendell. Let's get this deal hammered out and put this all behind us.

SteelCityMan786
01-26-2007, 06:47 AM
Finally SCM. He is back. Now let's finish strong. Let's Go Pens!!!

Penguins Notebook: Eaton ready to return tonight
Friday, January 26, 2007

By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coach Michel Therrien won't be counting on Mark Eaton to give him 25 or 26 top-quality minutes when the Penguins visit Dallas tonight in their first game after the All-Star Game break.

He isn't putting him back on the No. 1 defense pairing with Sergei Gonchar -- not immediately, anyway -- and apparently will do all he can to ease Eaton back into his old role on the Penguins' blue line.

But that doesn't mean Therrien isn't delighted to get Eaton, out since Nov. 4 with a dislocated wrist, back in uniform for the Penguins' 8:38 p.m. visit to the American Airlines Center.

Understandably so, considering that the Penguins were 7-3 in the 10 full games in which Eaton played before being hurt, and that his shot-blocking and overall work in his own zone were keys to early season improvements in the Penguins' penalty-killing and team defense.

"It's a big plus for us to have Mark Eaton back," Therrien said after practice yesterday at Southpointe. "It's like having a new player."

Although Eaton seemed to bring out the best in Gonchar when they played together during training camp and the first month of the season, Therrien said that, "we want to be cautious" with Eaton and that, "our plan is to make that transition [to a reunion of the Gonchar-Eaton pairing] really slowly."

Eaton, who was hurt when San Jose's Jonathan Cheechoo shoved him from behind, sending him hurtling into the boards, said he won't second-guess any role he is given.

"I've never had to deal with a long-term injury like this, so I can't really predict how I'm going to feel out there," he said. "I'm going to take whatever [workload] they throw at me."

Therrien said he plans to use Eaton with Alain Nasreddine tonight, while Gonchar works with Rob Scuderi and Brooks Orpik and Ryan Whitney form the third pairing.

Although Noah Welch was recalled from the Penguins' minor-league team in Wilkes-Barre, he apparently won't play tonight unless they dress seven defensemen.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07026/757039-61.stm



ALRIGHT NOW! Good to see we're getting guys healthy. Here is to a good run at the playoffs. And in April, may we see the Pens Season live on.

X-Terminator
01-26-2007, 10:35 AM
I will know Eaton is back and fully recovered the first time I see him go down to block a shot. That has been a missing element to our overall D ever since he got hurt - it seemed like when he was in there, EVERYBODY was giving themselves up to block shots. He will also help us tremendously on the PK - it's no coincidence that it's dropped from over 85% down to around 80% since he's been out. It may not turn around right away, but eventually it will.

HometownGal
01-27-2007, 07:40 AM
Darned nice comeback by the Pens last night, XT! We actually snatched a win in OT, 4-3!! :cheers: Fleury stopped all 3 Stars and that goal by Christiansen was a beauty! Recchi gets his 500th career goal and my bad-boy Ruutu kicked some booty - LOL! :toofunny: Great to see Eaton back on that ice. It was a very enjoyable game to watch - looking forward to tonight's game against the Coyotes. LETS GO PENS! :banana:

83-Steelers-43
01-27-2007, 08:26 AM
Nice shootout win by the Penguins last night. Let's try and get four on the road.

Penguins: Have not played Coyotes since Feb. 24, 2004, a 4-3 overtime win in Phoenix. ... Thibault is 12-7-4 with a 1.98 goals-against vs. Phoenix. ... RW Mark Recchi has 37 points in 29 career games vs. Phoenix.

Coyotes: Grabbed a 5-4 shootout victory against Colorado last night. ... Are 5-1-0 vs. Eastern Conference, 2-1-0 vs. Atlantic Division. ... Are 3-0 at home in shootouts.

Hidden stat: Phoenix has given up at least four goals in six of its past seven games.

83-Steelers-43
01-27-2007, 09:42 PM
Pens up 4-2 at the end of 2.

Ruutu, Talbot, Malone and Whitney with the Penguin goals. Not the names you would expect. It's nice to see those guys actually starting to contribute. Whitney has stepped up his defensive play since before the All-Star break. Pleasantly surprised by his play at both ends of the ice.

One more period and we take four out of a possible four on this trip. Keep it up Pens for twenty more minutes!!!

83-Steelers-43
01-27-2007, 10:09 PM
Sid makes it 5-2 on ANOTHER unbelievable goal. (This is even difficult to explain, imagine scoring it) Backhand goal while getting tripped up. Check it out on ESPN because my explanation is doing Sid's goal no justice. Simply amazing.

Pens make it 6-2 by Petrovicky. Good to see him get two points tonight (goal/assist). Petro's dad was the only one to come over from Europe to see his son play tonight.

83-Steelers-43
01-27-2007, 10:26 PM
Mark Recchi makes it 7-2 on the PP. As always, thank Sid.

SteelCityMan786
01-27-2007, 10:37 PM
I'm liking this.

83-Steelers-43
01-27-2007, 10:38 PM
7-2 Penguins. Pens take all four possible points on the road. See what happens when we keep the faith SCM. We are looking good brother. :wink02:

Nice win Pens. It was very, very nice to see some guys who should be scoring more often finally put some pucks in the net (Ruutu, Talbot, Petrovicky). It's also nice to see Ruutu finally show some proof of life in the physical play department. It's been nonexistent for the most part this season.

Note: Point league leaders after tonight

Sidney Crosby: 78 points

Ovechkin: 68 points

SteelCityMan786
01-27-2007, 10:40 PM
Amen to that 83.

Borski
01-27-2007, 10:42 PM
I never been much of a hockey guy, but after whatchin the last couple games I'm starting to get into it.

Go Pens!

----
PS -
this might sound dumb, but here it goes...
a couple years ago the Pens colors were black and gold, I noticed a few years ago the changed it.....still black and gold, but more like the saints B&G.....why?

SteelCityMan786
01-27-2007, 10:45 PM
I never been much of a hockey guy, but after whatchin the last couple games I'm starting to get into it.

Go Pens!

----
PS -
this might sound dumb, but here it goes...
a couple years ago the Pens colors were black and gold, I noticed a few years ago the changed it.....still black and gold, but more like the saints B&G.....why?

A question even I can't answer.

83-Steelers-43
01-27-2007, 10:47 PM
I don't think there really is a reason. Eitherway, I like them and I think they look pretty sharp.

Personally, I would like to see them sport the powder blues as an alternative jersey.

X-Terminator
01-27-2007, 11:44 PM
looking forward to tonight's game against the Coyotes.

So was I...unfortunately I fell asleep before the game started and woke up just in time to miss Sid's goal in the 3rd period :dang:

Still though, it was great to see the Pens get all 4 points on the road. With the way the schedule is now, there isn't as much importance on the interconference games since you only play 10 of them a year, so all you really want to do is get as many points as you can. Picking up all of them is just gravy, IMO. Another 4-point night for Sid and 3 more points for Recchi - he's really been playing well of late and is showing that he's still got it for a guy who is going to be 39 on Wednesday. I see that Ruutu had another good game - a goal and an assist - he definitely seems to love playing against the West as Bob Errey mentioned. The team overall looked great in the 3rd period, and I really love the way they have been forechecking - aggressive while under control, and pressuring the other team into mistakes. If they can keep it up, the sky's the limit for this team.

Next up - Florida. Hey guys, would you mind beating them for once, please? Thanks!

83-Steelers-43
01-28-2007, 06:15 AM
Gretzky knows Crosby is for real
Sunday, January 28, 2007

By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Amid all the 17- and 18-year-olds who were projected as first-round draft picks that year, newly retired Wayne Gretzky picked out a 14-year-old working in their midst at a player agency camp.

"At that time, I said he was the best player on the ice," Gretzky, now coach of the Coyotes, said last night before Phoenix played the Penguins. "You could just see at that young an age that he could see the ice better than anybody else and played as hard as anybody else and played fearless.

"The next day I jumped on the ice with him. I wanted to be able to skate with him."

That player, of course, was Sidney Crosby, who has proved that Gretzky has a keen eye for talent. Crosby, 19, leads the NHL in points and is coming off an All-Star week in which he constantly was compared to Gretzky.

Last night, Gretzky and Crosby were at Jobing.com Arena, making the comparisons seem more vivid.

"That's the way sports is," Gretzky said. "When Bobby Orr came in, there were a lot of comparisons to Gordie Howe. And then Guy Lafleur came along and guys like Mike Bossy. And then I came along. Then, Mario [Lemieux] came along.

"The ironic thing about it is that time quickly goes by and, before you realize it, they're comparing some young guy to you. It won't be too much longer that it will go from comparing Sidney to me to comparing somebody to Sidney."

Not that Crosby is within sight of being over the hill. He hasn't reached his peak.

Gretzky said Crosby handles his role as a hockey ambassador and the pressure to perform well every night well.

"It's tough," he said. "Every city you go to, people want to see you and, more importantly, they want to see you play well."

Crosby often says there will never be another Gretzky, 46, who essentially rewrote the record book. He also downplayed their meeting last night.

"You can compare and all those things, but I think we all grew up watching him and idolizing him," Crosby said. "Any time you get to play against someone like that, whether it's on the ice or as a coach, it's special."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07028/757544-61.stm

SteelCityMan786
01-28-2007, 07:37 AM
Something I like about Gretzky, he respects his opponent whether he's a player or coach.

HometownGal
01-28-2007, 10:29 AM
So was I...unfortunately I fell asleep before the game started and woke up just in time to miss Sid's goal in the 3rd period :dang:

Still though, it was great to see the Pens get all 4 points on the road. With the way the schedule is now, there isn't as much importance on the interconference games since you only play 10 of them a year, so all you really want to do is get as many points as you can. Picking up all of them is just gravy, IMO. Another 4-point night for Sid and 3 more points for Recchi - he's really been playing well of late and is showing that he's still got it for a guy who is going to be 39 on Wednesday. I see that Ruutu had another good game - a goal and an assist - he definitely seems to love playing against the West as Bob Errey mentioned. The team overall looked great in the 3rd period, and I really love the way they have been forechecking - aggressive while under control, and pressuring the other team into mistakes. If they can keep it up, the sky's the limit for this team.

Next up - Florida. Hey guys, would you mind beating them for once, please? Thanks!

Last night's game was a great all-around effort by the Pens. Having their Dads in attendance for the last few games seems to have given them that extra umph - LOL! Thibault played well in goal and everyone played top-o-the-line. :thumbsup: I was hoping to see my favorite bad boy punk another opponent, but he behaved last night, though he got some good hits on a couple of Coyotes and had a 2 point night. :cheers: What I'm really enjoying is that all 4 lines are contributing and that is a definite plus for any team. I just have the feeling the Pens are going to continue on their roll and beat the Panthers.

83-Steelers-43
01-28-2007, 10:43 AM
Sidney Crosby goal against the Coyotes: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Y4o6M7zO4s4

Simply amazing.

SteelCityMan786
01-28-2007, 10:44 AM
One of the best goals I have ever seen.

83-Steelers-43
01-28-2007, 11:12 AM
I never been much of a hockey guy, but after whatchin the last couple games I'm starting to get into it.

When you watch Sid score these goals it's kind of a hard not to be completely blown away. What that kid is doing goes beyond hockey.

On that note, at least you admit your not a big hockey fan instead of jumping on the wagon when things are looking up and stating you've been there all along. I can't count how many new "fans(?)" I've seen at Mellon since the start of last season. While it's good for the game, it's pretty sad and pathetic in a way.

X-Terminator
01-28-2007, 12:50 PM
Last night's game was a great all-around effort by the Pens. Having their Dads in attendance for the last few games seems to have given them that extra umph - LOL! Thibault played well in goal and everyone played top-o-the-line. :thumbsup: I was hoping to see my favorite bad boy punk another opponent, but he behaved last night, though he got some good hits on a couple of Coyotes and had a 2 point night. :cheers: What I'm really enjoying is that all 4 lines are contributing and that is a definite plus for any team. I just have the feeling the Pens are going to continue on their roll and beat the Panthers.

I thought it was great that the Pens decided to bring the players' dads along for the trip - it looks as if everyone really enjoyed it! Carolina did it last season and it was a big hit for them as well. It may have given the team an incentive to play well, if for no other reason than so they wouldn't have to face Dad if they stunk - LOL! I do agree about their ability to roll over 4 lines - if they can get consistent contributions from the 3rd and 4th lines, they will be a very difficult team to beat. And it's looking as if putting Malkin with Staal and Ouellet is turning out to be a good decision by Therrien - that line has been solid and has been making things happen since they were first put together. Things are definitely looking good right now, but it seems that they always struggle with the Panthers no matter how bad they are. One win against them is all I ask for!

X-Terminator
01-28-2007, 04:25 PM
BTW, HTG...found a little present for you: :wink02:

http://photos-611.ak.facebook.com/ip002/v63/64/71/9383708/n9383708_36417611_9741.jpg

HometownGal
01-28-2007, 05:37 PM
BTW, HTG...found a little present for you: :wink02:

http://photos-611.ak.facebook.com/ip002/v63/64/71/9383708/n9383708_36417611_9741.jpg

:banana: That's my boy! I'll be wearing his jersey on Thursday night. Have to give Gei's a rest - LOL! :cheers:

Thanks for sending the video. I pulled it up on youtube in case anyone wants to see Ruutu punk Robidas on Friday night. LMAO! :toofunny:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5vJjU36tUmU

83-Steelers-43
01-29-2007, 04:03 PM
Arena Deal Could Be Reached This Week

Andy Sheehan
Reporting

(KDKA) PITTSBURGH The on again, off again talks between the Pittsburgh Penguins and government officials are on again.

And now it looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sources tell KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan that the two sides are very close to a deal and if all goes well, they could have an announcement in the next few days.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl confirmed what sources close to the talks are saying that a deal could be imminent.

"It's my hope that sometime this week we can get back to talks with the Penguins and ultimately reach a deal," said Ravenstahl.

The two sides were actually close to a deal two weeks ago then tempers flared and talks broke off.

However, in the past week, cooler heads have prevailed and the framework of an arena deal will be on the table this week.

"Time is of the essence and we have gone back and forth," said Ravenstahl. "I'm hopeful this week that we will have an answer from the Penguins and hopefully a deal."

That would mean that not only will they two sides agree on the funding of a new arena and the divisions of revenues but also who will develop the Mellon Arena site after the old arena is torn down.

This weekend State Representative Jake Wheatley and some Hill District ministers complained of being shut out of the discussions but Ravenstahl says that will soon change.

"I can ensure the residents of the Hill District that they will be represented at the table and that any development that happens in their community will have their input," said Ravenstahl.

http://kdka.com/topstories/local_story_029161459.html

SteelCityMan786
01-29-2007, 04:43 PM
Arena Deal Could Be Reached This Week

Andy Sheehan
Reporting

(KDKA) PITTSBURGH The on again, off again talks between the Pittsburgh Penguins and government officials are on again.

And now it looks like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sources tell KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan that the two sides are very close to a deal and if all goes well, they could have an announcement in the next few days.

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl confirmed what sources close to the talks are saying that a deal could be imminent.

"It's my hope that sometime this week we can get back to talks with the Penguins and ultimately reach a deal," said Ravenstahl.

The two sides were actually close to a deal two weeks ago then tempers flared and talks broke off.

However, in the past week, cooler heads have prevailed and the framework of an arena deal will be on the table this week.

"Time is of the essence and we have gone back and forth," said Ravenstahl. "I'm hopeful this week that we will have an answer from the Penguins and hopefully a deal."

That would mean that not only will they two sides agree on the funding of a new arena and the divisions of revenues but also who will develop the Mellon Arena site after the old arena is torn down.

This weekend State Representative Jake Wheatley and some Hill District ministers complained of being shut out of the discussions but Ravenstahl says that will soon change.

"I can ensure the residents of the Hill District that they will be represented at the table and that any development that happens in their community will have their input," said Ravenstahl.

http://kdka.com/topstories/local_story_029161459.html


:dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: :dancing: KC---->:buttkick: <----Pittsburgh



WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! This is great news.

83-Steelers-43
01-29-2007, 04:46 PM
Keepin' the faith SCM. :banana: :cheers:

SteelCityMan786
01-29-2007, 04:50 PM
Keepin' the faith SCM. :banana: :cheers:

That's one thing I love about being a Pittsburgh Sports Fan. Believers to the end.

X-Terminator
01-29-2007, 11:48 PM
Keeping my fingers crossed that this gets done.

Borski
01-30-2007, 12:19 AM
Hopefully this goes through, assuming it does...when will the stadium be built and ready for use? this offseason or will they have to spend anouther year in Mellon while the build it?

X-Terminator
01-30-2007, 12:48 AM
Hopefully this goes through, assuming it does...when will the stadium be built and ready for use? this offseason or will they have to spend anouther year in Mellon while the build it?

It's supposed to be ready by late August 2009, assuming everything goes through and they begin construction this summer. So they'd still have to play at Mellon for 2 more seasons.

83-Steelers-43
01-30-2007, 03:47 AM
Ron Cook: Therrien doing a lot right, even if it gets little notice
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

At first, it seemed so silly, so unprofessional.

The Penguins' sole mandate is to win, yet tough-guy coach Michel Therrien was making lineup decisions Saturday night based on -- can you believe it? -- sentimentality.

Jocelyn Thibault's father came from Montreal to join the dads' weekend for the Penguins' games in Dallas and Phoenix, a brilliant team-bonding idea by general manager Ray Shero. There was no way Therrien was going to send him back home without seeing his kid play. Thibault got the start in goal against the Phoenix Coyotes even though the Penguins' go-to goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury, was rested and had played well the night before in a win against the Dallas Stars.

Ronald Petrovicky's dad traveled even a greater distance -- all the way from Slovakia -- with no guarantee that his son would get into a game. But there was his boy, dressed and ready to go in Phoenix after being a healthy scratch for six consecutive games, even though Therrien is loath to change his lineup after a win.

The moves didn't seem nearly so silly after Thibault had a big night and Petrovicky a goal and an assist in the Penguins' 7-2 win. They didn't seem so unprofessional once their significance was clear. It's pretty safe to say an appreciative Thibault and Petrovicky will have Therrien's back the rest of the way. Not just them, but all of the players who weren't oblivious to what happened.

"I'm a demanding coach, yes," Therrien was saying in his tiny Mellon Arena office yesterday after practice. "But I want to be able to look those players in the eye every day and feel good about myself.

"It was the right thing to do."

That got me to thinking.

That and the Penguins' surprising 23-17-8 record, which, if the season ended yesterday, would have them in the playoffs.

How many other times has Therrien made the right move?

For sure, Therrien was right to immediately give Sidney Crosby the "A" as the Penguins' assistant captain when he took over for fired Eddie Olczyk in December 2005. Sid the Kid was just 18 and a rookie, but Therrien had seen enough of him at training camp as coach of the Penguins' Wilkes-Barre/Scranton minor-league club to know he was the team's best player and hardest worker. "Such a great leader," Therrien called him. The promotion wasn't made with just the moment in mind, either. "I have a plan, a vision," Therrien said. The move was made for two or three years down the road when Crosby will be wearing the "C" as the face of the franchise, not that he isn't that face already.

Therrien was right to demand discipline and accountability from his players. The Penguins' free-wheeling days were over. No longer could they ignore their defensive responsibilities. They had to play in a structured system. It was the only way their young team could improve and ultimately win.

Therrien was right to blow his cork less than a month on the job after a third consecutive loss when he felt the players weren't responding. "That was a pathetic performance. Half of the team doesn't care," he growled that night. Who can forget the way Therrien publicly savaged his defensemen -- "I'm really starting to believe their goal is to be the worst defensive squad in the league. ... They're soft" -- who just happened to be the unfortunate vehicle he used to deliver his message?

"I did it the hard way, but I had to do something," he says now. "That team was going in the wrong direction."

Say this for the man: He got his guys' attention. They didn't make the playoffs, but they improved the rest of the season.

Therrien was right to put the Penguins through their toughest training camp since the Badger Bob Johnson days. That hard-earned conditioning base, not to mention the confidence that went with it, contributed to their 7-3 start this season.

Therrien was right to call in Crosby for a little talk after Crosby was stopped again in a shootout loss to Boston Jan. 18 and he noticed the kid was starting to doubt himself. "I told him I didn't care if he goes 0 for 100, he was going to be out there for me. I'm not going to lose because my best player is on the bench." You know what? Even a superstar needs to hear something like that once in a while.

It was the right thing to do ...

Are you getting the idea that maybe we should appreciate Therrien a little more than we do?

If Mike Tomlin has the Steelers overachieving like this next season, we'll be calling him a genius and saying "Bill Who?"

If Jim Tracy ever has the Pirates six games above .500, we'll be nominating him for the Hall of Fame.

Why shouldn't Therrien get the same love?

Actually, you could argue he deserves more.

For one thing, Therrien works in a league that routinely fires its coaches quicker than any other. That imprudence is one of the NHL's more significant flaws.

For another thing -- and this has been pointed out at least a zillion times -- Therrien is not Shero's guy. He was hired by Shero's predecessor, Craig Patrick.

That combination explains why there was speculation during a five-game losing streak earlier in the season that Therrien's job was in jeopardy. That seems so ridiculous now for a couple of reasons. The Penguins aren't just a young team, they have flaws, no matter how sparkling their record is at the moment. They need a little help on defense and at least one goal-scoring winger. Shero didn't give Therrien any big-name free agents in the offseason, choosing instead to evaluate his players and build slowly. Beyond all that, Shero doesn't give the impression he's a guy who will panic, either in dealing with his coach or making a future-sapping trade just to give the Penguins a chance to limp into the playoffs this season.

But Therrien had to face the whispers, nonetheless.

"Of course, I care," he said, quietly.

Yes, the tough guy wants to be liked and appreciated.

Don't get the idea Therrien is going soft, though. Don't be fooled by his weekend gestures with Thibault and Petrovicky. "We're still going to be demanding as coaches," he said. "This is a young team that's learning how to win. We have to be demanding. We have to make sure the guys continue to buy into the way we have to play."

The players know.

"I don't think he's changed at all," said forward Maxime Talbot, one of nine players on the Penguins' roster who played for Therrien at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

"We feel his presence. Today, he was in a good mood and laughing a lot at practice. But we know we still have to work. We have to be sharp every day because he's going to be sharp."

Said Therrien, "I believe in what I do."

Maybe it's time the rest of us start believing, too.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07030/757901-87.stm

X-Terminator
01-31-2007, 03:14 AM
Recchi honored by NHL

By The Tribune-Review
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mark Recchi was chosen as the NHL's First Star and player of the week after scoring three goals and three assists in the Penguins' wins at Dallas and Phoenix. Winning awards isn't what motivates Recchi at this point in his career. Recchi, who will turn 39 on Thursday, is more into Stanley Cups.

"Winning in '91 and getting an opportunity with Carolina last year to win, that's what keeps me going," Recchi said Monday during an NHL conference call. "I look at our team now and I see a contender in the not too distant (future), and that's what I play for. When you get a taste of that, you want to keep going."

Recchi, who won Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh in 1991 and Carolina in 2006, became the oldest Penguins player to record a hat trick when he scored three times Jan. 20 against Toronto. He also became the 38th player in NHL history with 500 career goals when he scored twice against Dallas and, earlier this season, he scored his 1,300th career point and played in his 1,300th game.

? The Penguins again demoted defenseman Noah Welch to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League. It is his fourth stint in the minors this season. After beginning the season in the AHL, Welch was initially recalled Oct. 23 and demoted Dec. 4. He was recalled again Jan. 11 after a knee injury to Josef Melichar and sent back down 10 days later to get some playing time during the All-Star break. He was called up for the Penguins' recent trip to Dallas and Phoenix as an emergency backup because the team only has six healthy defensemen on the roster.

? Coach Michel Therrien on how the team will avert fatigue heading down the stretch: "We take a lot of pride about playing four lines and that gives us a lot of energy in the third period, and the conditioning of this team is really good. But in the meantime, we take pride about playing four lines. The team is there and everybody's got big roles, and we're going to stick to that."

Digits

23 - Points the Penguins have improved, compared with the 31 points they had with an 11-28-9 record a year ago.

66 - Players taken before Mark Recchi in the 1988 draft.

87 - Career goals scored by the three players -- forwards Darrin Shannon (87), Mark Major (0) and Daniel Gauthier (0) -- the Penguins opted for before selecting Recchi in the fourth round.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/archive/s_490859.html

HometownGal
01-31-2007, 07:02 AM
Excellent article on The Wreckin Ball, XT. :thumbsup: He's in his late 30's and still plays his heart out each and every game. The way he's going and barring injury, he's got another 2-3 years left in him and I hope those years are spent as a Penguin.!

What a great game last night!!! Again, contributions from the back lines. :thumbsup: Fleurry was awesome in goal, as well. LET'S GO PENS! :cheer:

83-Steelers-43
01-31-2007, 07:12 AM
6-0-1 and rollin SCM...:wink02:

Fleury stifles Panthers

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, January 31, 2007


There are many reasons why the Penguins are arguably one of the hottest teams in the NHL since the second half of the season began, including good puck possession, balanced scoring from all four lines and decent special teams.

But perhaps chief among them has been the play of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who recorded his third shutout of the season and the fifth of his career Tuesday night in a 3-0 win over the Florida Panthers.

"(Tuesday) was a great team effort, but we were completely led by (Fleury)," said defenseman Ryan Whitney, who extended his point streak to eight games. "It's great to see him step up. He's having such a great season and (last night) showed what he's able to do and what he's done for us all year."

Fleury made 32 saves in the win, as the Penguins (24-17-8) beat the Panthers at Mellon Arena for the first time since March 5, 2002, ending an 0-6-1 streak. Going into last night, the Penguins had beaten the Panthers only once since the 2001-02 season (1-12-1).

The Penguins are 6-1-1 since the second half of the season started, with four wins in a row and 13 points out of a possible 14 in their last seven games.

"It's a pretty good stretch," Fleury said. "I don't think I've ever had so many wins. It's a good feeling to know that every night we have a chance to win the game."

The Penguins even shut down Panthers captain Olli Jokinen, who had a hat trick against them three weeks earlier. The closest Jokinen came to scoring last night was when the Penguins got into penalty trouble midway through the third period and he hit the post.

Fleury hasn't lost a game in regulation since Jan. 9 at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"You can hear him on the ice, he's always cheering," defenseman Alain Nasreddine said of Fleury. "He's happy when he makes a good save, he's happy when we block a shot, always talking to us and telling us, 'Good job.' He's so confident right now, and we're so confident when he's in the net, too."

Michel Ouellet, who has points in seven of his last eight games, scored his 10th goal of the season with 1:49 left in the first period to give the Penguins the lead.

Then early in the second period, the Penguins' fourth line chipped in for the second game in a row. Dominic Moore backhanded a shot past goaltender Ed Belfour from in front of the net.

Midway through the period, the Panthers got into penalty trouble, getting called three times in two minutes, and after two near misses from Sidney Crosby and Ouellet, Whitney scored at 10:46 to extend his point streak to a team-leading eight games (two goals, nine assists).

The game was the Penguins' first at home after back-to-back road wins over the weekend. Among the 15,405 in attendance was new Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who got an ovation from fans when shown on the Jumbotron in the second period.

With the win, the eighth-place Penguins increased their lead to two points over the ninth-place New York Rangers with a game in hand and pulled within two points of the sixth-place Carolina Hurricanes.

They'll try to tie their season high of five wins in a row on Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens.

"We wanted to come back from that road trip and have focus to play this game the way we did the last few on the road," said Crosby, who had an assist. "We've always had confidence, we're just showing it more consistently right now."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_491075.html

X-Terminator
01-31-2007, 08:10 AM
Excellent article on The Wreckin Ball, XT. :thumbsup: He's in his late 30's and still plays his heart out each and every game. The way he's going and barring injury, he's got another 2-3 years left in him and I hope those years are spent as a Penguin.!

What a great game last night!!! Again, contributions from the back lines. :thumbsup: Fleurry was awesome in goal, as well. LET'S GO PENS! :cheer:

I was kinda surprised that nobody posted that yet, so I took it upon myself to do so - it's a great accomplishment. He'll go down as one of the least-known 500 goal scorers in history, almost on the level of Ron Francis being the 5th leading scorer all-time. He says that he wants to play another year or two, and hey - the way he's playing right now and being such a well-conditioned athlete with few major injuries in his career, who says he couldn't?

Sadly, I missed all but the last 15 minutes of the 3rd period last night (so what else is new, huh? LOL), but I did remember to record it so I can watch it later. I did see the highlights, and it looked like everyone performed well, especially Fleury. The great thing about this current win streak is that they're getting contributions from their other lines so that Crosby and Malkin don't have to do it all. If they keep that up, they'll keep right on rolling and may end up in the playoffs after all!

Next up - Montreal. The key is to stay out of the penalty box, because their power play is excellent. But it should be a good one nonetheless!

SteelCityMan786
01-31-2007, 03:41 PM
6-0-1 and rollin SCM...:wink02:

Fleury stifles Panthers

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, January 31, 2007


There are many reasons why the Penguins are arguably one of the hottest teams in the NHL since the second half of the season began, including good puck possession, balanced scoring from all four lines and decent special teams.

But perhaps chief among them has been the play of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who recorded his third shutout of the season and the fifth of his career Tuesday night in a 3-0 win over the Florida Panthers.

"(Tuesday) was a great team effort, but we were completely led by (Fleury)," said defenseman Ryan Whitney, who extended his point streak to eight games. "It's great to see him step up. He's having such a great season and (last night) showed what he's able to do and what he's done for us all year."

Fleury made 32 saves in the win, as the Penguins (24-17-8) beat the Panthers at Mellon Arena for the first time since March 5, 2002, ending an 0-6-1 streak. Going into last night, the Penguins had beaten the Panthers only once since the 2001-02 season (1-12-1).

The Penguins are 6-1-1 since the second half of the season started, with four wins in a row and 13 points out of a possible 14 in their last seven games.

"It's a pretty good stretch," Fleury said. "I don't think I've ever had so many wins. It's a good feeling to know that every night we have a chance to win the game."

The Penguins even shut down Panthers captain Olli Jokinen, who had a hat trick against them three weeks earlier. The closest Jokinen came to scoring last night was when the Penguins got into penalty trouble midway through the third period and he hit the post.

Fleury hasn't lost a game in regulation since Jan. 9 at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"You can hear him on the ice, he's always cheering," defenseman Alain Nasreddine said of Fleury. "He's happy when he makes a good save, he's happy when we block a shot, always talking to us and telling us, 'Good job.' He's so confident right now, and we're so confident when he's in the net, too."

Michel Ouellet, who has points in seven of his last eight games, scored his 10th goal of the season with 1:49 left in the first period to give the Penguins the lead.

Then early in the second period, the Penguins' fourth line chipped in for the second game in a row. Dominic Moore backhanded a shot past goaltender Ed Belfour from in front of the net.

Midway through the period, the Panthers got into penalty trouble, getting called three times in two minutes, and after two near misses from Sidney Crosby and Ouellet, Whitney scored at 10:46 to extend his point streak to a team-leading eight games (two goals, nine assists).

The game was the Penguins' first at home after back-to-back road wins over the weekend. Among the 15,405 in attendance was new Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who got an ovation from fans when shown on the Jumbotron in the second period.

With the win, the eighth-place Penguins increased their lead to two points over the ninth-place New York Rangers with a game in hand and pulled within two points of the sixth-place Carolina Hurricanes.

They'll try to tie their season high of five wins in a row on Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens.

"We wanted to come back from that road trip and have focus to play this game the way we did the last few on the road," said Crosby, who had an assist. "We've always had confidence, we're just showing it more consistently right now."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_491075.html

Don't Stop believing Pittsburgh. :jammin:

83-Steelers-43
01-31-2007, 03:48 PM
Next few games should be something SCM. Montreal, Washington, Montreal and then Nashville. Some people doubted them against the Panthers, I say keep doubting them.

I see no reason why this team can't beat the Habs or Preds at this point. Team is hot and they are molding beautifully. Therrien has them believing.

83-Steelers-43
01-31-2007, 03:52 PM
With Fleury, I'm still up in the air. There is no doubt the kid has been playing out of his skull over the last few weeks and he's always showed signs of becoming a very good future goaltender. I'm just hoping this is not a flash in the pan type of ordeal. I'm not saying it is and I'm not saying it isn't.

I still remain cautiously optimistic when it comes to Fleury. Do it for a full season and I'm convinced. Goaltenders are strange like that. In general you hear about a goaltender one season (Hedberg) and then the guy is playing backup and you never hear from him again. There is no doubt the return of Eaton will help keep Fleury's "streak?" going. Eaton played one hell of a hockey game last night.

Here's to Fleury keeping it up! :cheers:

SteelCityMan786
01-31-2007, 04:50 PM
Next few games should be something SCM. Montreal, Washington, Montreal and then Nashville. Some people doubted them against the Panthers, I say keep doubting them.

I see no reason why this team can't beat the Habs or Preds at this point. Team is hot and they are molding beautifully. Therrien has them believing.

Sounds Good. Go ahead and doubt. They'll prove people wrong.

X-Terminator
02-01-2007, 12:53 AM
The latest on the arena situation - still keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well and the deal gets finalized. :hope:

Officials Hope To Reach Arena Deal By Friday

Andy Sheehan
Reporting

(KDKA) PITTSBURGH Negotiations are continuing between government officials and the Pittsburgh Penguins as they try to come to terms on the building of a new arena here in Pittsburgh.

Both sides are now discussing the loose framework of a deal but still going back and forth on some of the issues.

Still, there is hope for an agreement by the end of the week.

But if all goes well, it could be drawing to close shortly with a happy ending for Penguins fans.

"Time is of the essence and we have gone back and forth, I'm hopeful this week that we will have an answer from the Penguins and hopefully a deal," said Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl back on Monday.

Sources say progress has been made on the overall deal and the potential sticking points such as the sharing of parking revenue and the sharing of development rights to the land after the Mellon Arena is torn down.

One source says there's been major discussion over just who will pay a $10 million debt the Pens owe to their former gaming partner Isle of Capri.

The state, county and city have refused to foot the bill, but the same source says the city and county may buy the central medical building from the Pens to partially off-set that cost.

The Pens bought the building several years ago as a possible arena site.

But again, there are no guarantees from the management here.

Sources are telling KDKA Investigator Marty Sheehan that this could get done in the next 24 hours in anticipation of an announcement on Friday.

However, the talks could very well take a step backward.

http://kdka.com/seenon/local_story_031155623.html

X-Terminator
02-01-2007, 12:58 AM
BTW, I think it's bullshit that the Pens are still asking the government to pay even part of the $10 million owed to Isle of Capri - a debt that THEY incurred themselves by partnering with them. Corporate welfare at it's finest. Yes, I want a deal done, but the Pens have to be willing to give some things up. They CANNOT get everything.

Edit: Tulsa, OK is now interested in bringing the Pens there if there is no deal. NHL hockey in fscking TULSA????????? What the hell goes on in TULSA other than nothing?


Tulsa joins growing list of suitors for Penguins
Minor league hockey team owner in Oklahoma hopes to lure Penguins with 18,000-seat arena

Thursday, February 01, 2007
By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As state and local officials try to complete a deal to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh, another city could be in the hunt for the team if those efforts fail.

Bob Funk, president and chief executive officer of Express Personnel Services Inc., told a Tulsa, Okla., newspaper that he has an interest in bringing the Penguins to that city if a deal falls through in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Funk, owner of the Oklahoma City Blazers hockey team, previously was part of a business group looking to invite the Penguins to Oklahoma City to play in the Ford Center. That invitation never materialized.

In Tulsa, the 18,000-seat BOK Center currently is under construction, with a scheduled opening in 2008.

According to the Tulsa World newspaper, Mr. Funk said he has formulated a plan to try to bring the Penguins to that city. He said he hoped to talk to Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux about a possible relocation.

Mr. Funk could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Tulsa is just one of several cities that could be in the running for the team if local efforts fail. Kansas City, with the $276 million Sprint Center getting ready to open this fall, is the presumed frontrunner should the team leave Pittsburgh. Officials there have offered the team a free arena, no construction costs, and half the building revenues.

Houston also has an interest in the team. While Oklahoma City did not extend an invitation to the Penguins, there may still be interest in bringing the franchise there.

The Penguins declined comment yesterday.

As cities line up to try to lure the team away, the team continues to talk to Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato about reaching an agreement that would keep the franchise in Pittsburgh.

While public officials continue to express confidence about completing a deal, no formal negotiations have been scheduled, although the two sides are exchanging information and proposals.

Mr. Ravenstahl said the parties could talk on a conference call later this week, but he added nothing has been scheduled yet.

"They're having conversations. I have not heard about any blowups so I guess that's a good thing," said state Sen. Wayne Fontana, a board member for the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority, which is involved in the negotiations.

"Everything seems to be positive. There's been no negative conversations or statements by anybody, which I think is a positive sign. Some agreement could be reached any day now."

The state and local politicians are hoping to complete a deal under Plan B, a funding formula that includes $14.5 million a year for 30 years in slots gambling-related revenues, plus an annual contribution from the Penguins. Mr. Rendell has said the team contribution is now a "fraction" of the $2.9 million a year the Pirates pledged toward PNC Park.

In his interview with Tulsa World Sports Columnist Glenn Hibdon, Mr. Funk said three or four other franchises could be interested in relocating to the BOK Center, but that he had his sights set on the Penguins.

"Pittsburgh has Sidney Crosby, the brightest young star in the NHL in many years," he said. "They have great young players and they should be a strong team for many years to come."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07032/758485-61.stm

X-Terminator
02-01-2007, 01:28 AM
OK, now I'm confused...I found this story on the Pens' website that says the deal is all but done. Please God, let it be true!!!


Pens may have deal Uptown, official says

By Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, February 1, 2007

HARRISBURG - The Penguins apparently have cut a deal with public officials to finance an Uptown arena that would keep the team in Pittsburgh, a state senator said Wednesday.

"I'm hearing that a deal could be made any day, which makes me suspect it's all about crossing the t's and dotting the i's," said Sen. Wayne Fontana, a Brookline Democrat who serves on the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority, which would own the arena. "I don't know that there are any major hurdles left. It's all just little things."

Fontana said he expects officials to announce a deal today or Friday.

The Penguins had no comment. Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato would not comment, his spokesman Kevin Evanto said.


"People involved directly in the negotiations are not discussing anything publicly," said Dick Skrinjar, spokesman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Fontana said Gov. Ed Rendell and Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle, a California billionaire, have held "a lot of phone conversations." The two worked together on the Democratic National Committee, and that connection helped ease tension from a Jan. 18 meeting over how to divide arena revenue, Fontana said.

The Penguins balked at sharing money from parking and the developmental rights for the Mellon Arena site with Majestic Star Casino owner Don Barden, who won the state license to build a Pittsburgh slots casino and will contribute money toward an arena. Fontana said the two sides have found "a middle ground" over the parking revenues and development rights.

Late last year, Rendell said he would work to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh after state gambling regulators dismissed a casino proposal that would have built an arena entirely with slots money, state Gaming Control Board Chairman Tad Decker disclosed yesterday.

Decker told the Tribune-Review he talked with the governor after the board voted Dec. 20 to award Detroit-based Majestic Star the Pittsburgh slots license. The gambling board rejected a proposal by the Penguins' partner, St. Louis-based Isle of Capri Casinos, which had promised to pay $290 million for an arena if it became the licensee.

"Rendell guaranteed us they will not leave," Decker said. "He said, 'It might take a little more money. We're going to do whatever is necessary -- reasonably necessary -- to keep them in Pennsylvania.' "

Rendell's spokeswoman Kate Philips discounted Decker's remarks.

"The governor doesn't guarantee anything," she said. "It's just not his style."

Under an alternate financing plan headed by Rendell, Majestic Star has agreed to pay $7.5 million a year for 30 years toward an Uptown arena. The state would pay $7 million a year from a development fund backed by gambling money.

The Penguins would have paid $8.5 million up front and $2.9 million a year, while forgoing $1.16 million a year in naming rights. But Rendell has said the team's contribution was "significantly" reduced.

The arena would be built on property owned by the sports authority near Mellon Arena. The team's lease there ends in June.

Time has nearly run out on the Penguins' imposed 30-day deadline to complete an arena deal. They were expected to tell Kansas City officials by Feb. 4 whether they would relocate to play in the new Sprint Center starting next season.

The Penguins have not sought the National Hockey League's approval to relocate. The league repeatedly has stated its desire for the team to stay in Pittsburgh.

With the team at home through Saturday and Canadian news media in Pittsburgh for tonight's game against Montreal, officials might want to take advantage of the publicity and end the uncertainty, Fontana said.

"There is an opportunity to wrap this up nicely," Fontana said. "I could certainly see everybody wanting to get this settled while the parties are around."

Rendell was scheduled to be in Harrisburg today, Philips said.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_491255.html

83-Steelers-43
02-01-2007, 05:45 AM
"One source says there's been major discussion over just who will pay a $10 million debt the Pens owe to their former gaming partner Isle of Capri."


The Pens made a business deal with IOC. If IOC didn't get the license, the Pens owed them $10MM. Simple as that.

I suppose if IOC did get the license the Pens were going to hand over $10MM to the government ?

I'm a huge Pens fan. But the taxpayers are already contributing enough to this project. The government should NOT give the Pens money to pay-off a private business debt. Unbelievable.

As for Tulsa, just as funny as the team being moved to Oklahoma City. It's not going to happen.

Eitherway, I remain confident that a deal will be agreed upon in the near future. It's all good SCM. :cheers:

83-Steelers-43
02-01-2007, 06:20 AM
Much like with the Tomlin hire, I think I'll wait for the official PC....

Sources: Pittsburgh arena deal not done

Bob McKenzie

1/31/2007 8:00:16 PM

Amid a report by a Pittsburgh radio station that said a new arena deal between the Penguins and the various levels of government (the state, the county and the city) has been reached, sources tell TSN "the deal is not yet done."

In fact, sources added that while the Penguins are still hopeful of the deal being reached, perhaps this week, there may actually have been a "setback" in the negotiations that have been going on this week.

In any case, sources say it's "premature" to say the deal is done

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=194369&hubname=nhl

HometownGal
02-01-2007, 06:45 AM
I was kinda surprised that nobody posted that yet, so I took it upon myself to do so - it's a great accomplishment. He'll go down as one of the least-known 500 goal scorers in history, almost on the level of Ron Francis being the 5th leading scorer all-time. He says that he wants to play another year or two, and hey - the way he's playing right now and being such a well-conditioned athlete with few major injuries in his career, who says he couldn't?

Sadly, I missed all but the last 15 minutes of the 3rd period last night (so what else is new, huh? LOL), but I did remember to record it so I can watch it later. I did see the highlights, and it looked like everyone performed well, especially Fleury. The great thing about this current win streak is that they're getting contributions from their other lines so that Crosby and Malkin don't have to do it all. If they keep that up, they'll keep right on rolling and may end up in the playoffs after all!

Next up - Montreal. The key is to stay out of the penalty box, because their power play is excellent. But it should be a good one nonetheless!

Yes, most definitely Recchi will be one of the least-known 500 goal scorers, ala Ronnie Francis. Recchi has been playing very well over the last month or so - he's got his groove on. :thumbsup: As a whole, the team has played some darned good hockey in that time span and has been the most exciting team on the ice since the All-Star break.

I'm really looking forward to the game tonight against the Habs. I'll be sporting my Ruutu jersey so I hope he not only scores, but goes into lil' pissant mode and makes me proud!:smile:

Thanks for posting the KDKA story on the ongoing saga with the new arena. I tend not to believe "sources" and prefer to hear the real deal out of the mouths of those directly involved. One story says one thing and another says yet another thing. The deadline is here and they need to get this deal together basically yesterday so that everyone can move ahead.

Did you hear the residents of the Hill screaming on the news a few days back, demanding that they have a say in the development of the arena and surrounding area? WTF??? I'll bet dollars to donuts if someone checked, those making all of the noise are behind in their property taxes - who the hell are they to demand anything? Seeing that on the news just frosted my behind.

HometownGal
02-01-2007, 07:59 AM
Good read on Ruutu. :thumbsup:

Abrasive Ruutu plays big role in recent surge
Thursday, February 01, 2007

By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Could be that Jarkko Ruutu simply needed time to get acclimated, to become comfortable with his new teammates, city and conference.

That would be a pretty good explanation for why his play in the first half of the season ran the gamut from lackluster to uninspired much of the time.

But it's not one Ruutu has any interest in putting forth.

"I don't really look at it that way," he said yesterday. "I don't want to give myself an excuse."

Of course, if Ruutu continues to play the way he has the past few weeks, he probably won't need many excuses anytime soon.

While he is hardly the only reason the Penguins enter their game against Montreal at 7:38 tonight at Mellon Arena on a 6-0-1 roll, Ruutu is looking a lot like the guy the Penguins thought they were getting when they signed him as a free agent last summer.

"It's obvious that I've been playing better lately," he said.

Ruutu has been visible and effective all over the ice, playing the body, tormenting opponents -- he's the kind of player who would have a sizeable bounty on his head if such things were legal -- and even putting up points in three of the past four games.

"There's no doubt he's playing his best hockey since the beginning of the year," coach Michel Therrien said.

Ruutu is playing on a line with Dominic Moore and Ronald Petrovicky, a blue-collar group whose members have found ways to generate a little offense, too.

Like early in the second period of the Penguins' 3-0 victory against Florida Tuesday, when a Ruutu feed to Moore from behind the Panthers' goal line set up their second goal.

"Jarkko's deceiving," Moore said. "He has the ability to make plays."

That pass gave Ruutu assists in consecutive games for just the second time this season. Precedent suggests he isn't likely to, say, wipe out the 69-point lead Sidney Crosby has over him in the team scoring race, but Ruutu believes his offensive output -- and every other aspect of his game -- can be upgraded.

"I know I have the ability to be better than I've shown," he said. "By far."

He has given the Penguins precisely what they want the past few weeks. The goals and assists are nice, but it's his prickly style that convinced them to offer him a contract.

"He's a tough guy to play against," Therrien said. "We wanted to add character to our team over the summer, and he was part of it."

Ruutu has an obvious knack for agitating opponents. He can be the human equivalent of a pebble in the skate, yapping and poking and prodding and doing everything imaginable to distract opposing players.

But as adept as Ruutu can be at filling that role, even he can't execute it well from the bench, which is where he spent an inordinate amount of time during the early months of this season. He's never going to log Crosby-type minutes, but Ruutu rarely has gotten into double-figures.

Therrien's decision to limit his workload was an understandable reaction to Ruutu's play. Even a guy who isn't counted on to score goals shouldn't go 43 games without one, as Ruutu did. But trapped him in a cycle of reduced playing time that led to reduced effectiveness, which led to further cuts in ice time.

It is no coincidence, Ruutu said, that he has done a better job of getting under opponents' skin since he began to be on the ice a little more often.

"If you don't have a regular shift every now and then, you can't do that, because you sit in the [penalty] box," Ruutu said. "The refs are looking for you. When you get a regular shift, you can get a lot more emotion going, a lot more rivalry [with other players]."

His performance of late has put Ruutu on the other side of the ice-time cycle. Now that he is playing more, he is accomplishing more, and that gives Therrien incentive to try to get him on the ice more.

"It's always been my philosophy, when a guy's doing his role, when a guy's playing well, he's going to have ice time," Therrien said. "When I see a guy who's on top of his game, I'm going to play him."

That means Ruutu probably should expect to spend 10 or 12 minutes on the ice tonight. Especially if he continues to give the Penguins the grit and solid two-way game they've gotten from him so often lately.

"We were excited over the summer when we signed him," Therrien said. "And he's starting to pay off now."

83-Steelers-43
02-01-2007, 09:54 AM
Official: City, Pens could announce deal by Friday
ESPN.com news services


A state senator on the board that would oversee a new arena in Pittsburgh says a deal to keep the Penguins in the Steel City could be announced by Friday.

"I'm hearing that a deal could be made any day, which makes me suspect it's all about crossing the t's and dotting the i's," state Sen. Wayne Fontana told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I don't know that there are any major hurdles left. It's all just little things."

Fontana, who sits on the Allegheny County Sports & Exposition Authority, told the newspaper that Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has been in continuing conversations with Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle about the deal.

Earlier this week, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he expected a deal would be announced soon. But he had no comment Wednesday on Fontana's statement, the Tribune-Review said. Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and the Penguins also declined to comment, the newspaper reported.

"People involved directly in the negotiations are not discussing anything publicly," Dick Skrinjar, Ravenstahl's spokesman, told the Tribune-Review.

The Penguins were expected to tell officials in Kansas City, Mo., by Feb. 4 whether they would move into new Sprint Center starting next season. The Sprint Center has offered the Penguins free rent and revenue-sharing if they move to Kansas City, which briefly was home to an NHL expansion franchise in the mid-1970s. The Penguins have long sought a replacement for Mellon Arena, the oldest building in the NHL.

Talks between local and state government and the Penguins hit a snag when the team balked at sharing parking revenue and redevelopment rights for the Mellon Arena site with Casino developer Don Barden, who was awarded a state slot machine license and has pledged to help build a new arena. The Penguins had backed another casino developer, Isle of Capri, which had pledged to entirely fund a new arena.

Fontana told the Tribune-Review the two sides have found "a middle ground" over the parking revenues and development rights.

Barden has agreed to pay $7.5 million a year for 30 years toward a new arena, with the state adding $7 million a year. And Rendell has said the Penguins' contribution to the project -- originally pegged at $8.5 million in up-front funds, $2.9 million a year and forgoing $1.16 million a year in naming rights -- has been 'significantly" reduced.

The Penguins have not yet sought permission from the National Hockey League to move, the Tribune-Review reported.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=2750628

HometownGal
02-01-2007, 10:37 AM
Hey XT - wanna go? :bouncy: Sounds like a wonderful event for a great cause! :thumbsup:


PENGUINS SERVE AS WAITERS FOR CHARITY ON FEBRUARY 12
01/29/2007

Pittsburgh Penguins? players will be passing plates instead of pucks on Monday, February 12 at the Omni William Penn Hotel as theyelebrate the 20th anniversary of the ?Penguins At Your Service? dinner presented by Pitt-Ohio Express.

Proceeds benefit the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Since 1986, the dinner has raised over $3.8 million for research into finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.

The entire Penguins team is featured at the event as they serve as waiters for the evening, greeting guests, serving meals and collecting tips for the Foundation. The event also includes silent and live auctions.

Sponsors of Penguins At Your Service presented by Pitt-Ohio Express include Allegheny Design Management Inc., McKamish Inc., Mylan Laboratories Inc., Pittsburgh Tower Erectors, The Ridenour?s, Trebuchet Consulting, Trib Total Media, A-1 Mortgage, Game Day Haircuts, Aramark Corporation, The Darling Family, Deloitte & Touche, PJ Dick Inc. & Trumbull Corporation, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and Mellon Financial Corporation.

Tickets are still available by contacting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation office at 412-321-4422.

X-Terminator
02-01-2007, 10:46 AM
Sure, sounds great! Find out how much the tickets costs, and we'll go from there. It would be awesome to meet all the players as they're serving us dinner - right up there with the Steelers' Kickoff Luncheon we went to last summer!

X-Terminator
02-01-2007, 10:52 AM
Yes, most definitely Recchi will be one of the least-known 500 goal scorers, ala Ronnie Francis. Recchi has been playing very well over the last month or so - he's got his groove on. :thumbsup: As a whole, the team has played some darned good hockey in that time span and has been the most exciting team on the ice since the All-Star break.

I'm really looking forward to the game tonight against the Habs. I'll be sporting my Ruutu jersey so I hope he not only scores, but goes into lil' pissant mode and makes me proud!:smile:

Thanks for posting the KDKA story on the ongoing saga with the new arena. I tend not to believe "sources" and prefer to hear the real deal out of the mouths of those directly involved. One story says one thing and another says yet another thing. The deadline is here and they need to get this deal together basically yesterday so that everyone can move ahead.

Did you hear the residents of the Hill screaming on the news a few days back, demanding that they have a say in the development of the arena and surrounding area? WTF??? I'll bet dollars to donuts if someone checked, those making all of the noise are behind in their property taxes - who the hell are they to demand anything? Seeing that on the news just frosted my behind.

I did hear about the people on the Hill District getting their panties in a bunch - as if they REALLY were going to be left out of the loop. Hey, how about we get an arena deal done first, THEN talk about developing the Mellon Arena site. After all, there's no new development if there's no new arena :dang:

Well, given now that the Trib story has some legs, it looks as if things really are finalized, but I'm with you - I won't believe it until Mario Lemieux gets in front of the cameras and announces that the deal is done and the Pens are staying. I figured that the negotiations would go to or almost to the wire before something was announced one way or the other - they usually do. The fact that the team thus far hasn't asked the NHL for permission to move is a good sign in itself.

Nice read on the Ruutu story as well. It seems as if he's finally getting comfortable playing in the East - it may not seem so, but it's a big adjustment for players to go to a new conference, even if they have a full training camp to get ready. Some players can't make the transition smoothly (i.e. Nils Ekman) while others can (i.e. Brendan Shanahan or Joe Thornton last year). I just hope that Therrien is finally taking the shackles off him - he is at his best when he is mucking and grinding and being a real pain in the ass to his opponents. And now that the games are getting more important, you'll probably see more intensity come out of him as well. If the Pens are going to make it to the playoffs, they're going to need all the grit they can get.

X-Terminator
02-01-2007, 11:23 AM
Looks like the Trib and ESPN were premature...

Rendell: Arena offer revised, but deal not close yet

Thursday, February 01, 2007
By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Gov. Ed Rendell said today that state and local officials have revised their offer to the Penguins on a new arena but are not close to a deal to keep the team in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Rendell disputed a published report saying that a new arena deal could be announced today or tomorrow.

"The statements that this is close to a done deal -- that is not correct," he said. "We have given the Penguins a revised offer but in no way shape or form have they indicated it's over."

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review quoted state Sen. Wayne Fontana, a board member of the city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, which is involved in the negotiations, as saying an announcement could be made today or tomorrow.

The Penguins have declined comment on the talks.

At a press conference this morning, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he believes the parties "are close" but would not put a time frame on completion of an agreement.

"This is something that, when we get the opportunity to speak once again, could happen at any time," he said. "Or it could also take a few more weeks. I don't want to put some kind of artificial time table or time frame on the deal, or the agreement. We're still, internally through the SEA, preparing documentation, and lease agreements, and everything associated with the deal, and will continue to do so. And when we get the chance to get back together, we'll be able to talk more specifically about the details of the deal."

Mr. Ravenstahl said state and local officials were "eagerly anticipating" another meeting with the team and said one could occur before the end of the week, although nothing has been scheduled so far.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07032/758616-100.stm

BTW, Mr. Ravenstahl...you do NOT have a few weeks to come up with a deal. The 30-day deadline to have it done ends on SUNDAY, which the last time I checked was just 3 short days away. So I would suggest to you guys that you get cracking here - time's a wasting.

83-Steelers-43
02-01-2007, 01:18 PM
NHL, Penguins, Malkin win legal battle
Thursday, February 01, 2007

By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York yesterday dismissed two complaints Evgeni Malkin's former team in the Russian Super League, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, had filed against him, the Penguins and the NHL.

"We are very pleased that all aspects of the litigation concerning Evgeni Malkin's right to play hockey for the Pittsburgh Penguins have now concluded," Ted Black, the Penguins' vice president of business and legal affairs, said in a statement released by the team.

Formal dismissal of the compaints had been anticipated since mid-November, when Judge Loretta A. Preska denied Magnitogorsk's request for a temporary injunction that would have prevented Malkin from playing in the NHL. Magnitogorsk opted against appealing that ruling.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07032/758623-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-01-2007, 01:35 PM
And the roller coaster ride continues. It's not exactly shocking news when it comes to politics and negotiations. Oh well, let's get the deal done guys. Hopefully a deal will be completed by the time the nationally televised game on Saturday comes around. Announce it then.

83-Steelers-43
02-01-2007, 03:48 PM
Mayor: Arena Deal Getting Closer, Not Done Yet
Feb 1, 2007 4:15 pm US/Eastern

(AP) PITTSBURGH The Pittsburgh Penguins are getting closer to finalizing a new arena agreement with state and local leaders, but Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said Thursday there is no timetable for a deal.

Gov. Ed Rendell, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and Ravenstahl hope to hold the third in a series of negotiating sessions with the team soon, but no meeting has been scheduled.

"This is something that, when we get the opportunity to speak once again, could happen at any time," Ravenstahl said. "Or it could take a few more weeks. I don't want to put some kind of artificial timetable or time frame on the deal, or the agreement."

Considerable work needs to be done before an agreement is completed to build the new $290 million arena to replace 45-year-old Mellon Arena, the mayor said.

"When we get the chance to get back together, we'll be able to talk more specifically about the details of the deal," Ravenstahl said.

The Penguins have declined to comment on the negotiations, which appeared to hit a snag Jan. 18 when they walked out of a negotiating session that included Rendell, Onorato and Ravenstahl.

The team was unhappy about being asked to share parking and Mellon Arena site redevelopment revenue.

However, no team officials are known to have made a return trip to Kansas City, where Penguins chairman Mario Lemieux, co-owner Ron Burkle and team president Ken Sawyer visited last month before the Pittsburgh negotiations.

The team has threatened to move to Kansas City if a new arena deal in Pittsburgh is not reached within a few weeks - even though the NHL wants the team to stay.

Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie backed out of a $175 million deal to buy the Penguins in December when the NHL insisted he agree contractually to not move them.

http://kdka.com/topstories/local_story_032161058.html

SteelCityMan786
02-01-2007, 09:32 PM
Good Win By The Penguins. Another well played Game.

X-Terminator
02-01-2007, 11:02 PM
Just got in from the game - great game, but it should have been won in regulation time. Yeah, the Habs got some lucky bounces, but if someone on our team was able to win a friggin faceoff, the second SHG doesn't happen. Anyway, it was good to see the Pens knuckle down and get the win anyway in the shootout - their second straight shootout win. Fleury was outstanding again in OT, making several key saves when the Pens were short-handed late in the period. In the past, that would have meant an automatic loss for the Pens, but these aren't the "same old Pens" anymore. It was weird though watching them play 3 on 3 in OT - you rarely ever see it. Basically all you can do is play man-on-man D since there's so much ice out there. But it was a nice win and hopefully they can keep it rolling against the Caps on Saturday.

X-Terminator
02-02-2007, 04:01 AM
I say :upyours: to the highlighted statements. If the Pens leave town, I really hope you jackasses will be proud of yourselves. :upyours: :flipoff: :fingers:


Barden's casino was the 'best fit' for city, state
Pa. gaming board also cites PITG owner's charisma as factor in winning bid

Friday, February 02, 2007
By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Businessman Don Barden won over the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board with a casino proposal that represented the "best fit" for Pittsburgh and a personal charisma that spoke volumes about his dedication to the project.

In a 73-page opinion released yesterday, the gaming board said Mr. Barden and his company, PITG Gaming LLC, ended up winning the Pittsburgh slot machine license because his North Shore casino proved to be the "best overall project" for the city and the state.

At the same time, the board said one of his competitors, Forest City Enterprises, was hurt by traffic concerns at its Station Square site. It also had worries about the impact of Isle of Capri's proposed Uptown casino on the adjacent Hill District.

The board also went to considerable length to address the issue that dominated the debate over the Pittsburgh casino: the Isle of Capri pledge to provide $290 million for a new arena for the Penguins and other events.

In its opinion, the board said the alternative Plan B funding formula crafted by Gov. Ed Rendell "provided some degree of neutralization" to the Isle of Capri commitment. Plan B relied in part on promises by the two other casino bidders to provide $7.5 million a year for 30 years toward construction.

While the issue may have captivated the public, the board added in strong terms that it wasn't responsible under the state gambling law for keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

"While the board is not unsympathetic to Pittsburgh's hockey fans who fear the Penguins moving to another locale or to the local businesses which benefit from the Penguin's presence, the board is not beholden to award a license upon that basis if the board believes ... another project is better for gaming, the commonwealth and the public based upon all of the factors considered under the act," it said.

"A lot of us became tired of hearing how we were the ones to save the Penguins for Pittsburgh," board member Jeffrey Coy added at a news conference. "That was not the principal effort for us."

The board also said testimony during licensing hearings did not provide "the degree of confidence it desired" that the agreement between Isle of Capri and the Penguins would keep the team in Pittsburgh. The last-minute decision by Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie to drop his purchase of the team "provided further uncertainty as to IOC's impact on the future of the Penguins," the board said.

The release of formal "adjudications" and orders involving the Dec. 20 award of licenses for casinos in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, the Poconos and Bethlehem kicks off a 30-day period for losing applicants to appeal directly to the state Supreme Court.

Whether either Forest City or Isle of Capri will do so remains to be seen. Isle of Capri officials had no comment yesterday. Abe Naparstek, Forest City director of development, said, "We're in the process of reviewing [the opinion]."

In a statement, Mr. Barden, not surprisingly, praised the board's opinion, saying members "stayed true to their charge, carried out the law thoroughly and precisely, and were not distracted by any extraneous circumstances."

"On a personal note, I'm honored that the board has entrusted our company with this license. I can assure the board and the people of Pittsburgh that we will make them proud of this decision," he said.

However, until the appeal period ends, Mr. Barden won't be able to complete his purchase of the 17-acre site on which his casino will be built or start construction.

While he initially vowed to have the casino open by March 2008, his spokesman, Bob Oltmanns, said yesterday that date could slip, given how long it has taken the board to issue its formal opinions and the appeal period. He said it now could be "somewhere between March and May, contingent on when the license is awarded."

"Our target is still 14 months from the day of licensing," he said.

Regardless of the opening date, the board, in its opinion, said PITG Gaming's proposed Majestic Star casino, to be built on the Ohio River shore in Chateau, represented the best bet for Pittsburgh.

Overall, the casino plan "had a facility design, location on the North Shore and ability to mitigate traffic concerns that the board found to be of superior quality for the Pittsburgh region," the opinion stated.

"The board finds that PITG's facility design was, in the board's opinion, better than IOC's facility, that PITG's North Shore location boasts great potential for the rebirth of development and economic stimulus in that area and that PITG's ability to manage traffic was much better than that of [Forest City's] Station Square Gaming."

The board also lauded Mr. Barden's personal commitment to the project and the Pittsburgh community and to diversity, one of the factors to be taken into account under the state's gambling law. Mr. Barden has said the city casino would be the "flagship " of his Majestic Star chain.

"The calm intensity which Mr. Barden brought to this project and his undeniable dedication to make this project a success for all of Pennsylvania speaks volumes of his character and suitability for this license," the board stated.

While Mr. Barden is the only African-American casino owner to be awarded a license in Pennsylvania, board member Sanford Rivers, who also is African-American, said race was not a determining factor in the award.

"It was his package, his presentation, that impressed us," he said.

From the start, traffic was the biggest issue facing the Station Square site, with a mountain on one side and a river on the other, and the board said it was "unconvinced" the remedies proposed by Forest City to deal with it would be sufficient.

At the same time, it also had concerns about potential traffic congestion at the Isle of Capri casino site adjacent to the Hill. It feared casino traffic and that from the proposed arena next to it would create more congestion and "would likely cause detrimental effects to the surrounding neighborhood."

PITG Gaming's location, it said, had an advantage over the other two sites in that it did not border a residential neighborhood. It also said the $11 million to $12 million in traffic improvements Mr. Barden has proposed "will assist in easing congestion."

While the Steelers and Pirates have complained about the potential for more congestion and parking problems with a casino so close to Heinz Field and PNC Park, the board did not put much stock in those concerns.

If anything, a 4,100-space garage to be built by Mr. Barden should mitigate parking woes, the board said. It also didn't think a casino within several hundred yards of Heinz Field or PNC Park would have any detrimental impact on either of the teams or their leagues.

As for revenues, one of the most important components of the slots law, a gaming board task force projected that the Majestic Star and Isle of Capri casinos would generate about $482.2 million a year, compared to Forest City's $426.3 million.

While Forest City had projected revenues as high as $535.6 million, based on a rewards program offered by partner Harrah's Entertainment, the board said it was not convinced that the effect "would be as significant in Pittsburgh" as the bidder had argued.

The board also took issue with a plan by Forest City to eliminate nightclubs and restaurants on the east side of its complex to make way for a temporary casino, saying that would offset jobs created by a slots parlor.

On the other hand, it said the addition of a casino to the North Shore "has the potential to spur other commercial development in that area and make it a year-round tourist destination rather than its current seasonal nature depending in large part on sports venues."

During their news conference, several board members, including Chairman Tad Decker, said they never felt any political pressure to award a license one way or the other.

"I'm a friend of Ed Rendell and I didn't talk to him for six months," Mr. Decker quipped.

Mr. Barden and other casino operators will be eligible to receive their slots license upon payment of the $50 million license fee, which can happen either four months after all appeals have been exhausted, or 10 days prior to the casino's opening, whichever is sooner, spokesman Doug Harbach said.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07033/758892-61.stm

SteelCityMan786
02-02-2007, 09:38 AM
The PGCB is full of BULLSHIT! They just want to lose a big economic power. IOC was the most LOGICAL OF ALL PLANS!

HometownGal
02-02-2007, 12:19 PM
Contrary to a report this morning, the Pens have not finalized a deal to keep the team in Pittsburgh......yet.

http://postgazette.com/pg/07033/758870-61.stm

Penguins receive revised offer for new arena from officials
Friday, February 02, 2007

By Mark Belko and Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

State and local officials are continuing to tweak their offer to the Penguins, but have yet to complete a deal that will keep the team in Pittsburgh.

Gov. Ed Rendell said yesterday that he, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato have revised their offer to the team. But he added the two sides haven't completed a deal, contrary to one published report.

"We have given the Penguins a revised offer but in no way shape or form have they indicated it's over," he said. No details of the proposal were available.

The sides are hoping to set up a meeting next week, at which point they most likely will be trying to wrap up an agreement to build a new arena and keep the team in Pittsburgh under a 30-year lease.

Mr. Ravenstahl said he, Mr. Onorato and Mr. Rendell were "eagerly anticipating" their next meeting with the team. No date had been set up as of last night.

"This is something that, when we get the opportunity to speak once again, could happen at any time. Or it could also take a few more weeks. I don't want to put some kind of artificial timetable or time frame on the deal, or the agreement," he said.

The Penguins have declined comment on all aspects of the talks.

The team has set a soft 30-day deadline for deciding whether to accept a deal in Pittsburgh or seek to relocate to another city, most likely Kansas City, where a new $276 million arena opens next fall.

83-Steelers-43
02-02-2007, 12:22 PM
Penguins may accelerate Kansas City talks next week
Friday, February 02, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Penguins may accelerate talks with officials in Kansas City sometime next week if they aren't able to soon conclude negotiations in Pittsburgh on a new arena deal, a source close to the team said today.

However, even if the team stepped up those efforts, it does not mean it would end negotiations with state and local politicians on a deal here, the source stressed. Talks would proceed simultaneously on both fronts.

The Penguins are facing a soft 30-day deadline, one that expires this weekend, in providing an answer to Kansas City officials. Representatives in that city are offering the team free use of the $276 million Sprint Center next season, no construction costs, and half of the building revenues.

At the same time, Gov. Ed Rendell, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl are trying to complete an agreement to build a new arena and keep the team here under the Plan B funding formula utilizing gambling revenues and contributions from the team.

Mr. Onorato told an Airport Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast crowd this morning that he is still optimistic about keeping the team. State and local officials earlier this week presented the Penguins with a revised offer that could serve as a basis for an agreement.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07033/758954-100.stm

SteelCityMan786
02-02-2007, 12:56 PM
I just hope they don't accelerate KC Talks.

X-Terminator
02-02-2007, 01:19 PM
Y'know, HTG, the more I think about the story you posted and this entire saga, the more I'm starting to think that there is someone in the organization who, for whatever reason, does NOT want to strike a deal to keep the team here, and just bolt for KC. I don't know who it could be - Mario, Burkle or some other person - but something just does not smell right with this whole situation.

Big D
02-02-2007, 01:41 PM
I dont know jack sh!t about hockey. But I can tell you that kansas and missouri were part of my territory and hockey is not followed at all. You could only find box scores in there sports section.

HometownGal
02-02-2007, 02:04 PM
I dont know jack sh!t about hockey. But I can tell you that kansas and missouri were part of my territory and hockey is not followed at all. You could only find box scores in there sports section.

Kansas City had a hockey franchise for a couple of years back in the 70's (KC Scouts) and the team relocated to Denver and became the Colorado Rockies. There was not a market for hockey back then in KC and I doubt there would be now either. It would absolutely kill me to see our Pens relocated to KC and then handed around the NHL when the franchise would surely again flop there.

I'm still holding out hope that our Pens will remain where they belong - right here in Pittsburgh.

83-Steelers-43
02-02-2007, 03:37 PM
I just hope they don't accelerate KC Talks.

IMO, it's a false threat. Will they visit KC? Maybe. Sure why not? Doesn't mean they are going to sign papers on arrival. All part of the negotiating process. Seems when talks break off the threats come from both sides. Rendell going to the NHL board. Lemieux bragging about KC's deal. Houston rumors. :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah:

Obviously I'm not happy about a deal not being completed but I still have a good feeling that a deal will be reached in the near future. Keep keepin' the faith SCM. :cheers:

83-Steelers-43
02-02-2007, 03:56 PM
I dont know jack sh!t about hockey. But I can tell you that kansas and missouri were part of my territory and hockey is not followed at all. You could only find box scores in there sports section.

Yeah, they were the KC Scouts. Started up in '74' and folded in '76'. Owners were $900,000 in debt at the time they folded. They went to Denver and became the Rockies and eventually became the New Jersey Devils after '82'.

Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Houston and Kansas City. Once again, all I see are future Nashville's, Florida's, Atlanta's and Phoenix's. The league doesn't want any part of that after watching those arena's barely reaching half capacity night in and night out.

HometownGal
02-02-2007, 06:38 PM
Y'know, HTG, the more I think about the story you posted and this entire saga, the more I'm starting to think that there is someone in the organization who, for whatever reason, does NOT want to strike a deal to keep the team here, and just bolt for KC. I don't know who it could be - Mario, Burkle or some other person - but something just does not smell right with this whole situation.

You could be right, XT, but I won't believe that person is Mario. I don't know much about Burkle, but I am hoping his relationship with Eddie the Hut will be a key factor in this deal getting done. All we can do is wait.........and hope.

SteelCityMan786
02-02-2007, 08:25 PM
IMO, it's a false threat. Will they visit KC? Maybe. Sure why not? Doesn't mean they are going to sign papers on arrival. All part of the negotiating process. Seems when talks break off the threats come from both sides. Rendell going to the NHL board. Lemieux bragging about KC's deal. Houston rumors. :blah: :blah: :blah: :blah:

Obviously I'm not happy about a deal not being completed but I still have a good feeling that a deal will be reached in the near future. Keep keepin' the faith SCM. :cheers:

No Doubt man. I'm just keeping the faith that it's just a fake threat to the State who could have made lives easier for them.

83-Steelers-43
02-03-2007, 06:29 AM
Pens could be active at trade deadline

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, February 3, 2007


For the first time in years, the Penguins are playing meaningful hockey in February.

And in the coming weeks, they probably will find themselves in another situation they haven't experienced in a long time -- being buyers instead of sellers at the NHL trading deadline on Feb. 27.

General manager Ray Shero said Thursday that while he still doesn't know how active the Penguins will be at the deadline, they do have the ability to make moves if he finds a deal that will help them in their bid to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

"The things we did earlier in terms of where this team came from, the things with Andre Roy and John LeClair, were for a purpose, obviously," Shero said. "That did help us out as to where we are right now."

LeClair was making $1.5 million this year but was released by the Penguins in December. Roy was claimed on re-entry waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are now splitting the remainder of his $1 million salary this year and $1 million next year with the Penguins.

But just because the team has dollars to spend and room under the salary cap doesn't mean they'll automatically make a move.

"If I'm going to do something I want to be pretty certain it's going to help us and not just be a stab in the dark or trying to get an extra player to fill out the team," Shero said. "It's going to have to be a specific need and if it's there, wonderful, if it's not, that's OK, too. So we'll see."

One thing the Penguins won't do, Shero said, is give up a first-round pick for a player, as the Nashville Predators (for whom he was assistant GM) did last year for defenseman Brendan Witt before losing in the first round of the playoffs.

"We're in a different stage of our development than some other teams," Shero said. "Some teams will give up a first-round pick at the deadline. We won't. Eventually maybe we will over the next few years, but right now it's not our time to do that. That doesn't mean we don't want to get in and make waves. Certainly we do. So we'll see what's going to be out there."

The other concern -- and one that will be on the players' minds as the date draws near -- is not upsetting the chemistry the team has now.

"I think it's a very difficult decision for management to make because when you've got a good thing going, you might want to change a little something that you feel you need without upsetting what you already have," defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "It's a delicate situation sometimes."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_491595.html

83-Steelers-43
02-03-2007, 06:45 AM
Larger article dealing with KC and arena.........

Penguins may revisit K.C. if talks here sputter
Saturday, February 03, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

With Pittsburgh arena negotiations dragging on, the Penguins may step up talks next week with officials in Kansas City about a possible relocation.

Team officials will accelerate those negotiations if they are unable to complete substantially a deal with state and local leaders over the next few days or so to stay here, a source close to the Penguins said yesterday.

In Kansas City, the new $276 million Sprint Center will be ready to open this fall. To lure the team, officials are offering the Penguins a deal that includes no rent, no construction costs, no upfront payments, and half the building revenues.

After visiting the city Jan. 3 and 4, team co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle said they would decide within 30 days whether to stay in Pittsburgh or look to relocate. That "soft" deadline expires this weekend.

Since that first visit, officials in Kansas City, including those affiliated with Anschutz Entertainment Group, which will manage the Sprint Center and share revenues with the team, have adjusted their offer to the Penguins, although no details were available yesterday.

However, the team has not pro-actively engaged in discussions about a possible relocation, concentrating instead on reaching a deal with Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato to stay in Pittsburgh.

That could change in the next week or so if the two sides are unable to complete an agreement on financing a new building to replace Mellon Arena, the oldest in the National Hockey League.

The Penguins' current lease expires at the end of June, leaving the team free to move elsewhere.

Even if team officials step up talks with Kansas City, it does not mean they would end negotiations with state and local leaders here. Talks could proceed simultaneously on both fronts.

Neither AEG officials nor others in Kansas City could be reached for comment. The Penguins have declined comment on all aspects of the talks, both in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, and continued to do so yesterday.

No new negotiations have been scheduled so far. But the team and state and local leaders here are hoping to set up another round of talks next week, at which point they most likely will be seeking to wrap up a deal to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh under a 30-year lease.

Neil deMause, co-author of "Field of Schemes," a book about stadium financing controversies, saw the Penguins' stepped-up interest in Kansas City as designed "to light a fire under Pittsburgh."

"It may or may not be true, but I don't think they would be telling you or anybody that if they weren't trying to use it as leverage," he said.

He described it as the bargaining equivalent of the two-minute warning in football. "Teams say this all the time and they mean it about 5 percent [of the time]," he said, adding he would be surprised if the Penguins don't end up staying in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Rendell said Thursday that state and local officials have revised their offer to the team, although no details were disclosed. He, Mr. Ravenstahl and Mr. Onorato are trying to reach a deal under Plan B, the funding formula that relies on gambling revenues and team contributions to build an arena.

Plan B previously had been altered to reduce the team's share. The Penguins originally were to contribute $2.9 million a year for 30 years, plus $1.16 million annually in naming rights.

But Mr. Rendell said last week the team's contribution is now a "fraction" of the $2.9 million the Pirates annually put into PNC Park. It's unknown how naming rights factors into that.

Mr. Ravenstahl said yesterday he still believes "there's issues with the numbers, and that's what we're discussing, and until we have the ability to say, or they have the ability to say yes, we're still in a negotiation stage."

Nonetheless, he said he was not disappointed with the pace of the talks.

"Certainly we want this issue resolved as quickly as possible, and I continue to work to do so. But I wouldn't see it as a setback in any way that we haven't had discussions this week. It's just a matter of logistics, and timing, and matching up schedules of all of those involved."

Even with possible Penguins' negotiations with Kansas City looming, state Sen. Wayne Fontana, a board member for the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority, which is involved in the talks, said he still feels "very positive" that a deal will get done here.

"They've been exploring these options since the beginning. I imagine they will continue to do that until a deal's signed," he said.

Kate Philips, Mr. Rendell's spokeswoman, declined comment on the Kansas City developments.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07034/759140-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-03-2007, 07:44 AM
Personally, I wouldn't want to see them trade at this point. Not because of the way we are gelling, but what's really out there worth picking up? High priced over the hill players that teams are trying to dump. I think we learned last season what happens when we bring in high priced over the hill players. It's not worth it. Play out the season with what we have and look to free agency (or better trade material) for next season.

The only way I would make a trade is if it's for a young talented righthanded forward or defenseman but I don't see any of that on the trading block at this point in the season. Eitherway, I have complete faith and trust in whatever Ray Shero decides to do before February 27.

SteelCityMan786
02-03-2007, 09:36 AM
http://post-gazette.com/pg/07034/759122-61.stm

Penguins, Canadiens: Down & dirty

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Peter Diana, Post-Gazette
The Canadiens made it clear from the opening faceoff that knocking down Sidney Crosby was part of their plan Thursday night.

By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It's not lost on the Penguins that they have a game at 1:08 p.m. today against the Washington Capitals before they get another crack at Montreal tomorrow on the road, but that didn't stop some lingering feelings from surfacing after a 5-4 shootout win against the Canadiens in a physical game Thursday night.

The message seemed to be: Bring it on.

"The main thing is, we stick together," Penguins center and NHL leading scorer Sidney Crosby said yesterday. "As long as we keep that pack mentality, where everyone sticks up for each other, and we make sure that if they're messing with one guy, they're messing with the rest of the team, too, that makes us a tough team to play against."


Peter Diana, Post-Gazette
Mark Recchi grimaces after being crosschecked by the Canadiens' Andrei Markov in the second period Thursday night.
Click photo for larger image.

Scouting Report

Matchup: Penguins vs. Washington Capitals, 1:08 p.m. today, Mellon Arena.

TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WXDX-FM (105.9).

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury for Penguins. Olaf Kolzig for Capitals.

Penguins: Are on 7-0-1 run. ... Are 2-7-1 in first of back-to-back games, 4-6-3 vs. Atlantic Division.

Capitals: Have lost two games in a row and four of their past five. ... Are 2-7-1 in first of back-to-back games and have been outscored, 36-11, in the seven losses. ... Beat Penguins, 5-4, in shootout Dec. 11.

Hidden stat: The Capitals have won seven games in a row and are 8-1-1 this season when Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin each score at least once.

Related articles

Penguins may revisit K.C. if talks here sputter

Penguins Notebook: ... And Malkin makes three

The Five hole: A five-step trip through the stars and numbers of the week for Jan. 26 - Feb. 1



Of particular interest in the hard-hitting game were Maxim Lapierre's butt-ending of Crosby on the game's opening faceoff and Colby Armstrong's hard hit on Canadiens leading scorer Saku Koivu near the end boards in the second period, which was followed by Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray going after Armstrong.

Penguins coach Michel Therrien bristled yesterday when told that Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau pointed a finger after the game at the Penguins for the incident on the opening faceoff because the home team has the final say on line changes.

"This is the line I put in," Carbonneau said. "All he had to do was put Crosby on the bench. He doesn't have to play his best player against our fourth line."

Therrien responded, "Carbonneau should have looked at our last 25 games. No matter who's on the ice to start the game, it's always Sidney Crosby. He's not going to dictate the way we want to put players on the ice."

Crosby downplayed the incident, saying he has been a target since he played youth hockey. He has been involved in some incidents in his two NHL seasons, most notably a spear from Jason Blake of the New York Islanders last month.

Therrien took a harder stance.

"We see more and more Sidney receiving cheap shots in games," the coach said. "It's got to stop. He's the best player in the league. ... The league's got to protect players like this."

After the Canadiens' practice yesterday in Montreal, Carbonneau told reporters that Armstrong's hit on Koivu was "legal" but also called it a "cheap shot" and said there should have been a penalty. He also remained upset that Souray got minor and major penalties, a 10-minute misconduct and a game-misconduct while Armstrong was not penalized. That gave the Penguins a seven-minute power play on which they scored twice -- but also gave up a shorthanded goal.

Carbonneau added that he and general manager Bob Gainey planned to discuss the incident with league officials.

Therrien not only thought Armstrong's hit was clean, but he also liked the tradeoff the penalties brought.

"I thought that was a great, hard hit by Colby Armstrong, and it had a big impact on the game," he said. "Sheldon Souray is probably one of the best defensemen for them and one of the premier defensemen in the league, and he got kicked out of the game."

Some of the game's intensity no doubt stemmed from both teams clawing to stay in contention for a playoff spot. Like the Penguins and Canadiens, Washington is desperate to qualify for the postseason in a tight Eastern Conference, so the game today also could have a playoff atmosphere.

Whether that means it could get physical remains to be seen, but the Penguins say they are ready for any team that wants to play hardball.

"I think we have guys with toughness and who can play, and that's the best combination," center Dominic Moore said. "You take Army's hit there, it wasn't anything dirty, just good, clean hockey in a physical game, and that's what you look for."

The Penguins rejected the notion that they need an enforcer, a player whose primary responsibility is retaliating, fighting and keeping opponents honest. In fact, they had such a player in Andre Roy, but they let him go on waivers in December.

"I see where people are coming from about an enforcer, but I think it's more of an old-school mentality than where the game's at right now," defenseman Brooks Orpik said.

"You look around the room, guy to guy, I think everyone's going to stick up for one another. Maybe right now we don't have what you might call a heavyweight, but I don't think there's anyone on the team that goes into the game afraid of the other team cheap-shotting them or going after them."

Besides, someone with such a limited role could upset the four-line balance the team has developed.

"There's different ways to react, and, right now, guys stick together," Therrien said. "When Sid receives a shot, the guys stick their nose there. But I saw [defenseman Alain] Nasreddine receive a hard hit in Phoenix, and Brooks Orpik stuck up for his teammate.

"As long as those guys are going to stick together like that, I don't have any problem."

SteelCityMan786
02-03-2007, 02:37 PM
Good, hard, well earned win for the Penguins. 2-0 and an afternoon that really went well.

X-Terminator
02-03-2007, 02:59 PM
Bad, bad mentality by the players on not needing an enforcer. How many more cheap shots is Sid or Malkin going to have to take before Shero brings a heavyweight in? After they're put on IR? There isn't one guy on our team who would be able to do a damn thing about someone like Todd Fedoruk or Darcy Hordichuk or Donald Brashear (though he did not play today) or even Sheldon Souray (who was a pretty damn good fighter early in his career) taking runs at our stars. Remember folks, it was Hordichuk who put Ziggy Palffy on the shelf for good last season. I am one fan who is sick and tired of seeing the abuse they take with no one on the team who can retaliate in kind. If it's true that they're thinking about acquiring Georges Laraque, they need to do it, because he can play the game a little bit while being the deterrent that the team desperately needs. Besides, he has a history with Michel Therrien - he brought him in in juniors to fight Peter Worrell, who was terrorizing the QMJHL back then.

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 05:00 AM
Good, hard, well earned win for the Penguins. 2-0 and an afternoon that really went well.

Agreed. No complaints here. Six wins in a row and rolling.

Also.....

Sid got the Dapper Dan: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07035/759326-61.stm

Colby to miss today's game: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07035/759340-61.stm

HometownGal
02-04-2007, 08:33 AM
Good, hard, well earned win for the Penguins. 2-0 and an afternoon that really went well.

Most definitely SCM! :cheers: This team exuberates confidence right now and I hope it continues. Fleury has been outstanding in goal - I was happy to see him record another shutout yesterday! :thumbsup: Holding Ovechkin to no points and only 3 shots was a feat in itself - he was on the ice for 24 minutes! On to meet the Habs this afternoon at 2:00.

XT - I agree - we do need a Jack Lambert on skates. Some of these shots Malkin and Crosby are taking are beyond ridiculous. I'm not a fan of Laraque and hope the Pens can find a better choice if they are indeed looking to sign an enforcer, but there doesn't seem to be much else available.

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 01:30 PM
Jordan Staal with the 5 on 3 PP goal. I'm still trying to figure out what the Canadien fans are pissing and moaning about. Every penalty they took was a legit call on the officials part.

1-0 Pens after one.

SteelCityMan786
02-04-2007, 02:21 PM
Alright. good start Pens!

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 02:24 PM
2-1 Pens. Whitney with the second goal. Montreal continues to take stupid penalties. Man we look good. Even on the PP's that we don't score on we are putting on some heavy pressure.

Team is just playing great hockey. Minus Ouellet bringing absolutely nothing to the table, the team as a whole is playing excellent.

SteelCityMan786
02-04-2007, 02:39 PM
WOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO! LET'S GO PENS!

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 02:55 PM
Habs tie it up at 2-2 on a PP goal early in the third. I would rather it come now than with five minutes left in the third.

You better believe the officials will try to even up this game.

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 03:02 PM
Habs make it 3-2 on another PP. 14:01 left and down by one.

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 03:09 PM
That's nice, Bouillon high sticks Sid in the face directly in front of the Habs net and there is no call. I understand the refs trying to even it up, but when it comes to sticks to the face you have to draw the line.

SteelCityMan786
02-04-2007, 03:17 PM
DAMN IT! COME ON PENS!

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 03:20 PM
They just mauled Crosby. Penguin PP coming on up! Bouillon is a ****ing goon.

If I were Therrien, I would call the T.O.

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 03:24 PM
PENS SCORE!!!!!!

Ouellet has a pulse!!!

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 03:29 PM
3-3 going into OT. Hell, I'll be content if we only get one point out of Montreal on the road while on a 7 game winning streak. I'll take the one point.

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 03:34 PM
Habs win in OT. Sid with one too many moves, lost the puck, turned into a 2 on 1 and the Habs score. Oh well, it happens to the best of them. At least we got the point. The win streak can't last forever.

Good effort guys. Regroup and get ready for a very tough Nashville team.

X-Terminator
02-04-2007, 03:35 PM
Actually, I think Ouellet has played rather well ever since he's been put with Malkin and Staal - scored the game winner against Florida. He has 30 points in 44 games, which isn't bad for a guy who's played most of the season on the 3rd line.

BTW, that is the first game the Pens have lost when leading after 2 periods.

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 03:38 PM
DAMN IT! COME ON PENS!

They listened to you SCM and scored on the PP late. They got one point. :cheers:

We should put you next to Therrien next game. :wink02:

SteelCityMan786
02-04-2007, 03:42 PM
They listened to you SCM and scored on the PP late. They got one point. :cheers:

We should put you next to Therrien next game. :wink02:

I'll take one point.

And yes we should. LOL.

83-Steelers-43
02-04-2007, 03:46 PM
And yes we should. LOL.

Just don't insult Ouellet and Therrien will love you. :sofunny:

You will also have to buy suits that don't match. :wink02:

J/k. I like Therrien, but those suits are almost as bad as Stan's and the love affair with Ouellet is just a tad bit overbearing. I will expect to see you behind the bench on Tuesday.

SteelCityMan786
02-04-2007, 04:38 PM
Just don't insult Ouellet and Therrien will love you. :sofunny:

You will also have to buy suits that don't match. :wink02:

J/k. I like Therrien, but those suits are almost as bad as Stan's and the love affair with Ouellet is just a tad bit overbearing. I will expect to see you behind the bench on Tuesday.

:sofunny: Just waiting for Therrien to give me the call.

HometownGal
02-05-2007, 08:42 AM
Actually, I think Ouellet has played rather well ever since he's been put with Malkin and Staal - scored the game winner against Florida. He has 30 points in 44 games, which isn't bad for a guy who's played most of the season on the 3rd line.



I have no problem with Ouelett's production. It's not like anyone expected him to be a 50 goal scorer or anywhere near the calibre of Crosby, Malkin or Staal. He has seemed to play a lot better since being put on that 2nd line. All 4 lines seem to be contributing and as long as they continue to do so, I can't complain.

Very exciting game in Montreal yesterday afternoon. I had hoped we would pull it off in OT, but I'll gladly take the point and enjoy holding firm in second place in the East. :thumbsup:

83-Steelers-43
02-05-2007, 08:56 AM
LOL.......:coffee: :yawn:

* More than once on Sunday against the Montreal Canadiens, Sidney Crosby wanted a penalty called but the referees either didn't see the infraction or didn't agree. The greatest example of that came with just more than five minutes left in regulation when defenseman Francis Bouillon high-sticked Crosby behind the Canadiens' net. Crosby's head snapped back and he dropped to the ice but wound up skating to the bench checking his face for blood with no call on the play. He was booed by many of the 21,273 in attendance every time he touched the puck after that. "I grew up liking this team," Crosby said. "My like for the team has probably changed since then. But they're passionate fans. It's a road game."

* Quotable: "He told me not to go down. I said, 'If you get a stick in the face we'll see how tough you are. See if you don't go down.' It's funny, you get a high stick and you're not supposed to go down anymore." Crosby, on a conversation with Canadiens winger Aaron Downey after Bouillon's high stick.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_491768.html

X-Terminator
02-05-2007, 12:53 PM
I have no problem with Ouelett's production. It's not like anyone expected him to be a 50 goal scorer or anywhere near the calibre of Crosby, Malkin or Staal. He has seemed to play a lot better since being put on that 2nd line. All 4 lines seem to be contributing and as long as they continue to do so, I can't complain.

Very exciting game in Montreal yesterday afternoon. I had hoped we would pull it off in OT, but I'll gladly take the point and enjoy holding firm in second place in the East. :thumbsup:

That's the problem though - some fans expect him to be a 50-goal scorer and won't accept anything less than that. But the guy has put up solid numbers this season - 11 goals, 19 assists, 30 pts. and is just a -1 for the season, again, despite playing most of the year on the 3rd line. OK, so he's scored 8 of his goals on the power play, but they count just the same. I even said that he had no business being on the 3rd line, that he was being totally misused and that if he was put with more talented players, he would perform much better. So long as Therrien keeps him with Malkin and Staal, I can see him getting close to 20 goals and 45-50 points when it's all said and done. I'll certainly take that.

It was a tough loss yesterday, but hey, you and I both predicted that they'd hit a snag up there. Every point they get is precious, as we head down the stretch toward the playoffs.

83-Steelers-43
02-05-2007, 01:17 PM
:toofunny:

Anyways....

Good read SCM on the month of March for the Penguins. While it's only Feb. 5, hopefully the young guys step it up late and keep those legs moving come March. Tough schedule coming up in March.


Grueling March schedule will test Penguins

By Guy Junker
FOR THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, February 5, 2007


Mark Recchi turned 39 last Thursday, which is young for many things in life but not for playing professional hockey.
Yet, Recchi seems to have found a fountain of youth this season. The question is, how effective will he be when the Penguins' schedule becomes absolutely brutal in March?

The Pens begin the month with eight games in 14 days. In mid-month, they play five games in seven days. That stretch comes in the middle of playing 11 games in 19 days.

That will be hard on a veteran like Recchi, and young players such as Jordan Staal and Evgeni Malkin haven't endured the grind of an 82-game schedule. Staal played 66 and 68 games the past two seasons in Peterborough, and Malkin has averaged only 43 games the past three years in Russia -- or 59 games per year if you count international play.

Young legs can fatigue as easily as old legs. Plus, both goaltenders will have to be used to stay fresh. Jocelyn Thibault could become a crucial player.

That's why if the Penguins are going to make a playoff run, they need to be in a good position before they play 17 games in March. It will be harder to play as well then as they are now.

* One NHL statistic I'd like see is penalties drawn. Before Sunday's games, the Penguins were third in the NHL in power-play opportunities and their power play was fourth best in the league. The combination is great. They get plenty of chances and convert often.

Sidney Crobsy draws a lot of penalties, and it really puts the opposition in a dilemma. They either have to stop him legally, which is impossible to do for long. Or, they must face a lethal power play.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_491776.html

HometownGal
02-05-2007, 01:32 PM
That's the problem though - some fans expect him to be a 50-goal scorer and won't accept anything less than that. But the guy has put up solid numbers this season - 11 goals, 19 assists, 30 pts. and is just a -1 for the season, again, despite playing most of the year on the 3rd line. OK, so he's scored 8 of his goals on the power play, but they count just the same. I even said that he had no business being on the 3rd line, that he was being totally misused and that if he was put with more talented players, he would perform much better. So long as Therrien keeps him with Malkin and Staal, I can see him getting close to 20 goals and 45-50 points when it's all said and done. I'll certainly take that.

It was a tough loss yesterday, but hey, you and I both predicted that they'd hit a snag up there. Every point they get is precious, as we head down the stretch toward the playoffs.

XT - I know. :toofunny: Yes - Ouellet has put up decent numbers and as I said, I have no problem with his performance, especially most recently. I didn't have unreasonable expectations of him going into the season and as long as he is doing his part, which I believe he is - he is a-OK in my book. :thumbsup:

Yes, it was a very tough loss, but they had to have a bit of a letdown as good as they've been playing. I wonder if we'll see Thibault tomorrow night in goal against the Predators?

Big D
02-05-2007, 01:37 PM
:popcorn:

83-Steelers-43
02-05-2007, 01:41 PM
:popcorn:

lol, I hear ya. Scary. :yawn:

83-Steelers-43
02-05-2007, 02:06 PM
*pin drops*....

Mario Lemieux? Governor Rendell? Mr. Burkle? You guys still there? :lost:

83-Steelers-43
02-05-2007, 02:16 PM
I love this time of year in the NHL. Trade rumors flying around and we actually have the money to spend (not saying we should). For the first time in a long time we are not dumping players. Anyways.....

Trade rumor flying around...

"Adrian Aucoin: Will be traded. To who? Pittsburgh. For what? Brooks Orpik, and a 4th rounder. He's a solid defensive player, and will help a team like Pittsburgh alot. Pittsburgh can afford him, actually probably 5 or 6 Aucoins, but they don't need that many."

http://www.hockeytraderumors.com/modules.p...le&sid=8132

83-Steelers-43
02-05-2007, 03:07 PM
TOP 25 AVAILABLE PLAYERS FOR TRADE

With the trade deadline quickly approaching (Feb. 27, 2007), TFP outlines some of the top names rumored to be available for trade.

As part of TFP's Trade Deadline Coverage, this page will be updated daily and TFP's Panel of Experts will offer ring in regularly, offering their two-cents.

1. Peter Forsberg, C (PHI)

Now that Forsberg has waived his no-trade clause, the biddings are have begun. Many teams will trying to acquire him, and the rumors will increase on a daily basis.
Salary: $5,750,000 | Age: 33 Speculated Teams Showing Interested: Anaheim, Montreal, Detroit, NY Rangers, Toronto, Vancouver, Colorado, Nashville, Atlanta, San Jose, Carolina NOT YET TRADED

2. Todd Bertuzzi, LW (FLA)

A UFA this summer, Bertuzzi will draw some interest before the trade deadline. Despite being currently injured, teams would love to get their hands on him for a playoff run.
Salary: $5,269,080 | Age: 31 --- NOT YET TRADED

3. Ladislav Nagy, LW (PHX)

Various reports suggest Nagy isn't interested in re-signing with the Coyotes this summer, prompting speculation that he'll be dealt to a Cup contender.
Salary: $3,000,000 | Age: 27 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Montreal, NY Rangers, Toronto NOT YET TRADED

4. Shane Doan, RW (PHX)

Despite the Coyotes offering Doan a new contract, he's still attracting interest from many clubs across the league.
Salary: $3,382,000 | Age:30 Detroit NOT YET TRADED

5. Keith Tkachuk, LW (STL)

TK has a no-trade clause, however it's believed he'd be willing to waive it in order to go to a Cup contender.
Salary: $3,800,000 | Age: 34 Dallas, NY Rangers, Carolina NOT YET TRADED

6. Brad Stuart, D (BOS)

Reports claim the B's are having a tough time trying to re-sign Stuart to an extension. If the two sides do not agree to a new deal by the deadline, he'll likely get moved.
Salary: $2,400,000 | Age: 27 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Edmonton, Carolina, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Vancouver, Calgary NOT YET TRADED

7. Bill Guerin, RW (STL)

Like his teammates, Tkachuk, Guerin is set to be a UFA this summer and also has a no-trade clause. The Blues' lone All-Star could fetch a decent return if dealt.
Salary: $2,000,000 | Age: 36 NY Islanders, Vancouver NOT YET TRADED

8. Adrian Aucoin, D (CHI)

The Blackhawks are supposedly shopping their top defenseman and want some youth in return. His high salary, though, might prevent a deal from going down.
Salary: $4,000,000 | Age: 33 Montreal NOT YET TRADED

9. Mats Sundin, C (TOR)

The Leafs are expected to pick up the team option on Sundin's contract, and if they do, rumors should stop. Ducks GM Brian Burke flat out denied having any interest in Sundin.
Salary: $7,600,000 | Age: 35 --- NOT YET TRADED

10. Eric Brewer, D (STL)

Brewer's very popular lately, as many teams have called the Blues asking about his availability. With the Blues' recent surge, though, the team may try to re-sign him.
Salary: $2,014,000 | Age: 27 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Edmonton, Atlanta, Boston, Carolina, Nashville NOT YET TRADED

11. Darcy Tucker, LW (TOR)

Tucker and the Leafs are negotiating a contract extension. He'll be a UFA this July and says he wants to remain a Leaf. Nevertheless, the rumors continue.
Salary: $1,596,000 | Age: 31 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Calgary, Edmonton, Dallas, San Jose NOT YET TRADED

12. Craig Conroy, C (LA)

The Kings have been dangling Conroy for some time. His experience could benefit many playoff-bound teams.
Salary: $2,394,000 | Age: 35 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Calgary, Montreal, Atlanta TRADED TO CALGARY
(Jan. 29)

13. Gary Roberts, LW (FLA)

Reports out of South Florida claim Roberts is willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to a contender.
Salary: $2,250,000 | Age: 40 Toronto, Dallas NOT YET TRADED

14. Bryan Smolinski, C (CHI)

The Hawks are shopping this veteran center and there appears to be a few teams interested. Many scouts have appeared at Chicago's latest games.
Salary: $1,520,000 | Age: 35 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Montreal, Atlanta, Anaheim, NY Islanders, Carolina NOT YET TRADED

15. Nick Boynton, D (PHX)

If the Coyotes fall out of playoff race, the team could really clean house. Not only could they move Doan and Nagy, but Boynton's an option, as well, who is drawing much interest.
Salary: $2,950,000 | Age: 28 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: San Jose, Nashville NOT YET TRADED

16. Martin Rucinsky, RW (STL)

Rucinsky is among the few Blues players signed into next season. The Rangers keep knocking on St. Louis' door, hoping to reunite him with Jaromir Jagr.
Salary: $1,750,000 | Age: 35 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: NY Rangers NOT YET TRADED

17. Marco Sturm, LW (BOS)

The Bruins could opt to deal Sturm rather than risk losing him for nothing via free agency.
Salary: $2,100,000 | Age: 28 --- NOT YET TRADED

18. Aaron Miller, D (LA)

The Kings are expected to clean house and Miller could be the next to go. He would bring solid value and experience to a Cup contender's blueline.
Salary: $2,280,000 | Age: 35 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Atlanta, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Dallas NOT YET TRADED

19. Jason Blake, C (NYI)

The Isles say they want to keep him and sign him to an extension, but rumors continue to suggest otherwise.
Salary: $1,558,000 | Age: 33 --- NOT YET TRADED

20. Jozef Stumpel, C (FLA)

This veteran's experience could help a playoff-bound team down the stretch and the Panthers are supposedly shopping him.
Salary: $1,750,000 | Age: 34 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Atlanta NOT YET TRADED

21. Brent Sopel, D (LA)

Sopel is among the available defensemen surfacing around the NHL and could bring the Kings a solid return. He's also set to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
Salary: $2,400,000 | Age: 30 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Pittsburgh, Dallas NOT YET TRADED

22. Fredrik Modin, LW (CBJ)

Modin, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, is being shopped by the Blue Jackets, according to reports.
Salary: $2,204,000 | Age: 32 --- NOT YET TRADED

23. Joe Corvo, D (OTT)

Reports out of Ottawa suggest the Senators are shopping Corvo in hopes of swapping him for another defenseman.
Salary: $2,500,000 | Age: 29 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Edmonton NOT YET TRADED

24. Richard Zednik, LW (WAS)

Zednik will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Capitals are trying to move him.
Salary: $1,976,000 | Age: 31 --- NOT YET TRADED

25. Sergei Samsonov, LW (MTL)

Samsonov's salary (and horrible season) could prevent a deal from happening, however the Habs are trying to package him for a top-level player.
Salary: $3,525,000 | Age: 28 Speculated Teams Showing Interest: Chicago, Philadelphia NOT YET TRADED

Notable mentions rumored to be on the trade block

Sean Avery (LA) TRADED TO NYR
Anson Carter (CBJ)
Pascal Dupuis (MIN)
Radek Dvorak (STL)
Chris Gratton (FLA)
Martin Lapointe (CHI)
Ryan Malone (PIT)
Brendan Morrison (VAN)
Vaclav Prospal (TB)
Petr Prucha (NYR)
Geoff Sanderson (PHI)
Mike York (PHI)
Jassen Cullimore (CHI)
Derian Hatcher (PHI)
Andrew Hutchinson (CAR)
Ken Klee (COL)
Derek Morris (PHX)
Janne Niinimaa (MTL)
David Tanabe (CAR)
Mike Van Ryn (FLA)
Ossi Vaananen (COL)
David Aebischer (MTL)
Robert Esche (PHI)
Mathieu Garon (LA)
Jose Theodore (COL)

http://www.thefourthperiod.com/trade_deadline/topnames.html

SteelCityMan786
02-05-2007, 05:01 PM
Maybe we can get people for Malone if they decide that his time in Pittsburgh is done. I hope they keep Malone though. It would be nice to see one of the youngest Pittsburgh born hockey products win one with the Penguins.

83-Steelers-43
02-05-2007, 05:10 PM
Maybe we can get people for Malone if they decide that his time in Pittsburgh is done. I hope they keep Malone though. It would be nice to see one of the youngest Pittsburgh born hockey products win one with the Penguins.

I would love nothing more than to see a Pittsburgh born player prosper in the NHL, but Malone has been playing on that top line for how long now (if not on one, then on two) and he's still not producing on the level in which I believe the Penguins were expecting. The kid is on the rumor block year after year it appears that this year is no different.

Toronto and Boston are the two teams I keep hearing about who have interest in Malone. We shall see SCM.

SteelCityMan786
02-05-2007, 05:15 PM
I would love nothing more than to see a Pittsburgh born player prosper in the NHL, but Malone has been playing on that top line for how long now (if not on one, then on two) and he's still not producing on the level in which I believe the Penguins were expecting. The kid is on the rumor block year after year it appears that this year is no different.

Toronto and Boston are the two teams I keep hearing about who have interest in Malone. We shall see SCM.

We Shall See is right. No Doubt about that 83.

X-Terminator
02-05-2007, 11:30 PM
XT - I know. :toofunny: Yes - Ouellet has put up decent numbers and as I said, I have no problem with his performance, especially most recently. I didn't have unreasonable expectations of him going into the season and as long as he is doing his part, which I believe he is - he is a-OK in my book. :thumbsup:

Yes, it was a very tough loss, but they had to have a bit of a letdown as good as they've been playing. I wonder if we'll see Thibault tomorrow night in goal against the Predators?

My guess is that Therrien comes back with Fleury against Nashville - Sunday's game notwithstanding, he's been one of the hotter goalies in the league the past couple of weeks and the Pens have the best chance of beating the Preds with him in goal. However, with the Pens' schedule about to get more grueling, Thibault will be called upon quite a bit in order to give MAF some rest before the final playoff push. In fact, I see him in goal vs. Philly on Thursday night, then MAF back in between the pipes in Toronto on Saturday night.

X-Terminator
02-06-2007, 01:33 AM
GM Shero's former team is running at full speed

Tuesday, February 06, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


With Nashville hitting town, Penguins general manager Ray Shero invited his former boss, Predators general manager David Poile, out to dinner last night, wives included.

"I didn't tell them how cold it was here. Buyer beware," Shero said slyly yesterday.

By all accounts, the two have a long and warm relationship. Shero spent the previous eight seasons as Poile's right-hand man with the Predators. That doesn't mean they will be sharing team secrets in advance of their game tonight at Mellon Arena -- not that they could tell one another much they didn't already know.

Shero worked closely with Poile, who has built Nashville from a fledgling expansion club in 1998-99 to a speedy, solid team that took over the top spot in the NHL standings nearly three weeks ago.

The Predators are an amalgam of their draft picks and players acquired through free agency, trades and waivers.

Although their leading scorer, winger Paul Kariya, is 26 points behind NHL leader Sidney Crosby of the Penguins, the Predators have eight players with 10 or more goals and are second in the NHL with 186 goals and an average of 3.44 per game. Yet they are stingy enough defensively to rank seventh at 2.50 goals against per game.

They are deep enough that their second line consists of Steve Sullivan, whose 10-game points streak has tied the franchise record he set last season; center Jason Arnott, who has a four-game goals streak and seven-game points streak; and J.P. Dumont, who has a career-high 32 assists, including five over his past six games.

"They look really legit," Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "The conference is so much better and they're still dominating, so that says a lot."

Finding and developing the right players helped Nashville finish above .500 for the first time and make the playoffs in 2003-04. The Predators won a franchise-best 38 games last season and again made the playoffs.

Although Nashville had disappointing first-round exits each of the past two springs, the improvement is unmistakable.

It's a model Shero, nine months into his first GM job, envisions for the Penguins, who are solidly in the playoff hunt and, at 8-0-2 in their past 10 games, are playing their best hockey in years.

"The way I wanted to try to build this team is through every avenue," Shero said. "You look at Nashville or Anaheim, that's the way it's done. You utilize everything you can.

"Nashville has speed up front, a good puck-moving defense and they're getting good goaltending. They've got the most points for a reason."

Barry Trotz, the only coach Nashville has had, said Shero deserves some credit for that and can be expected to help create the same sort of rise with the Penguins.

"I think Ray within the organization had a big hand in it with David Poile," Trotz said.

"I think a lot of the things that he's instituted in Pittsburgh are things that we've done here. I think he's done a great job finding a balance of young guys."

The Penguins, who canceled practice yesterday after playing three games in four days and four games in six days, aren't at Nashville's level yet, but they will get a chance to see how they stack up against the NHL's best club.

"We'll play simple," Penguins winger Mark Recchi said. "We know they have a lot of speed. They have very well-balanced scoring, and they have some good young [defensemen], so we're going to have to be ready."

The Penguins have a bit of an advantage in Shero, who can offer some insight on the Predators.

"I would expect him to trade some secrets to his coach and to the people there because he's very competitive," Trotz said.

Shero admitted he would help out as much as he can, but he's confident the Penguins can handle things without the inside information.

"I think we match up well with any team," he said. "Hopefully, part of our success is not worrying about the other team but worrying about ourselves."

Shero doesn't have to worry about divided loyalties very often. With the NHL's schedule parameters, the Penguins of the Eastern Conference and Predators of the Western Conference play just two games over three seasons. This is their only meeting this season.

"It's great to see they're having such a good year," Shero said of Nashville. "With due respect to all my friends there, I'm cheering for one team [tonight], and that's Pittsburgh."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07037/759763-61.stm


Sadly, I see the Pens getting handed tonight - Nashville is too tough a team for them to play against right now.

X-Terminator
02-06-2007, 01:44 AM
No reason Pens shouldn't make the postseason

By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Penguins are not going to go 8-0-2 in every 10-game segment the rest of the way, but nor are the Penguins going to go away.

Barring a catastrophic injury to an irreplaceable player -- and there seem to be more of those emerging each week -- the Penguins are a playoff team as we speak.

Experience the evolution?

They've evolved.

There remains a tremendous potential upside waiting to be realized, and that isn't about to happen this spring. So it isn't time to position Ray Shero on an aircraft carrier in front of a banner just yet.

But reaching the postseason this year is an attainable goal, to the extent that the Penguins ought to feel as if they've let something slip away in the event they aren't playing beyond the first week of April.

And that couldn't be said with any degree of certainty or credibility back in October.

The reasons it can be uttered aloud now include, in no particular order:

• The growth of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from a prospect who had a frustrating habit of playing just well enough to lose by either a 2-1 or 6-5 count into a professional capable of making the key save no matter the circumstances.

• The emergence of Sidney Crosby as the NHL's best player, Evgeni Malkin as the NHL's best rookie and Jordan Staal as potentially the top goal-scoring rookie not named Evgeni Malkin.

• The re-emergence of Mark Eaton as a role-playing difference-maker on the blueline and as the perfect complement to Sergei Gonchar.

• The development of Ryan Whitney into the combustible offensive defenseman the Penguins envisioned when they drafted him fifth overall in 2002.

• The discovery by Mark Recchi along the way to 500 goals that 39 is apparently the new 29 on ice. The stat sheet will attest to that.

But these Penguins have also achieved significant advances intangibly, which have become components as integral in their metamorphosis as their fourth-ranked power play.

Their camaraderie has inspired a heightened sense of competitiveness.

Their togetherness has spawned a much-improved team toughness.

And their coaching staff, through trial and error, has discovered the right buttons to push to help allow it all to come together ahead of schedule.

These Penguins will need all of the above to finish the job, particularly in March when they cash in their games-in-hand on the rest of the Eastern Conference while playing an agonizing 17 times in 31 days.

They might even need the juiced-up offensive contributions from Ryan Malone and/or Colby Armstrong they've been waiting on to survive that gauntlet.

Then again, they might not.

If the first 52 games have revealed anything, it's that the Penguins have proven to be as resourceful as they are resolute.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_491884.html

X-Terminator
02-06-2007, 01:58 AM
Here you go, HTG - a good article expanding on the point I made about Fleury's recent play...


Confident Fleury behind Penguins' recent streak

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Marc-Andre Fleury smiles sheepishly when asked about his outstanding play in recent weeks.

The Penguins' goaltender is his usual attention-deflecting self, turning praise toward his teammates for clearing rebounds and blocking shots to make his job easy, then says he's just taking it one game at a time.

"The most important thing is to win," Fleury said. "That's what we want."

Thanks in large part to Fleury, the Penguins have been doing a lot of that lately.

Although they lost to the Montreal Canadiens in overtime Sunday to end their season-high winning streak at six games, the Penguins still have points in 10 consecutive games (8-0-2) dating to Jan. 13. By collecting 18 out of a possible 20 points, the Penguins have catapulted from the outside looking in to sixth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

The Penguins have 30 games remaining, beginning with tonight's home game against the NHL-leading Nashville Predators.

Fleury, 22, has played in nine of those 10 games, compiling a 7-0-2 record and allowing 22 goals on 293 shots for a .924 save percentage. The Penguins were outshot in all but two of the nine games.

"He's been unbelievable," Penguins rookie center Jordan Staal said. "He's kept us in every game, and that's what good goaltenders do. When we scored three goals, he tried to keep them at two. He's been there for us, and that's why we're winning."

Fleury's 24 wins this year tie him with the Buffalo Sabres' Ryan Miller, the Atlanta Thrashers' Kari Lehtonen and the Toronto Maple Leafs' Andrew Raycroft for seventh-most in the NHL. The New Jersey Devils' Martin Brodeur leads the league with 32 wins.

The No. 1 pick overall in 2003, Fleury also has played in 43 games this season -- seven fewer than all of last year -- but he already has 11 more wins. Entering the season, he was 17-41-8 in 71 career NHL games.

Fleury doesn't feel like he's doing anything different lately. He said he's full of confidence and relaxed on the ice, and that he stays calm even after he gives up a goal.

Still, teammate Ryan Malone, one of the few holdovers on the team from when Fleury made his debut in 2003-04, has noticed some differences in the goaltender this year.

"I think he always had confidence, but I think when he first came in the league he was almost too quick," Malone said. "The more he's played the more he's gotten used to speed of the puck. He almost had to slow down. He was a great goalie, but he maybe had to get better at reading the plays. He's a lot more patient, and he's making the saves when he has to. He's going to be a great goalie."

He's certainly getting there.

Since the Christmas break, in the most consistent stretch of his young career, Fleury is 10-3-3 with a 2.20 goals-against average, a .928 save percentage and three shutouts in 16 games.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, his goals-against average and save percentage are both sixth-lowest among goaltenders who've played at least 10 games over that same period, his three shutouts are tied for third most and his 10 wins are tied for fourth most.

"He's always had some great games; it was just a matter of putting a lot of them together," Malone said. "He's definitely stepped his game up. I think that everyone on the team is trying to take their game to the next level."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_491882.html

83-Steelers-43
02-06-2007, 07:19 AM
GM Shero's former team is running at full speed
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

With Nashville hitting town, Penguins general manager Ray Shero invited his former boss, Predators general manager David Poile, out to dinner last night, wives included.

"I didn't tell them how cold it was here. Buyer beware," Shero said slyly yesterday.

By all accounts, the two have a long and warm relationship. Shero spent the previous eight seasons as Poile's right-hand man with the Predators. That doesn't mean they will be sharing team secrets in advance of their game tonight at Mellon Arena -- not that they could tell one another much they didn't already know.

Shero worked closely with Poile, who has built Nashville from a fledgling expansion club in 1998-99 to a speedy, solid team that took over the top spot in the NHL standings nearly three weeks ago.

The Predators are an amalgam of their draft picks and players acquired through free agency, trades and waivers.

Although their leading scorer, winger Paul Kariya, is 26 points behind NHL leader Sidney Crosby of the Penguins, the Predators have eight players with 10 or more goals and are second in the NHL with 186 goals and an average of 3.44 per game. Yet they are stingy enough defensively to rank seventh at 2.50 goals against per game.

They are deep enough that their second line consists of Steve Sullivan, whose 10-game points streak has tied the franchise record he set last season; center Jason Arnott, who has a four-game goals streak and seven-game points streak; and J.P. Dumont, who has a career-high 32 assists, including five over his past six games.

"They look really legit," Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "The conference is so much better and they're still dominating, so that says a lot."

Finding and developing the right players helped Nashville finish above .500 for the first time and make the playoffs in 2003-04. The Predators won a franchise-best 38 games last season and again made the playoffs.

Although Nashville had disappointing first-round exits each of the past two springs, the improvement is unmistakable.

It's a model Shero, nine months into his first GM job, envisions for the Penguins, who are solidly in the playoff hunt and, at 8-0-2 in their past 10 games, are playing their best hockey in years.

"The way I wanted to try to build this team is through every avenue," Shero said. "You look at Nashville or Anaheim, that's the way it's done. You utilize everything you can.

"Nashville has speed up front, a good puck-moving defense and they're getting good goaltending. They've got the most points for a reason."

Barry Trotz, the only coach Nashville has had, said Shero deserves some credit for that and can be expected to help create the same sort of rise with the Penguins.

"I think Ray within the organization had a big hand in it with David Poile," Trotz said.

"I think a lot of the things that he's instituted in Pittsburgh are things that we've done here. I think he's done a great job finding a balance of young guys."

The Penguins, who canceled practice yesterday after playing three games in four days and four games in six days, aren't at Nashville's level yet, but they will get a chance to see how they stack up against the NHL's best club.

"We'll play simple," Penguins winger Mark Recchi said. "We know they have a lot of speed. They have very well-balanced scoring, and they have some good young [defensemen], so we're going to have to be ready."

The Penguins have a bit of an advantage in Shero, who can offer some insight on the Predators.

"I would expect him to trade some secrets to his coach and to the people there because he's very competitive," Trotz said.

Shero admitted he would help out as much as he can, but he's confident the Penguins can handle things without the inside information.

"I think we match up well with any team," he said. "Hopefully, part of our success is not worrying about the other team but worrying about ourselves."

Shero doesn't have to worry about divided loyalties very often. With the NHL's schedule parameters, the Penguins of the Eastern Conference and Predators of the Western Conference play just two games over three seasons. This is their only meeting this season.

"It's great to see they're having such a good year," Shero said of Nashville. "With due respect to all my friends there, I'm cheering for one team [tonight], and that's Pittsburgh."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07037/759763-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-06-2007, 07:21 AM
Penguins Notebook: Eaton holds no ill will against Nashville
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

By Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Nashville general manager David Poile declined to get in a bidding war when defenseman Mark Eaton became a free agent last summer and likely has not second-guessed his decision much. After all, the Predators have a league-high 77 points, so losing Eaton obviously didn't sabotage their season.

Conversely, the Penguins are 12-4 in the 16 full games in which Eaton has appeared, so signing him might have been the most significant move Ray Shero has made in his first year as general manager.

Eaton's personal statistics -- no goals, two assists and a plus-minus rating of minus-1 -- are nothing special, but his impact on the Penguins' work in their own end has been dramatic. He also has played a major role in upgrading their penalty-killing and gives Sergei Gonchar a partner who allows him to take full advantage of his offensive talents.

Although Eaton broke into the NHL with Philadelphia, he was with the Predators for six seasons. And while he isn't surprised by Nashville's success -- "They have a lot of top-notch players," he said -- he insists he holds no grudge that the team didn't have a place for him in its plans.

"Not at all," Eaton said. "I was a free agent. They made up their minds. There are no hard feelings at all. I'm happy here, and we're having fun."


Traveling man


Defenseman Noah Welch is wearing ruts in the route between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre. He has bounced between the NHL team and its top minor-league club. He was demoted again yesterday -- his sixth trip between the two cities this season --after being called up for the weekend as insurance but scratched in both games.

"We do that in case we have someone that's banged up and a little bit," Shero said of Welch, who doesn't have to clear waivers when being called up or down.

"We talked to him before the season, and he knows what his role is. He's kind of the guy who goes up and down a lot this year. He's fine with that."


A new style


It looks a little odd when Penguins winger Jarkko Ruutu walks around the players' lounge in the pants he wears under his uniform. One leg is full length, one is shorts length.

"Let's make it a style," he said, jokingly.

Actually, there's a perfectly practical reason for the alteration.

Ruutu wears a brace on his left knee when he skates, and the form-fitting pants don't work with the brace.

"I've been wearing it a few years," Ruutu said of the brace. "I blew my [medial collateral ligament] a couple of times and it's still loose, so that's why I wear it. It's just to support it. It doesn't bother me at all."


In demand


The popularity of Penguins top scorers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin can be seen in prices brought for their game-worn sweaters in a league-wide auction to benefit the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation.

Some other jerseys are still available in the NHL and NHL Players Association online auction, which runs in six overlapping two-week cycles, but so far Crosby's has brought the high price of $12,131.

Malkin's raised $7,520. Washington's Alex Ovechkin's sold for $6,020.01.

Auctions for the Penguins, Colorado, Edmonton, Nashville and Ottawa closed last week and fetched $89,463.58. Overall, the auction has raised $170,000 through about its midpoint.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07037/759762-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-06-2007, 07:31 AM
Shero to be on Team USA's management advisory board: http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/news/story?id=2755428

SteelCityMan786
02-06-2007, 09:05 PM
PREDS GO DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4-1! 11 Straight games of POINTS!!! LET'S GO PENS!

Borski
02-06-2007, 10:50 PM
Whoo that was a good game!

X-Terminator
02-07-2007, 01:38 AM
Very impressive win by the Pens tonight - I honestly thought it wasn't a good matchup at all for them, particularly defensively. I thought the Preds would skate all around them, but I was happily proven wrong! Everyone stepped up and played solid team defense, and matched Nashville stride for stride. Our D may not be as mobile as Nashville's, but they've shown that they aren't slouches, getting to loose pucks all night and playing good, positional defense while not taking a lot of penalties. Fleury was solid again in goal; Crosby, Staal and Malkin were great again and the ageless Mark Recchi had another good game. This might be their most impressive effort of the season - they pretty much dominated the top team in the league from start to finish.

Next up are our favorite whipping boys, the Flyers. Let's hope the Pens don't have a letdown - the Flyers have actually been playing some decent hockey lately and should not be taken lightly.

X-Terminator
02-07-2007, 01:39 AM
EATON'S RETURN HELPS SOLIDIFY PENGUINS DEFENSE

by Joe Sager
pittsburghpenguins.com
02/06/2007

The Pittsburgh Penguins did not sign any free agents in January or make any trades.

Yet, it sure felt like they did.

That’s because Mark Eaton returned to the lineup after a suffering a dislocated wrist in a game Nov. 4. His return bolsters a steady Penguins defense.“There’s definitely no weak links with our defensive corps,” Eaton said. “From 1-7, we’re solid and we all have confidence in one another and confidence goes a long way. So, we like where we are right now.”

Especially with No. 3 back in the lineup.

He had only played 10 full games in a Penguins sweater before he was injured 27 seconds into his 11th contest when San Jose’s Jonathan Cheechoo shoved him into the boards, causing the injury. However, his impact on Pittsburgh’s defense was huge. His shot-blocking ability and overall work in the team’s defensive zone were keys to early season improvements in the Penguins’ overall defense and penalty-killing.

Eaton made his return to the ice on Jan. 26 in Dallas.

“It was way too long. Any kind of injury is too long, but three months, especially,” he said. “So, it was tough sitting there watching your teammates go out and compete without you every night. It’s great to be back in there. Although, the first two games, I didn’t feel the way I did at the beginning of the year, but I felt better as I went, so I’m looking forward to keeping it going.”

Eaton came back in style. He was on the ice for 18:21 in Pittsburgh’s 4-3 overtime shootout win over Dallas. He logged 15:47 and was a plus-1 the next night as the Penguins wrapped up a two-game roadtrip with a 7-2 pounding of Phoenix.

“Physically, you can get yourself ready, but just timing issues and thinking the game as fast as the game happens out there, that’s something you can’t prepare for, you can only improve on through game situations,” he said.

Eaton continues to progress.

“I felt better as I went. I expect my workload to increase every game and increase to the 20- or 23-minute mark,” he said. “That’s not up to me, that’s up to the coaches, so I’ll take the workload, whatever they give me.”

That workload continues to increase. He is seeing more time on the power play and penalty kill. And, he has reunited with Sergei Gonchar on the team’s No. 1 defensive pairing.

Eaton’s play is crucial for the Penguins’ special teams success. In 69 games with Nashville a year ago, he led all Predators in blocked shots with 170 and ranked fifth on the team in average ice time (19:43). He led Nashville and ranked seventh in the league in average short-handed ice time per game (5:22) on a team that ranked fifth in the league in penalty killing success.

The Penguins’ penalty-killing units were slowly rising up the NHL rankings, while the team’s power play has been red-hot.

“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing out there,” he said. “If you can win the special teams battle, you’re going to have a pretty good chance to win the game.”

Eaton’s return to the ice came at a pivotal time, too, for the Penguins. They are locked in a tightly-contested battle for one of the eight Eastern Conference playoff berths. After Tuesday’s win over Nashville, the Penguins face a busy stretch with 29 games in 59 days to close the regular season, which averages to nearly one game every other night.

They play nine more games in 21 days this month, 17 games in 31 days in March and three games in seven days in April.

“Other than the playoffs, this is the most-exciting time of the year – the stretch run and being right in the thick of things is right where we wanted to be at the beginning of the year,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun stretch for us.”

http://www.pittsburghpenguins.com/team/features/arts/2320.0.php

X-Terminator
02-07-2007, 02:51 AM
Penguins Notebook: No conspiracy, says Armstrong

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Penguins winger Colby Armstrong wanted to hear nothing of conspiracy theories surrounding the sprained right knee that kept him out of the team's two weekend games.

He said the injury was real and he wasn't dodging the rematch Sunday in Montreal, where he might have been targeted after he leveled Canadiens captain Saku Koivu in the game Thursday night at Mellon Arena.

"Yeah, well, that's ridiculous," Armstrong said yesterday after the morning skate. "This is not freaking WWE wrestling. It's ridiculous."

Armstrong said there is no situation that would make him want to miss games.

"No, I never would," he said. "I didn't want to miss any of the games this weekend. They were big games."

Armstrong returned to the lineup last night against Nashville and was back in his regular spot on a line with center Maxime Talbot and Erik Christensen.

"We had an MRI done, and the MRI didn't look so good, so [sitting out two games] was just precautionary," he said. "It feels good now."



Another task for Shero

Penguins general manager Ray Shero is part of a newly formed National Team Management Advisory Group that will assist USA Hockey in the selection of men's national teams, starting with the world championships in the spring in Russia and possibly eventually including the 2010 Olympic squad.

The four-man group is comprised of NHL GMs -- Shero, David Poile of Nashville, Brian Burke of Anaheim and Don Waddell of Atlanta. Previously, one person has been in charge of filling out the roster.

"When they asked me to be involved, I was flattered," Shero said. "I'm really looking forward to being part of it and contributing. Hopefully, we'll help get USA Hockey going in a good direction."



To rest or not to rest

Armstrong wasn't the only Penguins player who showed up at Mellon Arena and skated Monday even though practice that day was canceled.

"Some came in," said coach Michel Therrien, who has a hard time getting a lot of his players to take days off.

Asked if he was one of those who skated Monday, NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby stroked his chin, looked up at the ceiling and smiled.

"Yeah, I came in," he said, adding that he donned his skates to join some teammates' children whose school was canceled because of the frigid weather.

Therrien some days takes a harder stance about players resting.

"Early in the season, we needed to be on the ice," he said. "We needed to work on different aspects. This time of the year, the guys know how to play and what's important. With so many games, we've got to manage the energy of the players."

Crosby knows his coach is right, particularly with eight of the Penguins' next 11 games on the road and a crowded slate of 17 games in March, but he also feels better if he skates every day.

"You need that rest," he said. "This is probably the toughest part we're going to see, the next couple months.

"I like to be out there, too, even if it's 15, 20 minutes. I like to go out there and feel the puck, have my skates underneath me. At the same time, I think mentally it's always good to get away for a day. That's where the coaches come in."



Sounds like a Penguins fan

Although Eastern and Western conference teams only play each other once a season, if that, Nashville coach Barry Trotz had seen the Penguins a good bit before their game last night, and not just in preparation for their lone meeting..

"They're a hard team not to watch because they have the exciting players like Crosby, [Jordan] Staal, [Evgeni] Malkin," Trotz said. "They play a very up-tempo game. They've added a lot of character.

"For years, I think Pittsburgh relied a lot on just pure skill. That doesn't get you all the way that you want to get to. I think they've got a good balance of some hard-working, hard-nosed type players, and the gifted skill guys they do have."



Slap shots

The Penguins scratched forward Chris Thorburn from the lineup last night. ... The Predators scratched defenseman Shea Weber (sore jaw) and forwards Scottie Upshall and Josef Vasicek. They also were without penalty-minutes leader Jordin Tootoo, who has a sore hip and was put on injured reserve. ... Players will serve as waiters at the Penguins at Your Service charity dinner Monday at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Contact the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 412-321-4422.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07038/760017-61.stm

HometownGal
02-07-2007, 07:50 AM
Very impressive win by the Pens tonight - I honestly thought it wasn't a good matchup at all for them, particularly defensively. I thought the Preds would skate all around them, but I was happily proven wrong! Everyone stepped up and played solid team defense, and matched Nashville stride for stride. Our D may not be as mobile as Nashville's, but they've shown that they aren't slouches, getting to loose pucks all night and playing good, positional defense while not taking a lot of penalties. Fleury was solid again in goal; Crosby, Staal and Malkin were great again and the ageless Mark Recchi had another good game. This might be their most impressive effort of the season - they pretty much dominated the top team in the league from start to finish.

Next up are our favorite whipping boys, the Flyers. Let's hope the Pens don't have a letdown - the Flyers have actually been playing some decent hockey lately and should not be taken lightly.

I had tix for that game but gave them to my son and his friend, as I was down at the hospital most of the day and evening. I watched a little of the game down there and got home in time to see the entire 3rd period - what a whale of a game the Pens played...again....against a pretty darned good team. :thumbsup:

This team is playing some kick-arse hockey right now and look even stronger with every game. The remainder of the season should be quite exciting as they try to stay in position for a playoff spot. It's going to be a fun ride! :banana:

Prosdo
02-07-2007, 07:56 AM
Awesome game! I should be going to a game soon. Woohoo!

83-Steelers-43
02-07-2007, 08:32 AM
Myron Cope: Mario, do the right thing
Money won't make you happy; emulate The Chief and keep the Pens in Pittsburgh
Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I hope somebody reading this is close enough to Mario Lemieux to call it to his attention.

Mario, I've known you since your rookie season and have always found you a fine fellow, so I'm going to ask a lot of you. In these cynical times when the bottom line so often rules, it's perhaps silly to ask, but consider emulating The Chief -- the late Art Rooney Sr.

Actually, this is a follow-up to a letter I wrote that the Post-Gazette published a year ago. I wrote that The Chief, saying not a word of it publicly, rejected highly lucrative offers from five cities entreating him to move the Steelers. He loved Pittsburgh and felt the city would be greatly diminished by the loss of a big-league franchise.

I also pointed out that Art Modell suddenly moved his Cleveland Browns to Baltimore after politicians for years did nothing to renovate ancient Cleveland Stadium. I faulted Mr. Modell for not hanging in longer, but I said that the silence coming from then-Mayor Bob O'Connor, County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Gov. Ed Rendell on the matter of a new arena was shaping up as a repeat of Cleveland. I hope I'm wrong. (Mr. Rendell's Plan B, by the way, has seemed to me all along to simply muddy the waters.)

At any rate, Mario, I assume you have a great affection for Pittsburgh, or else you would not have made it your residence. Perhaps unfairly, I'm asking that you disregard bottom-line offers and keep the Pens here, simply because it's the right thing to do. Disregard our political leaders staying on the sidelines for so long. I doubt you'll ever regret doing the right thing. You'll feel good about yourself.

Some people protest the use of taxpayer money to give huge subsidies to club owners. Or they don't care about hockey. Their arguments are understandable. But, folks, the realities are that this has been the way of America for many years now and losing the Pens would be a severe blow to our region in too many respects to enumerate.

Mario, you've got the politicians over a good-sized barrel. Reason one, they sat as silent as stone pillars while you sought an arena agreement for years. Reason two, the state Gaming Control Board, by rejecting a casino bid that would have led to an arena, rendered a decision so stupefying as to cause me to wonder: Had board member Sandy Rivers behaved similarly when he officiated NFL games, might he have led the league in calls overturned by instant replay?

Anyhow, Mario, get the deal done in Pittsburgh.

America still includes many who do the right thing. Do it, Mario, and I'll even forgive the time you stood on a high tee at a par three and saw a runt on the green below standing over a 2-foot birdie putt. You cried out: "Cope! Choke!" As you know, I made birdie.

It's your turn for a Pittsburgh birdie. It's a hard one; more's the reason you'll be proud of it.

The Chief put it this way: "Money has never been my god -- never."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07038/759881-109.stm

SteelCityMan786
02-07-2007, 05:09 PM
Well Said by the great Myron Cope!

X-Terminator
02-08-2007, 01:11 AM
Penguins digging deep

By Keith Barnes
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, February 8, 2007

When the Penguins practice, Sidney Crosby is usually the first player on the ice and the last to leave.

So, it somewhat surprising Wednesday when the first two players to hit the ice were Dominic Moore and Ronald Petrovicky.

"We just got lucky to be the first couple of guys out there," Petrovicky said. "Sid's got a passion for hockey, and you can see it all the time, and he's a prime example of a hockey player that's doing the right thing every time."

It wasn't the first time Crosby yielded ice time to Petrovicky, Moore and their linemate, Jarkko Ruutu. They've been taking an average of 13 shifts and nearly 10 minutes a game away from the top three lines during the Penguins' 9-0-2 streak that has them residing in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

And the league's leading scorer doesn't mind a bit.

"They've been playing great," said Crosby, who has a league-high 86 points. "They've been playing physical and chipping in, and we need everyone."

It may not seem like much, but with a backloaded schedule that has the Penguins playing 29 games in the next 59 days, including 17 games in March, the players will take every break they can get.

"You just stay fresh as a team, they feel a part of it, and it's a big thing," Penguins forward Mark Recchi said. "Last year, going to Carolina (during the Hurricanes' Stanley Cup run) we had a very effective fourth line that we could throw out there anytime to do a job and play with energy, a little fire in their bellies and make it hard for the other team."

Unlike the many teams that limit playing time for the fourth line, the Penguins roll theirs out as part of their normal rotation. Only power plays and penalty kills interrupt the cycle and keep the fourth-liners planted on the bench for any length of time.

Even late in games, when many coaches think of shortening their bench and reducing play to three or two lines, the Penguins remain faithful to their four-line philosophy.

"There's a lot of hockey to be played, and those guys deserve to be on the ice as well," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "Our goal is to go with six defensemen and four lines with everyone involved, because we know that we're going to need everyone if we want to make the playoffs."

Playing the fourth line certainly proved beneficial Saturday. Stuck in a scoreless game with Washington, Petrovicky broke down the right wing side into the Capitals' zone, hesitated, then beat goaltender Olaf Kolzig for the winning goal in a 2-0 decision.

"Every time you score a goal and your hockey team wins, you feel good," Petrovicky said. "(Tuesday) we had a few chances to score, but we didn't, and we'll just keep working hard and hopefully we'll keep doing the same thing."

Scoring from a fourth line is generally considered a bonus, but the Penguins have been reaping consistent benefits of late. Over the past 11 games, the checking line has notched six goals, 12 points, one game-winning goal and an even plus-minus rating.

"I think when you look at successful teams, you can't have two lines or three lines going, because, in the end, in the playoffs, you need everybody," Ruutu said. "You have to trust everybody ... and I think there's a lot of advantages, because you're way less tired and you're fresher toward the end of the game."

More important, the Penguins may be fresher at the end of the season as they try to secure their first postseason berth in six years.

"Not that you want to save anything; you don't," Crosby said. "But you have to make sure that you're taking the time when you can to rest, and playing four lines is a big part of it."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_492218.html

X-Terminator
02-08-2007, 01:13 AM
Well, at least we know they haven't thrown in the towel yet...

Sides still talking in Pens' arena negotiations

By Andrew Conte
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, February 8, 2007

Everything is negotiable and nothing has been agreed upon in the closed-door arena talks among the Penguins and public officials, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato said Wednesday.

The two sides talked on a conference call Monday, but Onorato said they still have not reached an agreement on how to pay for a new Uptown arena.

"We're still negotiating, and I still feel optimistic we'll get it done," Onorato said at a luncheon hosted by the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania.

A Penguins spokesman declined to comment.

The two sides have been negotiating over the details of an arena plan since first meeting Jan. 4.

Gov. Ed Rendell's initial proposal called for $14.5 million a year in slots money, with the team paying $8.5 million up front and $2.9 million a year, while forgoing $1.16 million a year in naming rights.

The team's contribution has been substantially reduced, Rendell has said, but he has declined to say how much the Penguins would pay.

Onorato reiterated yesterday that the deal will not include any local money from Pittsburgh, Allegheny County or the county's Regional Asset District, which collects a 1 percent sales tax.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_492214.html

X-Terminator
02-08-2007, 01:17 AM
Hey, don't hurry back on our account, Melichar - the team's done just fine without you! Also, so what if Gonchar has scored most of his points on the power play. Sheldon Souray and Dion Phaneuf score the majority of their points on the PP - do you see anyone complaining about them?

Notebook: Pens' Melichar on verge of return

Thursday, February 8, 2007

• Josef Melichar has been out nearly a month with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and is back skating in full practices with the team. But it is unclear when the veteran defenseman will dress for a game. "The doctor said it's my call, and I'm almost ready, but it's a tough situation," Melichar said Wednesday. Melichar will make the trip with the team to Philadelphia and Toronto. Coach Michel Therrien was noncommittal about whether Melichar would make his return tonight against Philadelphia. "He's ready to play," Therrien said. "But we'll see."

• Even though Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin don't play on the same line anymore, the Penguins centers are currently the best twosome in the NHL. Crosby leads the league with 86 points; Malkin is 14th and leads all rookies with 26 goals and 59 points. Their combined total of 145 points is the best of any teammates in the league, three points higher than Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier (142), who are second and third, respectively, in scoring. "I don't really think about it, but I think that we're both trying to contribute as much as we can," Crosby said.

• Sergei Gonchar has been one of the best players in the NHL this season on the power play and is tied for fourth in the league with 32 power-play points. At even strength, however, Gonchar has been anything but powerful. The Penguins defenseman has only nine points at even strength, which ties him for 83rd in the league among defensemen.

Digits

0 - Goals scored in the NHL this season at 3-on-3.

2 - Goals scored this season in the NHL in 3-on-5 shorthanded situations, including one against the Penguins.

27 - Difference in the plus-minus ratings for Sidney Crosby (plus-13) and Alexander Ovechkin (minus-14) this season.

X-Terminator
02-08-2007, 01:34 AM
Great story on the Pens from NHL.com:

Young Penguins coming of age much faster than expected
Canadian Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz doesn't want to play Pittsburgh in a couple of years. The way these growing-up-fast Penguins are performing, maybe he should amend that to a couple of months.

With their four top players all 22 or younger - including NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby, who is all of 19 - the Penguins anticipated going through a transition season before developing into one of the league's better teams.

Right now, that learning curve looks more like a straightaway.

After beating Trotz's NHL-leading Predators 4-1 on Tuesday, the Penguins are 9-2-0 in their last 11 games and are closing in on the top four in the Eastern Conference. Unless there's an unanticipated breakdown in their final 29 games, the Penguins are well on their way to making the playoffs for the first time since Mario Lemieux's comeback season in 2001.

"I'd hate to play them two years from now," Trotz said. "They're building something very special in Pittsburgh, and the city should be pretty excited."

No doubt their fans would be more revved up if that building plan included a new arena - the team and Pennsylvania state are negotiating how to pay for a replacement for 45-year-old Mellon Arena, but an agreement has not yet been reached.

But the Penguins' improvement has been so rapid, and young stars such as Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury are playing so consistently well, it's easy to overlook their shabby surroundings.

With a 27-9-17 record and 63 points, the Penguins have surpassed the 58 points they had during a fourth consecutive Atlantic Division last-place finish last season. They had no more than 69 points in any of those four seasons.

"We're happy with the way we're playing," Crosby said. "We're doing a great job of competing right now."

With four players drafted No. 2 or higher since 2003, the Penguins are long since removed from those days a few years back when they were dumping players such as Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka and Alex Kovalev for financial reasons.

Crosby, arguably the league's best player, has 86 points in 50 games and is on pace to have the most points of any NHL scoring leader since Lemieux's 161 in 1996. Joe Thornton's 125 points last season are the most since then.

Just as Jagr complemented Lemieux in the prime of his career, Crosby has plenty of help.

Malkin, the No. 2 pick in 2004 behind Washington's Alexander Ovechkin, has a team-high 26 goals going into Thursday's game at Philadelphia. Jordan Staal, the 18-year-old brother of Carolina star Eric Staal and the No. 2 pick last year, is one goal away from 20 - and he wasn't even expected to make the team when training camp began.

"It's amazing what he's doing," teammate Mark Recchi said. "I think he's gone beyond all expectations."

The biggest difference in this team from the Penguins who had won only 12 games at this time a year ago is the 22-year-old Fleury, the No. 1 draft pick in 2003.

More mature, confident and in control, he has been the Penguins' best player during their current hot streak and is on the verge of becoming one of the league's top goalies. His 2.74 goals-against average is down half a goal a game from last season, and he has all but two of Pittsburgh's 27 wins.

"He's been the difference in so many games," Crosby said of Fleury, who is 11-3-1 in his last 15 starts.

Helping bring all of this youth together is the 39-year-old Recchi, who starred for the Penguins' first Stanley Cup-winning team in 1991 before later playing for the Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers. He re-signed with the Penguins this season after being dealt by Pittsburgh to eventual Stanley Cup champion Carolina late last season.

To Recchi, these Penguins lack only the overall depth of those Hurricanes - and new general manager Ray Shero could address that by the Feb. 27 trading deadline.

"The guys are learning how to win in this league, doing the right things," said Recchi, who recently had 10 points in three games. "We're starting to know what it takes to win. The effort is there, and now we're doing smart things every night. We're getting the puck deep when we have to, we're winning battles.

"If you continue to do that, and use the speed and skill we have, we're going to be tough to play against," he said.

Coach Michel Therrien's structured system was played by many of the current Penguins at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the minor AHL, where the one-time Montreal Canadiens coach was working until replacing Eddie Olczyk in Pittsburgh 14 months ago.

As Therrien constantly rolls four lines, the system relies on controlling the puck as much as possible, playing intelligently at both ends of the ice, taking plenty of shots on the power play and always being properly positioned in the defensive end.

"Everybody has bought into it, what we're trying to do, and everybody feels good in their roles," Recchi said. "Everybody is getting minutes, and everybody feels part of it. We're growing as a team right now."

The Predators aren't the only team wondering what the Penguins might become very soon.

"You knew that, with all that talent, it was just a matter of time," Washington's Chris Clark said.

http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app?articleid=288666&page=NewsPage&service=page

HometownGal
02-08-2007, 07:47 AM
Hey, don't hurry back on our account, Melichar - the team's done just fine without you! Also, so what if Gonchar has scored most of his points on the power play. Sheldon Souray and Dion Phaneuf score the majority of their points on the PP - do you see anyone complaining about them?



I would think at even strength, Gonchar is concentrating more on playing defense, which is what he was signed to do. His goal scoring abilities are a bonus. :dang:

I could care less if Melichar ever returns to the team. Why the Pens keep him on the active roster is beyond me. I'd rather have Nazzy on the roster than him.

skidboot
02-08-2007, 08:58 AM
Pens fans.......go get Todd Fedoruk. He's an UFA at the end of the year and would be a real good pickup for the Pens.

Crosby has to have that "Dave Semenko" on the team like Gretzky had or he's gonna take more and more abuse.

That or Crosby should just drop the gloves....I know, I know, you don't want him fighting but he's got to stand up for himself ESPECIALLY if the Pens FO doesn't pick someone up to protect him.


and just not Crosby....Malkin and Staal also.

83-Steelers-43
02-08-2007, 09:20 AM
Pens fans.......go get Todd Fedoruk. He's an UFA at the end of the year and would be a real good pickup for the Pens.

Crosby has to have that "Dave Semenko" on the team like Gretzky had or he's gonna take more and more abuse.

That or Crosby should just drop the gloves....I know, I know, you don't want him fighting but he's got to stand up for himself ESPECIALLY if the Pens FO doesn't pick someone up to protect him.


and just not Crosby....Malkin and Staal also.

Personally, I don't want to see a trade of any kind. Why mess with something that's working? We are rolling over four lines beautifully and I really don't see the point in bringing in a goon in order to mess that up. We have a pack mentality.

We don't like players going after Sid? Take out the opposing teams best man. See how they like it. At this point, I wouldn't change a thing. I don't think fighting changes much of anything in the new NHL. Hitting/checking does. Pens vs Habs game. The Habs took liberties. Armstrong laid out Koivu and we end up with a 10 minute PP in which we scored two PP goals. After scoring those two goals I can't imagine many on that Hab roster thinking to themselves "Boy, that was smart of us to go after Sid like that" while also watching their star player laid out on the ice courtesy of Colby Armstrong. I'll take that over two goons punching each other in the head. Don't get me wrong, I love a good fight, but between the pack mentality (fight or crush their best man) and our lethal PP I'll be more than happy to take what we have right now.

Just my opinion but I guess we will see if Shero goes out and picks up a goon in the next 19 days.

SteelCityMan786
02-08-2007, 07:08 PM
This is REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL UGLY! The Pens are down 2-1.

83-Steelers-43
02-08-2007, 07:20 PM
Yeah, not going our way. Our PK on the road has not exactly been stellar. The night is still young though. Malkin and Staal are on a mission tonight.

83-Steelers-43
02-08-2007, 07:24 PM
2-2!

SteelCityMan786
02-08-2007, 07:33 PM
Philly's record leading after 1 is 7-1-3.

I think if we can get a couple more goals that state will be 7-2-3 for the Flyers.

83-Steelers-43
02-08-2007, 07:55 PM
Pens go up 4-2 early in the third. Woohooo!!!

SteelCityMan786
02-08-2007, 07:56 PM
4-2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm lovin this.

83-Steelers-43
02-08-2007, 08:01 PM
4-3 now. Ugh.

SteelCityMan786
02-08-2007, 08:28 PM
4-4 and OT. BLAH!

SteelCityMan786
02-08-2007, 08:35 PM
Shootout lurking......

SteelCityMan786
02-08-2007, 08:37 PM
Time for the shootout.

SteelCityMan786
02-08-2007, 08:53 PM
SIDNEY CRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRO SBY!!!!!!!!!!
MARK ANDRE FLEURY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!

FINAL SCORE 5-4 PENS IN THE SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTOUT

10-0-2 in last 12 games.

LET'S GO PENS!

X-Terminator
02-09-2007, 12:12 AM
Game effort by the Flyers...but not game enough. They can't even beat the Pens when they're having an off night - the hallmark of a pathetic team.

I believe this is the first ever sweep of the season series for the Pens in Philadelphia, and on March 4, they have a chance to make history by sweeping the overall season series. And I'll be right there to watch it happen live and in living color. :thumbsup:

X-Terminator
02-09-2007, 12:16 AM
I would think at even strength, Gonchar is concentrating more on playing defense, which is what he was signed to do. His goal scoring abilities are a bonus. :dang:

I could care less if Melichar ever returns to the team. Why the Pens keep him on the active roster is beyond me. I'd rather have Nazzy on the roster than him.

Well Therrien decided not to play him tonight, which was a good move on his part. Why mess up the team chemistry by letting him go out there and screw things up? Nazzy has been very solid since his call-up and deserves to be out there. I hope Therrien keeps that waste of skates in the press box the rest of the season, but it probably won't happen.

X-Terminator
02-09-2007, 04:59 AM
NHL schedule won't affect Penguins

By Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, February 9, 2007

The National Hockey League's process of drafting a 2007-08 schedule will not mandate a quick resolution to the Penguins' uncertain future.

"While there are timing constraints posed by the scheduling process, we are not beyond any definitive 'cut-off date' for purposes of next season," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday.

The league also has not committed to a deadline for the Penguins to decide where they will play next season, Daly said. He added that the league is "capable of doing contingency scheduling" for the Penguins whether they play in Pittsburgh or another city.

Kansas City plans to open the new Sprint Center in October and has offered the Penguins free rent and partial revenue to relocate there. The Penguins toured that facility this past month.

The Penguins' lease at Mellon Arena expires in June. The team and public officials are involved in negotiations for a new Uptown arena that would secure the team's long-term future in Pittsburgh. Demolition of Uptown buildings to make way for a new arena could start next week, officials said yesterday. Work started in December to remove asbestos, windows and fixtures from buildings between Centre and Fifth avenues.

The NHL's schedule is usually released in mid-July, Daly said.

Colorado Avalanche vice-president of communications Jean Martineau said clubs receive a copy of a preliminary schedule for review "a few months" before the league officially unveils its final version.

Martineau's tenure with Colorado dates to the club's departure from Quebec City, Quebec, in 1995. He said the then-Quebec Nordiques were purchased May 24, 1995, by a group that ultimately relocated the club to Denver for the 1995-96 season.

The NHL Board of Governors did not approve the sale until June 1995, but the league's 1995-96 schedule was still released that July.

"It took just two months for everything to get done," Martineau said. "It was a smooth transition."

In their final season in Quebec, the Nordiques were an upstart team loaded with young stars such as Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Owen Nolan. They finished a shortened-NHL regular season atop the Eastern Conference.

Prior to the start of those playoffs, Quebec officials broke off talks with Nordiques ownership concerning a new building the team said it needed to stay in Quebec. The Nordiques' NHL swan song came in the form of an opening-round playoff loss to the New York Rangers in April 1995.

The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup during its first season in Colorado.

"A lot of people in Quebec would not believe that this would happen," Martineau said. "Until it really happened, people didn't believe it would. Then, the team moved and people were just shocked, stunned.

"The similarities with what is going on in Pittsburgh are there, for sure."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_492417.html

X-Terminator
02-09-2007, 05:05 AM
You know, I wouldn't mind it if Fedoruk played for the Pens - he's the kind of enforcer we need - but he really needs to quit listening to the BS that other people say about Sid. He does NOT, nor has he EVER thought that he shouldn't be touched. The kid gets hooked, held, tripped, high-sticked, elbowed, and recently speared and butt-ended...but when have you ever seen him whine and cry about it to the media? Kiss my ass, Todd, and have another loss courtesy of the best player in the league, whether you like it or not.

Penguins Notebook: Petrovicky adds scoring to resume

Friday, February 09, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PHILADELPHIA -- Ronald Petrovicky won't be bumped up to the Penguins' No. 1 line anytime soon. He isn't likely to turn up on the top power-play unit, either.

But he has demonstrated a bit of a scoring touch in recent weeks, with two goals in the six games before the Penguins won the shootout to beat Philadelphia, 5-4, at the Wachovia Center last night.

"I hit a few posts before that -- more than a few -- but they never went in for me," he said. "The last couple of weeks, they've been going in."

Petrovicky missed the first 13 games of the season while recovering from offseason hip surgery, then sat out four more before making his Penguins debut Nov. 18. He has moved in and out of the lineup since, although last night marked the seventh game in a row in which he has played.

And, even though goal-scoring is a relatively minor element in his job description as a fourth-liner, he acknowledged that failing to get one in his first 14 appearances this season was a bit troubling.

"If you don't score for an extended period of time, you wonder what's going on," he said.

That drought ended when he got a goal in the Penguins' 7-2 victory at Phoenix Jan. 27, and he picked up the winner in their 2-0 decision against Washington Saturday.

"Hopefully, I'll keep contributing to the team and we can win hockey games," he said. "Because it's a great thing when all four lines are playing well."

No spot for Melichar

Defenseman Josef Melichar, who has received medical clearance to resume playing after recovering from a sprained left knee, sat out his 12th consecutive game last night.

Coach Michel Therrien said he had no reservations about putting Melichar back in uniform last night, but that no one on the Penguins' defense had played their way out of a job.

"I'm not afraid to make changes," Therrien said. "But, at the same time, I have to respect the good work players do on the ice. I like the way our defensemen are playing. I have no reason to take any of those guys out."

Therrien went on to praise the way his defensemen consistently have been willing to absorb checks to buy the extra time often needed to make an effective pass.

"It takes courage to take a hit to make a play," he said. "They're ready to sacrifice themselves for the success of the team."

A nod to Crosby

The Bucks County Courier Times, a suburban Philadelphia newspaper, polled seven Flyers about whether they would rather have Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin on their team. Five chose Crosby.

Left winger Simon Gagne said he picked him because "he makes the players around him look good" and "Crosby is the kind of player who can win a game by himself."

Philadelphia enforcer Todd Fedoruk selected Ovechkin because, "Crosby is a player who doesn't think certain things should happen to him."

Ekman expects to return

Winger Nils Ekman intends to play again this season and seems optimistic he will be able to do it sometime next month.

Ekman's left elbow was dislocated Dec. 29 and, even though he is skating with conditioning coach Stephane Dube, he has not been cleared to work out with his teammates. He doesn't have a target date for returning, but suggested after his on-ice session yesterday that it should be a matter of weeks, not months.

"I'd be really surprised if I don't play in March," he said.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07040/760731-61.stm

X-Terminator
02-09-2007, 05:14 AM
A very, very interesting story here. The Pens becoming the NHL's version of the Green Bay Packers?

Public could buy Penguins, Dawida says

Friday, February 09, 2007
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The public should have the right to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins, former Allegheny County Commissioner Mike Dawida argued yesterday, in a letter to the state's U.S. senators and three congressmen.

Mr. Dawida, a lawyer and candidate for Pittsburgh controller in the May 15 Democratic primary, said the public's investments in Mellon Arena give it legal standing to challenge any attempt by the team to move. Public officials or fans could go to federal court to seek the right to turn the team into a public asset.

Congress, he suggested, should pass a law eliminating any league bylaws that would prevent public ownership of a team.

The Penguins are considering a move to Kansas City if they cannot negotiate a satisfactory new arena deal here.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07040/760750-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-09-2007, 07:50 AM
"Mr. Dawida, a lawyer and candidate for Pittsburgh controller in the May 15 Democratic primary,"

LOL, enough said. I can't believe the PPG even bothered printing this rubbish.

Dawida: Look at me! Look at me! I'm "trying" Pittsburgh..........:yawn:

Anyways, both sides keep hammering out that deal and get it done. I have faith.

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 05:27 AM
Talks go on, but still no deal for Penguins arena
Ravenstahl, Onorato still optimistic club owners will keep team in the city
Saturday, February 10, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Despite some talking and a flurry of paperwork this week, the Penguins and state and local leaders still don't have a deal on a new arena, and development rights and the team's share of the construction cost still appear to be stumbling blocks.

Team co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle talked with Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato earlier this week by conference call, but the conversation ended without an agreement.

"Right now there is no deal. We're still trying to get to one," said Mr. Onorato, who continued to express optimism about the eventual outcome of the talks.

In an interview, Mr. Ravenstahl said the Penguins' share of the $300 million construction cost and the eventual development rights to the Mellon Arena site are among the issues still unresolved. Once a new facility is built, Mellon Arena is expected to be demolished to clear the land for redevelopment.

"There are a variety of issues that we're discussing and certainly the financial contribution is one of those and development rights are another," the mayor said.

Under the Plan B arena funding formula, the Penguins' share started out at $2.9 million a year for 30 years, plus $1.16 million annually from naming rights and $8.5 million upfront.

However, Mr. Rendell has said that the team's contribution was reduced under a revised Plan B and was "significantly below" the $2.9 million a year the Pirates contributed toward PNC Park. It's not known how naming rights factor into the equation.

"The deal we're talking about now certainly is different than Plan B and the pot has been sweetened, so to speak, from the original B but I don't want to get into specifics on what that is at this point," Mr. Ravenstahl said.

The city-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, which owns the Mellon Arena site, has proposed that the Penguins and Pittsburgh casino winner Don Barden share development rights to that property once the Igloo, the oldest facility in the National Hockey League, is demolished.

Team officials have balked at that idea, and the two sides apparently have been unable to reach common ground. The SEA offered the rights to both the Penguins and Mr. Barden because both would contribute to the arena construction. Under Plan B, Mr. Barden is putting in $7.5 million a year for 30 years.

The Penguins have declined comment on all aspects of the talks. Without offering specifics, Mr. Onorato said there's still "legitimate detail" that has to be worked out before an accord can be reached.

Despite the snags, both he and Mr. Ravenstahl said they were still optimistic they would be able to wrap up a deal that would keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh under a new 30-year lease.

"I feel good about where the negotiations are. I'm still optimistic that this will get done," Mr. Onorato said. "I think the negotiations are moving in the right direction."

In addition to the conference call earlier this week, the two sides have been exchanging information and are in "constant negotiation," Mr. Onorato said. Mr. Rendell is expected to be back in Pittsburgh Thursday, but so far no face-to-face talks are scheduled. The last such session was Jan. 18.

One source close to the Penguins had indicated last week that team officials could step up their talks with Kansas City this week if there was not substantial progress toward a deal here. However, it doesn't appear that there has been any major movement in that direction so far.

Officials in Kansas City are offering the team free use of the new $276 million Sprint Center, to open this fall, no construction costs or upfront payments, and half the building revenues. Other cities in the hunt for the team could be Houston, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City.

Neither Mr. Onorato nor Mr. Ravenstahl would put a time period on completing a deal here.

Asked what was holding up the talks, the mayor replied, "I think it's just the natural process of negotiation. Any time you're dealing with this type of significant development and hundreds of millions of dollars, it takes time."

Besides issues like share of construction costs and development rights, the two sides must work out lease details, who pays for any cost overruns, arena management issues and an interim lease arrangement until the new building is ready for occupancy, expected in 2009.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07041/760949-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 05:29 AM
Penguins Notebook: Therrien admits rapid progress is surprise
Saturday, February 10, 2007

By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


TORONTO -- It's almost guaranteed that someone out there was convinced four months ago that the Penguins would have 65 points after 54 games.

But odds are it wasn't anyone on the team's payroll.

"We've kind of surprised the hockey world," coach Michel Therrien said after practice yesterday at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. "We all realized that we have some great young kids, but the progress is a little bit faster than people were expecting. And than we were expecting, as well."

The Penguins earned four points with 4-1 and 8-2 victories against the Toronto Maple Leafs, whom they will face at 7:08 p.m. today at the Air Canada Centre.

Despite the convincing nature of those victories, however, the Penguins are wary of proclaiming they have a clear edge over Toronto.

"You never know when you've caught them on an off-night," center Dominic Moore said. "When we've only played them twice, it's hard to gauge that."

The Penguins are on a 10-0-2 roll, but the Maple Leafs have been hot lately, too. They had a five-game winning streak before a 4-2 loss Thursday at Nashville.

"We have to be ready because they've won a lot of games lately," right winger Michel Ouellet said.

True, but the Penguins have an advantage in team speed, an asset they have used quite effectively of late. They also have developed a strong belief in their abilities.

"We know we're playing well now," Moore said. "We know we're confident. We expect to win every game we play, no matter who it is [against], if we play up to our capabilities and play the way we should."

Not so hot

Although Sidney Crosby scored the deciding shootout goal in the Penguins' 5-4 victory Thursday in Philadelphia, the Flyers shut him out in regulation and overtime for just the second time in 15 career meetings.

His linemates, Mark Recchi and Ryan Malone, didn't have terribly productive evenings, either.

Although Recchi got a goal, neither Crosby nor Malone was on the ice at the time, and Malone was one of only three Penguins skaters who failed to record a shot on goal.

"We're looked at to create offense, and we didn't do that," Crosby said. "We have to be better."

How slow is slow?

Watching Erik Christensen's shootout attempt Thursday was almost like witnessing a slow-motion replay.

In real time.

Christensen moved so deliberately that he seemed to be in real danger of becoming the first player ever penalized for delay of game on a penalty shot. He insisted, though, that he felt he was proceeding at a fairly normal pace before being denied by Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki.

"Everyone's saying that I was going in slow," he said. "I didn't feel like I was going in slow. The last couple [of shootout attempts] I'd had, I felt the same.

"I try not to go in with so much speed that I'm going to mishandle the puck, possibly. I sort of stumbled on a piece of ice right when I picked up the puck [at center ice] and it threw me off a bit, with my concentration. But that's not an excuse."

No time to agonize

The Penguins weren't pleased with their failure to protect a two-goal lead in the third period Thursday, but weren't agonizing over the point Philadelphia salvaged when Mike Knuble scored with less than two minutes left in regulation.

No surprise there, considering the Flyers not only trail the Penguins by 31 points in the Atlantic Division, but are a near-lock to finish last in the overall standings.

"It's not exactly like giving one to the [New York] Islanders or Tampa Bay," defenseman Ryan Whitney said.

Slap shots

Crosby attracted a large contingent of reporters and photographers to the Penguins' workout. ... Toronto is playing without agitator Darcy Tucker, who has made only one appearance since a foot injury Dec. 26 and is expected to be out for at least several more weeks. ... Penguins winger Nils Ekman, recovering from a dislocated elbow, skated with conditioning coach Stephane Dube again before practice yesterday.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07041/761024-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 05:30 AM
Despite not scoring, Penguins' Armstrong has big hand in surge
Saturday, February 10, 2007

By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


TORONTO -- His slump doesn't come up in conversation much anymore. Nowhere near as often as it did in the early weeks of the season.

Perhaps that's because there are more positive streaks on which to focus, such as the 10-0-2 surge the Penguins are on as they prepare to face Toronto at 7:08 p.m. today at the Air Canada Centre.

Or maybe because it lost its shock value a while ago, and has simply become part of the landscape of the 2006-07 season.

Colby Armstrong, who entered the season as the right winger on the Penguins' No. 1 line, does not have a goal in his past 10 games. Which makes this drought a lot like the ones of 22 and 12 games that he endured earlier.

Armstrong, who plays with Max Talbot and Erik Christensen on the third line, has six goals in 52 games, hardly the pace anyone anticipated when he had Sidney Crosby feeding him pucks toward the end of last season and in the early weeks of this one.

"It's something you have to battle through," Armstrong said.

How the struggle to regain his scoring touch will play out remains to be seen. Armstrong, though, maintains his place in the lineup -- and in the team's plans -- because of the other facets of his game.

"We want him to contribute offensively, like everyone," coach Michel Therrien said. "But, in the meantime, he's having a huge role on our team.

"Killing penalties, being a good checker, making sure he plays the system well, being a tough guy to play against. That's his bread and butter. As long as he does that, he's going to be fine."

Whether opposing players will be is another matter. Armstrong made that point rather emphatically nine days ago, when he laid out Montreal captain Saku Koivu with a crushing hit.

Koivu was focused on the puck behind the goal line and seemed oblivious to Armstrong closing in on him until a split-second before Armstrong drove his right shoulder into Koivu and sent him hurtling.

"I saw him coming around [the net] with his head down," Armstrong said. "It didn't matter if it was Koivu. I really didn't notice who it was at the time. I just finished my check on him."

Koivu had barely touched the ice when Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray went after Armstrong, picking up 27 minutes worth of penalties for his trouble,

Armstrong wasn't surprised that a Montreal player came after him -- "I was expecting that," he said -- but made it clear that he won't alter his game in any way because of such threats to his well-being.

"I have to play in-your-face," he said. "I can't stop doing that, or I won't be here. I have to keep playing hard."

That's a given with Armstrong, regardless of his role or line. But being bumped from the top line to the No. 3 unit stung. Not because it bruised his ego, but because it underscored that he was not generating the offense his teammates and bosses expected.

"It's obviously a little upsetting at first," he said. "Not because of going from first to third, but because of the stats and production, things I obviously wish could have been going a little better."

Therrien pointed out that Armstrong had similar scoring problems when they were together with the Penguins' minor-league team in Wilkes-Barre two years ago, and Armstrong noted that his touch eventually returned.

"It's part of the game, I guess," he said. "Once it got going, things started going pretty well. Hopefully, I can get a few bounces here, do it for a few games in a row. Just keep working, and, hopefully, things turn around."

It helps, he allowed, that Crosby, Jordan Staal and Mark Recchi, who moved into his old spot on the top line, and others are showing up on the score sheet regularly. And especially that the Penguins are accumulating points without any significant offensive contribution from him.

"It's great that [Staal] is still putting the puck in the net like crazy," he said. "[Evgeni Malkin], [Recchi], Sid. ]Ryan Whitney] has been hot. [Sergei Gonchar] is doing his thing."

And maybe, just maybe, Armstrong is doing his. It could be that he was miscast as a top-six forward, that his game is best-suited to filling a blue-collar role.

"We always figured that Colby Armstrong would become a good checker in this league, a good third-line guy," Therrien said. "That was the plan, and that's what he's doing right now.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07041/761025-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 05:31 AM
Pens' playoff positioning drives need to excel

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, February 10, 2007


TORONTO - The Penguins played one of their worst games of the last month Thursday night in Philadelphia. They still got two points and moved up a spot in the standings -- from fifth to a tie for fourth with the Ottawa Senators.

The last time the Penguins were in fourth place or better in their conference this late in the season was 1999, the same year that Jaromir Jagr won his first Hart Trophy and his third Art Ross Trophy with 127 points.

Tonight, they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in a "Hockey Night in Canada" matchup, and a win would put them seven points ahead of the ninth-place Leafs.

It's a big game, but then again, every game for the last month has felt like a playoff game for the players. They expect the same to hold true over the final 27 games after tonight.

"I think the last month it's all been big games for us, just to be able to stay in the race," goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. "Hopefully, if we get those two points again (tonight). We'll be ahead, but not by much. There are so many teams involved in the race and not many points between them. Hopefully, we can just keep going like this and be at the top of the standings."

The Penguins are 10-0-2 in their last 12 games and are the only team in the league without a regulation loss in the last 10 games. The last time the Penguins lost in regulation was exactly one month ago, falling to the Florida Panthers, 5-2, on Jan. 10.

The Penguins' longest unbeaten streak is 18 games between March 9-April 13, 1993, when they won 17 in a row and earned a tie in the last game of the season.

But going into tonight's game, the Penguins lead the ninth-place Maple Leafs by only five points and the 10th-place New York Islanders by six.

"You look at the standings, and it's still incredibly close," center Dominic Moore said. "I think we just have to maintain our focus on improving. That's been our focus for most of the year. I think we play better when we're not watching the standings and we're just working on improving, and I think that's got to be our attitude. If we are looking at the standings, it's got to be looking up the ladder, as opposed to looking at who's behind you. I think that's the better way to approach it."

Thursday night's 5-4 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers was not one of their finest efforts of late, which every player in the dressing room will readily admit. The Penguins turned the puck over too much, got away from the team game they'd been playing so well, and they were only 3 for 5 on the penalty kill, for just a few examples.

But the Penguins (28-17-9) still found a reason to be even more confident going into tonight's game than, perhaps they would have been before.

"As much as it wasn't a great win, it's also a confidence booster in the sense that we didn't play well and still did it," Moore said.

Not that they're taking anything for granted.

"For the last 12 games, I think we've been playing pretty big games," center Maxime Talbot said. "A couple teammates and I were talking about how, if we'd won only half of the games we've won the last 12 games, we wouldn't even be in the playoffs. We'd be playing for .500. We're still battling every day for the playoffs because we're only five points out. Every game is huge."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_492580.html

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 05:33 AM
Notebook: Crosby still creates buzz in Toronto

Saturday, February 10, 2007


? This is Sidney Crosby's third trip to Toronto, but he was only slightly less mobbed by media than he was during his first trip last January. He had to have a news conference at the Ricoh Coliseum where the Penguins practiced for that trip, which was followed by his first NHL game in Canada. There was no news conference yesterday, but he was still surrounded by at least six cameras and two dozen reporters after he got off the ice following practice.

? After going 1-5 in their first five shootouts this season, the Penguins have won three in a row, including Thursday's victory over the Flyers. Credit goes to goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, center Maxime Talbot said. "Our success starts in one place, and it's in the net," Talbot said. "Yes, we talk about Sid and the best scorer and everything, and it's definitely nice to see, but it starts in the net, and lately, Fleury's been on his game. Nobody really wants to talk about it because we don't want to disturb him. He's just focused. You just want him to keep that state of mind because right now, he's relaxed, he's having fun and he's not feeling the pressure and that's when he's at his best."

Digits

4 - Goals in the past four games for rookie Jordan Staal, who has 20 this season.

2 - Number of games since the Penguins' last win in Toronto (0-1-1) on March 11, 2004.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_492583.html

skidboot
02-10-2007, 05:27 PM
Personally, I don't want to see a trade of any kind. Why mess with something that's working? We are rolling over four lines beautifully and I really don't see the point in bringing in a goon in order to mess that up. We have a pack mentality.

We don't like players going after Sid? Take out the opposing teams best man. See how they like it. At this point, I wouldn't change a thing. I don't think fighting changes much of anything in the new NHL. Hitting/checking does. Pens vs Habs game. The Habs took liberties. Armstrong laid out Koivu and we end up with a 10 minute PP in which we scored two PP goals. After scoring those two goals I can't imagine many on that Hab roster thinking to themselves "Boy, that was smart of us to go after Sid like that" while also watching their star player laid out on the ice courtesy of Colby Armstrong. I'll take that over two goons punching each other in the head. Don't get me wrong, I love a good fight, but between the pack mentality (fight or crush their best man) and our lethal PP I'll be more than happy to take what we have right now.

Just my opinion but I guess we will see if Shero goes out and picks up a goon in the next 19 days.


well, if someone takes out Crosby.......

getting the goon will say to the other teams....we'll beat you on the board and if you try something cheap you pay for it with your own blood also.


ya gotta protect Crosby.


I also think getting Fedoruk can play a bit also.
get him.

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 06:35 PM
I like Molinari's take on the issue, along with Savern's and Pompeani's (http://kdka.com/video/?cid=9 go to sports) which are similar....

Q: Why don't the Pens try to pick themselves up a goon before the trading deadline? Andre Roy seemed to fit the role, but was rarely used. How effective could a guy like Derian Hatcher, for example, be to protect our young stars on the ice? I give Jarkko Ruutu, Ryan Malone and Armstrong credit, but they hardly are intimidating. I'm sick of seeing Sid taking punishing blows and nobody seems to be paying for them.

Dave Shetler, Hollsopple, Pa.


MOLINARI: Andre Roy was rarely used -- and eventually waived -- because the Penguins decided he couldn't play well enough to take a regular shift, and they don't have the luxury of giving a spot in the lineup to a guy who isn't able to do that. Very few teams do.

The ability to play four lines regularly has been an important element in the Penguins' recent run, and that wouldn't be practical if they were dressing some troglodyte who couldn't contribute anything more than a hard right cross. While toughness is a terrific asset for any player, with the renewed emphasis on skill in the post-lockout NHL, it has to be combined with ability. Picking up a guy who's an accomplished fighter would be fine, but he has to be able to do more with his stick than shatter it over someone's skull.

Believing that tough guys should be able to play, it should be noted, is not a universal sentiment. There are a lot of people -- many working behind microphones and notepads -- who still think that a splash of testosterone and a shower of fists is the only conceivable response to any show of aggressiveness by an opponent. Imagine how surprised those folks will be when word reaches them that the earth isn't flat.

As for making opponents "pay" for their actions, which of these would have represented a higher cost for Montreal: Having Souray absorb a few punches from some knuckle-dragger in retaliation for his attack on Armstrong, or the two goals the Penguins scored during the seven minutes of power plays Souray's actions gave them?

The answer to that one should be obvious to almost everyone. And the rest presumably will get it if Montreal loses home-ice advantage in the playoffs -- or even fails to qualify -- because of the point it lost when the Penguins scored those goals.

What's more, the referees have to take some responsibility for protecting players. It's not that Crosby, or anyone else, deserves special treatment, but spears and high sticks like the ones he's gotten in recent games are flat-out violations of the rules, no matter who is on the receiving end. If the officials see such infractions, they have an obligation to call them. And if they make a habit of not seeing them, the league has an obligation to steer those guys into another line of work.

Finally, Crosby can count on receiving physical punishment -- sometimes legal, sometimes not -- from opponents for the balance of his career, because of the way he plays. He doesn't just make an occasional cameo appearance in high-traffic areas; he goes there by design, and thrives. He knows he will be challenged, and hit, when he gets around the other team's net, but accepts that as the price that must be paid for goals and assists and victories. Blend that mind-set with his skill level, conditioning and strength, and it becomes easier to understand how he has become dominant at age 19.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07040/760523-125.stm

I also enjoyed Damien Cox's article pertaining to Crosby and the need for "protection"....

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=cox_damien&id=2758528

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 07:04 PM
Maple Leafs : 0

Jordan Staal: 2

X-Terminator
02-10-2007, 07:11 PM
:shake01:

That kind of mentality is exactly what's wrong with the game today. They obviously don't understand the difference between a "goon" and an "enforcer." Goons do all of the stuff they point out. Enforcers are there to stick up for their players and make sure that the goons and people like Lapierre who take runs and cheap shots at their teammates pay the price for it. Any self-respecting hockey fan understands that fundamental difference. They also would not be a fan or at least respect a team like the Ducks, who leads the NHL with 52 fighting majors and whose GM is on record as saying that he will never field a team without an enforcer. And the last time I checked, they are at the top of their division with a real chance at winning the Cup. They play the game the way it used to be played, and should be played - speed, skill and toughness in spades. A guy like Fedoruk or Georges Laraque would be perfect for the Pens, because they've both shown that they can take a regular shift and not hurt you out there - hell, Laraque has 20 points and is a +4 for the season while playing on the 4th line in Phoenix. Therrien certainly wouldn't mind that.

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 07:12 PM
lol,

Well, we get the two goals and then we take back to back penalties. Gotta stay out of that box. We are playing fine 5 on 5 guys. Let's go!!!

Man Ouellet is so close to scoring. Kid could have had a HT by now. Blown chances (2 in the first, 1 in the second).

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 07:15 PM
Malkin makes it 3-0 Penguins on the PP assisted by who else? Sid. Nice shot by Geno.

X-Terminator
02-10-2007, 07:20 PM
And just to hammer home my point, look at what just happened to Colby Armstrong courtesy of Hal Gill. And we don't need an enforcer....riiiiiiiiight....

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 07:20 PM
LOL, I LOVE IT.

Colby got a cheap shot by Gill (no penalty) and Colby fought back. Nice. Way to not put up with any **** Army. Hats off brother. Keep scoring those goals boys!!! Beat'em where it counts.

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 07:22 PM
Uh-oh, somebody breakout the kleenex and diapers, Sundin is upset.

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 07:26 PM
3-1 Leafs score. That's fine boys. Bounce back and get it back.

Leafs take a penalty and the Pens are on the PP. :banana:

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 07:33 PM
Ouch. 3-2 Pens. Sundin was due. It's okay guys. Still early.

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 07:38 PM
Tie game 3-3 with under a minute left in the 2nd. Hell, I'll take a point tonight and be happy.

X-Terminator
02-10-2007, 07:41 PM
Looks like Hal Gill got the Leafs jump-started, and they came back to tie it up. Hope the Pens can shake it off, come back in the 3rd and put another one in the win column.

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 08:01 PM
4-4 now. Leafs come out and score. Pens battle back and Malone scores. Nice. Staal was about a inch north of his first NHL HT. Damn. Momentum is starting to swing back in the pens favor.

Also Talbot LIT UP Mr. Gill. Revenge is beautiful.

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 08:25 PM
OHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Petrovicky get's into the fight and KNOCKS NEWBERRY OUT COLD!!!

HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!

Beautiful fight. That'll make ESPN. Well done Petrovicky. You earned your stripes tonight in my book. What a fight and thank you Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey.

83-Steelers-43
02-10-2007, 08:46 PM
PENS WIN IN OT!!!!! JORDAN STAAL WITH HIS FIRST CAREER HT!!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!

X-Terminator
02-10-2007, 08:54 PM
That was one of the best games I've seen all year, and I'd have said it if the Pens had lost. What a performance by Jordan Staal! There's no question now that this kid has arrived. And to think, he wasn't even supposed to play for the Pens this year!

The KO of Newbury was just beautiful as well - cleanest KO I've seen since Ryan Vandenbussche KOed Nick Kypreos and ended his career. I hope Newbury's OK, but that was still a beauty!

SteelCityMan786
02-10-2007, 09:11 PM
A hard and well earned Penguins win. 11-0-2. KEEP IT GOING PENGUINS!

X-Terminator
02-10-2007, 10:47 PM
The funny thing is that lost in all of the excitement over Staal's first career hat trick is the fact that Malkin had a 4-point night. That line of Staal, Malkin and Ouellet has really been good ever since Therrien put them together.

Also, that OT game winner was the first 3-on-3 goal scored this season.

X-Terminator
02-10-2007, 11:28 PM
Patrick administration with Pens looking better

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, February 11, 2007

Going into their game Saturday against Toronto, the Penguins were on pace for 99 points, which would represent a 41-point improvement on last season's total.

And that would be the fifth-largest one-year jump in NHL history, behind the following teams:

1. The 1993-94 San Jose Sharks, under Kevin Constantine, improved by 58 points (from 24 to 82).

2. The 1992-93 Quebec Nordiques improved by 52 points (from 52 to 104).

3. The 1981-82 Winnipeg Jets improved by 48 points (from 32 to 80).

4. The 2001-02 New York Islanders improved by 44 points (from 52 to 96).

Obviously, there's a ton of credit to dispense here, the bulk of which must go to Sidney Crosby. None of this happens if the Penguins don't miraculously win the draft lottery two years ago.

Most of Crosby's teammates - from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to rookie of the year Evgeni Malkin to role players such as Maxime Talbot - have done their part and more.

The coaching staff, led by Michel Therrien, and the front office, headed by new general manager Ray Shero, deserve all the accolades that come their way, too.

But the purpose here is to commend former general manager Craig Patrick and his administration.

These guys are looking better every day.

That doesn't mean firing Patrick and revamping the organization was a mistake, by any stretch. It really, really, really needed to happen. But the more you watch this team, the more you appreciate the work some of those guys did - particularly head scout Greg Malone.

The Penguins drafted poorly, to be kind, from 1993-1999. Some of that had to do with winning a lot and thus choosing from a low position, but other teams (New Jersey, Colorado, Ottawa) managed to win and draft well.

The Penguins struck out more than Jose Hernandez during that stretch but regained their touch beginning in 2000. That has become clear watching this year's team.

Look at some of the unheralded but important contributors. Erik Christensen (11 goals) was a third-round pick in 2002, Michel Ouellet (nine power-play goals) was a fourth-round pick in 2000 and Talbot was an eighth-round pick in 2002.

Brooks Orpik (18th overall, 2000) and Colby Armstrong (21st overall, 2001) were solid first-round picks, as evidenced by the fact that several players drafted before and after them have done nothing.

The Penguins also made two brilliant high-end choices in Ryan Whitney (fifth overall in 2002) and Marc-Andre Fleury (first overall in 2003). Patrick traded up from third to first to take Fleury and gave up a second-round pick in the process.

Some wondered if it was wise to take a goaltender that early, given that goalies can be hard to project.

"You are never sure of anything when you're drafting 18-year-olds," Patrick said at the time. "But I think the guys at the top of this draft are very predictable. They are very safe picks, and Marc-Andre is among them."

Two other draft choices that figure to pay big dividends as offensive wizards on the blue line: Kris Letang (third round, 2005) and Alex Goligoski (second round, 2004).

Patrick's decision to lavish Sergei Gonchar with a five-year, $25 million contract doesn't look so bad now that Gonchar is among the top-scoring defensemen in the NHL and a key on the power play.

Give Patrick credit, too, for bringing coach Michel Therrien into the organization, on then-coach Eddie Olczyk's recommendation.

If Therrien isn't the favorite for NHL Coach of the Year, something's wrong.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_492717.html

X-Terminator
02-10-2007, 11:31 PM
Pens' coach Michel Therrien: A timeline

By The Tribune-Review
Sunday, February 11, 2007

Therrien timeline

Nov. 4, 1963: Born in Montreal

1980: Drafted as a defenseman by Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

1983: Helps coach Jacques Lemaire's Longueuil team upset Mario Lemieux and Laval to become the first QMJHL expansion team to play for league title.


1985: Teams with goaltender Patrick Roy on Calder Cup-winning Sherbrooke Canadiens of the American Hockey League.

1986: Signs with Penguins' AHL affiliate in Baltimore, plays final minor-league season.

1990: Gains first coaching job, as part-time assistant with Laval.

1993: Assistant coach under Bob Hartley with Laval's QMJHL championship team.

1993: Replaces Hartley as Laval coach.

1995: Becomes coach of Granby of QMJHL.

1996: Leads Granby to QMJHL title and Memorial Cup.

1997: Hired by Montreal Canadiens to coach their AHL affiliate in Fredericton.

Nov. 20, 2000: Replaces Alain Vigneault as Canadiens coach.

April, 2002: Leads eighth-seeded Canadiens to first playoff berth since 1998 and an upset of top-seeded Boston Bruins

May, 2002: Late-game meltdown in Game 4 against Carolina leads to series loss in six games.

Jan. 17, 2003: Fired by Canadiens.

July 15, 2003: Replaces Glenn Patrick as coach of the Penguins' AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre.

2004: Leads Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to Calder Cup final, where it loses to Milwaukee.

2005: Despite seeing several key players called up, leads Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to the AHL's all-time best start, 21-1-2-1.

Dec. 15, 2005: Replaces Eddie Olczyk as Penguins coach.

April 20, 2006: After Penguins learn they will draft second overall, Therrien says, "We're happy to get the No. 2 pick, but let me tell you something: This is the last time we're going to draft No. 1, No. 2, No. 3.' "

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_492682.html

X-Terminator
02-10-2007, 11:33 PM
Penguins Notebook: Whitney's steady progress could lead to big things

Sunday, February 11, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

TORONTO -- He is still learning to play the position, still figuring out precisely what his considerable skills will allow him to do.

Which is what should concern other teams.

For while Ryan Whitney's game remains a work-in-progress -- just about every part of it can be polished and upgraded -- he has developed into a reliable contributor for the Penguins.

He entered the game against Toronto at the Air Canada Centre as the No. 9 scorer among NHL defensemen, with 10 goals and 31 assists, and trailed Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, who ranks first, by just eight points.

But, whereas Lidstrom is a 36-year-old with an impressive collection of Norris trophies, Whitney is 23, and is just beginning to live up to the potential that might allow him to contend for a Norris someday.

"He's a smart player who moves the puck really well and is playing really well on the power play," coach Michel Therrien said. "He's going to get better and better. I've known that kid for three years, and there's always been improvement over those years.

"We really like his progress. We really believe in that kid. That, eventually, he'll become one of the best defensemen in the National Hockey League."

He's got the words for it

Although Maple Leafs winger Jeff O'Neill still has some hockey left in him -- he had 18 goals and 20 assists in 55 games before facing the Penguins -- his way with words suggests he probably has a future in broadcasting when he retires.

When asked yesterday about the perils of giving the Penguins' power play too many opportunities -- it went 8 for 20 in two previous games against the Maple Leafs -- O'Neill responded that doing so was tantamount to "playing leapfrog with a unicorn."

His coach, Paul Maurice, acknowledged that he could not express it any better than that, but made it clear he agreed.

"That's quite a visual, isn't it?" he said, smiling. "It was fairly appropriate."

Lofty goals

It is impossible to predict, at least with certainty, how many points will be needed to lock up a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Tampa Bay claimed the final spot last season with 92. Using that as a benchmark, the Penguins went into the game last night knowing that playing .500 hockey the rest of the season could be enough to get them in.

Several players were emphatic, however, that while qualifying for the postseason is the top priority, they don't necessarily want to settle for simply slipping in.

"We just want to win as many as we can," Whitney said. "It's important to play above .500 [the rest of the way]. That way, if we do get into the playoffs, we'll be playing great going into it.

"I don't think we want to kind of stumble in at .500, and just get in. We want to be a fourth or fifth seed. We have 28 games left so, 18-10, or something like that, that's a goal to shoot for."

Lots of rest for Aubin

Ex-Penguins goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin, Andrew Raycroft's backup with the Maple Leafs, played 20 minutes in the 16 games before last night and should not expect his workload to increase soon.

"It's difficult, because we don't have a set of back-to-back games until the end of the month," Maurice said. "We are in the playoff push. You don't put your backup in Game 2, hoping your No. 1 is ready for Game 7."

Telling his own story

Toronto winger Alexei Ponikarovsky has launched a Web Site devoted to, well, Alexei Ponikarovsky.

"I'm going to try and tell my story there ... not too many Russian players have their own Web sites, so I'm going to give it a try," he told the Toronto Star.

There are two versions of the Web site: One in English, the other in Russian for fans in his homeland.

Slap shots

Raycroft, on being matched against Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury: "He's 200 feet away. I won't even be able to smell him out there." ... Although the Penguins' game-day skate was optional, veteran right winger Mark Recchi was the only one who did not go on the ice. ... Asked if there would be a carryover from the two earlier losses to the Penguins, Toronto defenseman Bryan McCabe said, "We remember getting a beatdown, that's for sure."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07042/761168-61.stm

X-Terminator
02-10-2007, 11:35 PM
Dave Molinari on the Penguins: A weekly look inside the team, the issues, the questions

Sunday, February 11, 2007

As trade deadline nears, the Hall of Shame provides a needed reality check

No general manager goes into trade talks hoping to be the guy who deals away Zdeno Chara and the No. 2 pick in the draft for Alexei Yashin and his bloated contract, or negotiates to swap Cam Neely and a No. 1 choice for Barry Pederson. It happens, though, which underscores the element of risk in any personnel exchange, no matter how promising it looks at the time.

That's something Penguins general manager Ray Shero might want to keep in mind as he ponders potential moves between now and the Feb. 27 trade deadline. And if he needs specific reminders of what can happen, he can consult this list of what might well be the half-dozen worst deals in Penguins history. They are:

6. Tom Roulston from Edmonton for Kevin McCelland and a No. 6 draft choice. The Penguins needed goals, and Roulston had produced them at every level. Except, it turned out, the NHL. He scored 11 in 58 games before being cut loose, while McClelland went on to be a valuable contributor to the Oilers' dynasty.

5. Kris Beech, Ross Lupaschuk and Michel Sivek from Washington for Jaromir Jagr and Frantisek Kucera. The Penguins couldn't afford to keep Jagr, and dealing him for three young players who came cheap and had the potential to develop into NHL regulars seemed like the way to make the best of a bad situation. Might have been, too, if any of the three had even a token impact with the Penguins. It should be scant consolation for them that Jagr didn't live up to the Capitals' overblown expectations for him, either, and subsequently was dealt to New York.

4. Rod Schutt from Montreal for a No. 1 draft choice. Local lore has long held that then-GM Baz Bastien had the mistaken impression he was getting all-star winger Steve Shutt, not unproven prospect Rod Schutt, from the Canadiens. Oops.

3. Ron Meighan and Anders Hakanson from Minnesota for George Ferguson and a No. 1 draft choice. The key element was the draft choice, which ended up being the first overall in 1983 after the Penguins plunged to the bottom of the overall standings. Had they kept it, the Penguins could have drafted Steve Yzerman or Pat LaFontaine or Cam Neely. Of course, the North Stars could have, too, but they passed on those guys in favor of Brian Lawton.

2. Hartland Monahan from Washington for a No. 1 draft choice. Monahan played seven -- count 'em, seven -- games before being traded to Los Angeles with Syl Apps for Dave Schultz, Gene Carr and a fourth-round draft choice. The Capitals eventually sent the pick, which ended up being the 10th overall in the 1979 draft, to the North Stars, who spent it on Tom McCarthy.

1. Alek Stojanov from Vancouver for Markus Naslund. It doesn't matter that the Penguins needed the toughness Stojanov provided before his NHL career was aborted by an auto accident or that Naslund was intimidated by the strong personalities in the Penguins' locker room during the mid-1990s and probably never would have lived up to his enormous potential if he had stayed here.

Pondering the power of John LeClair's 'Mini Me'

It has been more than two months since the Penguins severed ties with left winger John LeClair, but he continues to be a presence in their locker room.

Just not a very large one.

A LeClair action figure, sporting Team USA colors, is propped on a shelf in the locker room at Mellon Arena.

Asked recently what the point of the figure was, one player responded simply, "He helps us."

He didn't elaborate, but this much is certain: Any contribution LeClair makes now will be strictly intangible because, at roughly 8 inches tall, he couldn't be nearly as imposing in front of the net as he once was.

To what was, what is ... and what should be again

Vladislav Tretiak, head of the Russian hockey federation and a Hall of Fame goaltender, has gone public with his desire for a sequel to the legendary 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union.

That eight-game series, which Canada won on a goal by Paul Henderson in the final minute of the last game, established Tretiak as a world-class talent and the Soviets as worthy adversaries for NHL players.

How viable Tretiak's idea is remains to be seen -- until Russia agrees to participate in the NHL-International Ice Hockey Federation transfer agreement, the chances of such an event being held are nil -- but two Penguins who would be candidates to participate heartily endorsed it.

"Don't you think everybody would love it?" Russian defenseman Sergei Gonchar asked. "It would be great."

Sidney Crosby of Canada agreed. "I think everyone would be interested in that."

Although neither Gonchar nor Crosby had been born when the Summit Series was contested, both are well-versed in its finer points. Crosby picked up insights from Team Canada forward J.P. Parise, director of hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Minnesota when he attended school there, and Gonchar has seen tapes of some of the games.

"It was such a big thing at that time," Gonchar said. "Everybody watched those games. I remember people talking about how great the games were."

And now they're talking about how great it would be to play them again.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07042/761166-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-11-2007, 07:43 AM
Petrovicky vs Newberry Fight: http://youtube.com/watch?v=4nttgE3RUA8

:jammin: :sofunny:

I also wish I had the clip of Talbot cracking Gill one on the boards. Nice little payback hit for Gill's physical play on Armstrong. :smile:

Also, you gotta love that Canadian media "eh"? Jealousy is a bitch...

http://www.sportsnet.ca/images/nhl/tor/gill_crosby_hit_hor.jpg
Hall Gill shows Sidney Crosby what he thinks of crybabies in the NHL (AP)

http://www.sportsnet.ca/

skidboot
02-11-2007, 10:50 AM
When the Canadian Media makes a remark like that about a Canadian Born player you can bet its justified.

Most people up here think that Crosby is a Whiner....me included.


TONS...I mean TONS of talent but he really whines.

X-Terminator
02-11-2007, 11:08 AM
When the Canadian Media makes a remark like that about a Canadian Born player you can bet its justified.

Most people up here think that Crosby is a Whiner....me included.


TONS...I mean TONS of talent but he really whines.

Based on what? Last year? I'm sorry, but after watching every single game he plays in, that sentiment is completely unjustified. Crosby hasn't once whined about being hit or even the cheap shots he's taken - I've read the interviews after the Blake spear and Lapierre butt-end, and he downplayed both. You guys act like he's not supposed to get upset whenever he takes a cheap shot! He completely understands that he's a target every time he steps on the ice. He has not been penalized once this season for bitching to the referees, while Alexander Ovechkin, everyone's favorite player "cause he hits," has been - and it seems that nobody ever comes down on him for his cheap shot on Daniel Briere. Crosby plays the game with an edge and intensity you'd think other fans, Canadian and American alike, would admire. But of course, none of that matters, because you guys are just looking for something to hate about him, and it quite frankly pisses me the F off.

HometownGal
02-11-2007, 11:08 AM
The funny thing is that lost in all of the excitement over Staal's first career hat trick is the fact that Malkin had a 4-point night. That line of Staal, Malkin and Ouellet has really been good ever since Therrien put them together.

Also, that OT game winner was the first 3-on-3 goal scored this season.

What an awesome game! :banana: I am so happy for Jordan and I agree - that 2nd line has been on fire since Therrien joined them up. That game was definitely quite physical and though I was happy to see Petro clean Newbury's clock, I hate to see another player injured. Any word on his condition?

skidboot
02-11-2007, 12:02 PM
Based on what? Last year? I'm sorry, but after watching every single game he plays in, that sentiment is completely unjustified. Crosby hasn't once whined about being hit or even the cheap shots he's taken - I've read the interviews after the Blake spear and Lapierre butt-end, and he downplayed both. You guys act like he's not supposed to get upset whenever he takes a cheap shot! He completely understands that he's a target every time he steps on the ice. He has not been penalized once this season for bitching to the referees, while Alexander Ovechkin, everyone's favorite player "cause he hits," has been - and it seems that nobody ever comes down on him for his cheap shot on Daniel Briere. Crosby plays the game with an edge and intensity you'd think other fans, Canadian and American alike, would admire. But of course, none of that matters, because you guys are just looking for something to hate about him, and it quite frankly pisses me the F off.


Funny how basically everyone except for Pens fans think he is a Whiner. IMO when it comes to whining, he ranks up there with Darcy Tucker.

it also sounds to me that you are a wee bit jealous of Ovechkin?...non? For the record Ovechkin is not my favourite player....I prefer Joe Thornton.


I've said that I think Crosby has TONS of talent...TONS, yet you I guess failed to read that.
I wish I could say I'm surprised but it seems all Pens fans have this shield up when it comes to Crosby. One big shield and one big Circle Jerk going on at the same time.


Good luck to the Pens. Helluva team and they are going to be a real force.

X-Terminator
02-11-2007, 12:23 PM
Based on what? Last year? I'm sorry, but after watching every single game he plays in, that sentiment is completely unjustified. Crosby hasn't once whined about being hit or even the cheap shots he's taken - I've read the interviews after the Blake spear and Lapierre butt-end, and he downplayed both. You guys act like he's not supposed to get upset whenever he takes a cheap shot! He completely understands that he's a target every time he steps on the ice. He has not been penalized once this season for bitching to the referees, while Alexander Ovechkin, everyone's favorite player "cause he hits," has been - and it seems that nobody ever comes down on him for his cheap shot on Daniel Briere. Crosby plays the game with an edge and intensity you'd think other fans, Canadian and American alike, would admire. But of course, none of that matters, because you guys are just looking for something to hate about him, and it quite frankly pisses me the F off.


Funny how basically everyone except for Pens fans think he is a Whiner. IMO when it comes to whining, he ranks up there with Darcy Tucker.

it also sounds to me that you are a wee bit jealous of Ovechkin?...non? For the record Ovechkin is not my favourite player....I prefer Joe Thornton.


I've said that I think Crosby has TONS of talent...TONS, yet you I guess failed to read that.
I wish I could say I'm surprised but it seems all Pens fans have this shield up when it comes to Crosby. One big shield and one big Circle Jerk going on at the same time.


Good luck to the Pens. Helluva team and they are going to be a real force.

I could say the same thing about your view of Crosby that you say about my comments on Ovechkin. But I won't. I happen to be a fan of Ovechkin - great player, and definitely deserved the Calder last season. I don't go around hating on him for some warped reason. And please, comparing Crosby to a jackass like Darcy Tucker is like comparing Hines Ward to Chris Henry in terms of character. An absolutely ridiculous comparison.

I do think it's funny that so many Canadians bash Crosby for being a whiner, but worship the ground that Wayne Gretzky walks on. He was a whiner and a diver during his heyday - but I guess that's OK because it's Wayne the God.

Yeah, I'm pretty damn bitter about this "Crosby is a whiner" sentiment - I don't deny that, especially when I see idiots actually wishing someone broke his neck and ends his career. I normally don't engage people because it really doesn't do any good - no one's minds are going to be changed. I just couldn't stand it anymore this morning so I had to speak up, but this is likely going to be my last post on this subject. Feel free to hate him all you want.

LarryNJ
02-11-2007, 03:05 PM
You have to wonder how many times they actually have watched him play?

83-Steelers-43
02-11-2007, 04:14 PM
You have to wonder how many times they actually have watched him play?

You have to wonder if these people have ever actually ever saw Sid get his teeth knocked out by Hatcher on a cheap hit or a spear by Blake or NUMEROUS clutchings by players who can't hang with him. But that's not the case. They do not watch him every night on FSN and see what this kid puts up with night after night. They see what they see on Canadian TV. GO FIGURE.

Like I said, it's jealousy. That's all it comes down to in my book. I wonder if these people would be singing the same tune if Crosby was wearing Leaf Blue and white or Canadien Red/Blue/White. I strongly doubt it.

HometownGal
02-11-2007, 06:16 PM
I could say the same thing about your view of Crosby that you say about my comments on Ovechkin. But I won't. I happen to be a fan of Ovechkin - great player, and definitely deserved the Calder last season. I don't go around hating on him for some warped reason. And please, comparing Crosby to a jackass like Darcy Tucker is like comparing Hines Ward to Chris Henry in terms of character. An absolutely ridiculous comparison.

I do think it's funny that so many Canadians bash Crosby for being a whiner, but worship the ground that Wayne Gretzky walks on. He was a whiner and a diver during his heyday - but I guess that's OK because it's Wayne the God.

Yeah, I'm pretty damn bitter about this "Crosby is a whiner" sentiment - I don't deny that, especially when I see idiots actually wishing someone broke his neck and ends his career. I normally don't engage people because it really doesn't do any good - no one's minds are going to be changed. I just couldn't stand it anymore this morning so I had to speak up, but this is likely going to be my last post on this subject. Feel free to hate him all you want.

Bravo XT! :thumbsup: :cheers:

I do think it's funny that so many Canadians bash Crosby for being a whiner, but worship the ground that Wayne Gretzky walks on. He was a whiner and a diver during his heyday - but I guess that's OK because it's Wayne the God.

Isn't that the truth?

I, too, am tiring of hearing the incessant whining about Sid. Not only is it a load of hooey, it reeks of sour grapes.

X-Terminator
02-12-2007, 01:49 AM
Bravo XT! :thumbsup: :cheers:



Isn't that the truth?

I, too, am tiring of hearing the incessant whining about Sid. Not only is it a load of hooey, it reeks of sour grapes.

Exactly right. And this story I'm sure will add to the hate and jealousy that many of these fans feel:

Crosby's points lead impressive to teammates

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, February 12, 2007

Sidney Crosby's teammates are used to seeing him accomplish mind-boggling feats on the ice, whether it's scoring a highlight goal or making the perfect pass through traffic.

"Yeah, I think everybody's amazed and impressed by him every day," goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. "There are still times when we say 'Holy (expletive), how did he do that?' It's good to have him on my side."

But what the 19-year-old center's doing now -- running away with the NHL scoring race -- has even his teammates in awe. Crosby, who became the youngest player ever to break the 100-point mark in the NHL last year with 102 points in 81 games for sixth in the NHL, has 87 points in 52 games this season.

Going into Sunday's games, he led the Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin, the Atlanta Thrashers' Marian Hossa and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Martin St. Louis by 15 points in the scoring race.

Last season, he had 59 points through the same number of games, and is on pace to top 120 points this season for what could be his first of many Art Ross trophies for the league's top scorer.

"It's incredible," forward Colby Armstrong said. "I think his attitude and the way he approaches every game is key to that. He's ready to play every night and he's focused. He just takes it a game at a time. He never gets caught up in anything, and I think that's the key to his success. I think a lot of people can learn from how he handles himself."

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton won the Art Ross last season with 125 points. It was the highest points total since Jaromir Jagr had 127 in 1997-98.

Like last year when the hardware in question was the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year, Crosby will tell anyone who asks that he isn't thinking about trophies except, of course, the Stanley Cup. But his teammates would like to see him win the scoring title, nonetheless.

"He's the ultimate team guy," Armstrong said. "He's always about the team, never about his individual awards. All the success he has, it's great to see because he's such a great guy."

Center Dominic Moore, who played for the New York Rangers last season, believes that Crosby's success is influencing the Penguins' success as a team, and vice versa.

"Last year was his first year and it's clear that he's a lot more comfortable now, a lot more confident now," Moore said. "Last year being on the other side, yeah, I was obviously very intent on stopping him. But to be honest, the team wasn't that effective, so I think that goes hand in hand with it. He feels more confident with his team as well."

When it comes to Crosby, teammate Maxime Talbot said, the sky's the limit.

"I can never imagine what he's going to reach in his career and what he's going to reach the next couple of years," Talbot said. "I guess there's no limit. You can't see where he's going to go. Right now, it's absolutely amazing, though. It's fun to be part of, too, because he's making us win, too."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_492794.html

X-Terminator
02-12-2007, 02:13 AM
Coach may soon get more recognition for script behind team's success

Monday, February 12, 2007

By Dave Molinari
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Penguins' better play this season can be accredited to coach Michel Therrien's attention to detail. Here's a look at the team's improvements this year:

The Penguins' 11-0-2 surge lifted the team into a tie with Ottawa for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

At 29-17-9, the Penguins have won 17 more games than they did at this point last season (12-32-11).

After 55 games, they have 67 points, up from 35 at the same time last winter.

The Penguins have allowed 171 goals through 55 games, an average of 3.1 per game. At this point last season they were giving up 4.04 goals per contest (222).

Goal scoring is up for the Penguins. They have averaged 3.5 goals per game this season compared to 2.76 scores per contest last year at this point.

It was suggested during an NBC broadcast Jan. 13 that Michel Therrien was on the verge of being fired as coach of the Penguins.

It seemed off-the-wall and more than a bit absurd at the time, for a variety of reasons.

Not anymore.

Now, it sounds like the kind of inside information that would come from the business end of a bong.

A few hours after that dire pronouncement about Therrien's future, the Penguins finished off a 5-3 victory in Philadelphia. They haven't lost in regulation since.

So when NBC dispatches a crew here for the game Sunday against Washington, Therrien's job security -- which, in the real world, never was even remotely in doubt -- doesn't figure to come up in the conversation.

But if the broadcasters still want to talk about him, perhaps they could discuss his credentials as a coach of the year candidate. Which are far more valid than some people in the industry might realize.

Although the 11-0-2 surge that has lifted the Penguins into a tie with Ottawa for fourth place in the Eastern Conference is starting to attract attention across the continent -- it's kind of tough to ignore a team that has taken at least one point out of every game for a month -- not much of it has focused on Therrien.

Instead, the talk is of Sidney Crosby, and how he's a serious threat to win his first NHL scoring title and MVP award. How goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has dramatically elevated his game. How the poise and productivity of rookie forwards Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal belie their age and inexperience.

Which, Therrien said, is precisely how it should be.

"I've always been a believer that players deserve the credit," he said. "We write the script, but the actors have to act."

He has a point. Give Tony Dungy a group of awful football players to work with, and you'd end up with a group of well-coached, awful football players.

But it also is true that casting Al Pacino in the lead role won't help if the script is for Bedtime for Bonzo. That's why it's ridiculous to suggest that Therrien and his assistants, Mike Yeo and Andre Savard, have been little more than casual bystanders to what the Penguins have accomplished this season.

After 55 games, they have 67 points, up from 35 at the same time last winter.

"All of them have prepared us to play every game," defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "We still have to go out and do it, but they've told us the way we have to play to win games. And when we've done what they've said, we've won."

When Therrien replaced Eddie Olczyk as coach 14 months ago, he emphasized adding structure, on and off the ice. Practices were demanding, performance critiques tough.

This year, the days off -- like one yesterday -- are more frequent, the decibel level generally lower.

"He's communicated very well with the guys this year," right winger Mark Recchi said. "And he's been very composed in how he's handled things."

That should not be construed as a sign that Therrien is going soft, however.

"He'll still tear a strip off you if he has to," left winger Erik Christensen said.

The fact is, though, that he doesn't often have to, because the players understand what he wants from them.

"It's not a matter that I've mellowed," Therrien said. "They know what the standard is. They know what the standard of our work ethic is. They know the standard for competing. They know the standard for being disciplined. They know what I'm expecting from them."

And the players know what to expect from Therrien: A well-conceived, thorough game plan built on a framework designed to take full advantage of their speed and skill.

"He's brought a system that works so well when it's done right," Christensen said.

Earlier in his career, Therrien had a reputation for being hardwired to coach defensive hockey, for treating it as his alpha and omega. But while that remains the cornerstone of his philosophy, Therrien doesn't shackle the Penguins' gifted players by turning them into one-way automatons.

"We have a plan when we don't have the puck," he said. "And we have a plan when we have the puck."

And a plan for just about everything else. Therrien has an eye for detail, and little tolerance for those who ignore them.

The Penguins might lose games because other teams are more talented or experienced or sharper, but not because those clubs are better-prepared.

"He's done a real good job of realizing what it takes for us to win," Whitney said, "and showing us how to do it."

If that doesn't change, the members of the NHL Broadcasters Association who vote for the Jack Adams Award might begin to take notice, although Therrien insists that's a non-issue for him.

"Honest to God, I don't think about those things," he said. "I'm thinking about the big picture with our team, where we want to be at the end of the year. Where we want to be in a few years."

It will be up to others to realize how far the Penguins have come. And who has helped to lead them there.

Assuming, of course, that it doesn't all go up in smoke.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07043/761344-61.stm

83-Steelers-43
02-12-2007, 07:47 AM
Penguins confident they're the real deal

Canadian Press

2/11/2007 1:29:53 PM

TORONTO (CP) - Pity the team that faces the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

By now it should be clear to everyone in the hockey world that Sid the Kid and the rest of the kids on his Penguins squad will almost surely make the post-season. The question now is just how far they'll go.

"We believe if we play the right way we can beat anybody right now," said veteran Penguins winger Mark Recchi, the lone greybeard on his club. "That's where our confidence is."

That confidence is oozing out of the dressing room of the Eastern Conference's youngest club thanks to an 11-0-2 run in their last 13 games. The Penguins (29-17-9) sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with 67 points, and could even give the New Jersey Devils (74 points) a run for first place in the Atlantic Division.

"We're playing some pretty good hockey," said sophomore superstar Sidney Crosby. "Everyone is contributing. We don't want to look too far ahead, we're just trying to feed off the confidence that we're building."

It's just too tempting to compare this up-and-coming team to the Edmonton Oilers teams of the early 1980s when Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Paul Coffey formed a young nucleus that would go on to dominate the decade and win five Stanley Cups.

Now it's Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal - all under the age of 21 but growing by leaps and bounds.

The sky seems to be the limit right now for these flying Penguins.

"It's not like a ****y confidence or anything, it's just that when we come into a game and follow our game plan, we're going to play Penguin hockey," said third-line winger Colby Armstrong.

Penguin hockey is fast and furious. And it's more than Crosby. When his top line with Recchi and Ryan Malone was largely shut down Saturday night by Toronto - Crosby limited to one assist - the second line of Malkin between Staal and Michel Ouellet picked up the slack in a 6-5 overtime win. Staal's first career NHL hat trick, including the OT winner, took the heat off Crosby.

"Last year Sid had a great year but now we have a 1-2 punch and it seems to be working," said the 18-year-old Staal, who has 23 goals. "Evgeni is a great hockey player, he sees the ice so well, I just try to get open and it seems to be working."<

Few people in and around hockey had the Penguins sitting fourth in the East by mid-February given their 29th-place finish in the 30-team league last season.

"The one thing we talked about the first meeting at training camp was changing the attitude here in this organization," said the second-year Armstrong. "(GM) Ray (Shero) came in and brought in some new guys. We started fresh with a new system and everybody jumped on board. It took a little while but we learned together."

The key, says the 39-year-old Recchi, who played on Pittsburgh's first Cup-champion team in 1990-91, is not to feel satisfied now. The most important hockey of the season is still ahead.

"We want to keep pushing forward here," Recchi said. "We're still growing as a team, we're still learning how to win. Now our biggest challenge is to stay consistent, stay focused and make sure we don't have any letdowns in the next little while."

If they play Penguin hockey, the wins will keep coming.

"When we skate like we can, we make it very hard on other teams," said Recchi, won a Cup with Carolina last spring. "We actually haven't been at our best lately but we're finding ways to win and we're learning from that."

Added Staal: "It seems like this team never wants to give up and that's what good teams do. We're never satisfied without a win."

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=195852&hubname=nhl

HometownGal
02-12-2007, 08:22 AM
Coach may soon get more recognition for script behind team's success

Monday, February 12, 2007

By Dave Molinari
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Penguins' better play this season can be accredited to coach Michel Therrien's attention to detail. Here's a look at the team's improvements this year:

The Penguins' 11-0-2 surge lifted the team into a tie with Ottawa for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

At 29-17-9, the Penguins have won 17 more games than they did at this point last season (12-32-11).

After 55 games, they have 67 points, up from 35 at the same time last winter.

The Penguins have allowed 171 goals through 55 games, an average of 3.1 per game. At this point last season they were giving up 4.04 goals per contest (222).

Goal scoring is up for the Penguins. They have averaged 3.5 goals per game this season compared to 2.76 scores per contest last year at this point.

It was suggested during an NBC broadcast Jan. 13 that Michel Therrien was on the verge of being fired as coach of the Penguins.

It seemed off-the-wall and more than a bit absurd at the time, for a variety of reasons.

Not anymore.

Now, it sounds like the kind of inside information that would come from the business end of a bong.

A few hours after that dire pronouncement about Therrien's future, the Penguins finished off a 5-3 victory in Philadelphia. They haven't lost in regulation since.

So when NBC dispatches a crew here for the game Sunday against Washington, Therrien's job security -- which, in the real world, never was even remotely in doubt -- doesn't figure to come up in the conversation.

But if the broadcasters still want to talk about him, perhaps they could discuss his credentials as a coach of the year candidate. Which are far more valid than some people in the industry might realize.

Although the 11-0-2 surge that has lifted the Penguins into a tie with Ottawa for fourth place in the Eastern Conference is starting to attract attention across the continent -- it's kind of tough to ignore a team that has taken at least one point out of every game for a month -- not much of it has focused on Therrien.

Instead, the talk is of Sidney Crosby, and how he's a serious threat to win his first NHL scoring title and MVP award. How goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has dramatically elevated his game. How the poise and productivity of rookie forwards Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal belie their age and inexperience.

Which, Therrien said, is precisely how it should be.

"I've always been a believer that players deserve the credit," he said. "We write the script, but the actors have to act."

He has a point. Give Tony Dungy a group of awful football players to work with, and you'd end up with a group of well-coached, awful football players.

But it also is true that casting Al Pacino in the lead role won't help if the script is for Bedtime for Bonzo. That's why it's ridiculous to suggest that Therrien and his assistants, Mike Yeo and Andre Savard, have been little more than casual bystanders to what the Penguins have accomplished this season.

After 55 games, they have 67 points, up from 35 at the same time last winter.

"All of them have prepared us to play every game," defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "We still have to go out and do it, but they've told us the way we have to play to win games. And when we've done what they've said, we've won."

When Therrien replaced Eddie Olczyk as coach 14 months ago, he emphasized adding structure, on and off the ice. Practices were demanding, performance critiques tough.

This year, the days off -- like one yesterday -- are more frequent, the decibel level generally lower.

"He's communicated very well with the guys this year," right winger Mark Recchi said. "And he's been very composed in how he's handled things."

That should not be construed as a sign that Therrien is going soft, however.

"He'll still tear a strip off you if he has to," left winger Erik Christensen said.

The fact is, though, that he doesn't often have to, because the players understand what he wants from them.

"It's not a matter that I've mellowed," Therrien said. "They know what the standard is. They know what the standard of our work ethic is. They know the standard for competing. They know the standard for being disciplined. They know what I'm expecting from them."

And the players know what to expect from Therrien: A well-conceived, thorough game plan built on a framework designed to take full advantage of their speed and skill.

"He's brought a system that works so well when it's done right," Christensen said.

Earlier in his career, Therrien had a reputation for being hardwired to coach defensive hockey, for treating it as his alpha and omega. But while that remains the cornerstone of his philosophy, Therrien doesn't shackle the Penguins' gifted players by turning them into one-way automatons.

"We have a plan when we don't have the puck," he said. "And we have a plan when we have the puck."

And a plan for just about everything else. Therrien has an eye for detail, and little tolerance for those who ignore them.

The Penguins might lose games because other teams are more talented or experienced or sharper, but not because those clubs are better-prepared.

"He's done a real good job of realizing what it takes for us to win," Whitney said, "and showing us how to do it."

If that doesn't change, the members of the NHL Broadcasters Association who vote for the Jack Adams Award might begin to take notice, although Therrien insists that's a non-issue for him.

"Honest to God, I don't think about those things," he said. "I'm thinking about the big picture with our team, where we want to be at the end of the year. Where we want to be in a few years."

It will be up to others to realize how far the Penguins have come. And who has helped to lead them there.

Assuming, of course, that it doesn't all go up in smoke.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07043/761344-61.stm


Wow - what an excellent read, XT. :thumbsup: It is great to hear the guys talk about Therrien in the positive way they do and know up front what he demands from them. I have respected Therrien from day one and though the Pens have a plethora of talent, I believe a good amount of the credit for their successes this past season can rightfully be attributed to Therrien. :thumbsup:

skidboot
02-12-2007, 09:21 AM
I'm not jealous of Crosby. I've stated numerous times that I think the guy has talent coming out the wazzoo and the best is still yet to come BUT he does whine. IMO....now IMO!!! he's in the class of Darcy Tucker when it comes to whining...not in talent, whining.

I've seen Crosby play hockey when he played in the QMJHL. Lapierre played in the "Q" also....they go back against one another for a few years now.
I've watched TONS of his games.



and about the posts about Crosby's teammates......what did you guys really expect them to say? lol.



Sorry for disagreeing with you guys about Crosby. I really should of known that saying something negative about him would cause such a reaction.
My bad.


I'll not talk anymore in the Crosby "Shrine".

LOL.

HometownGal
02-12-2007, 09:32 AM
I'm not jealous of Crosby. I've stated numerous times that I think the guy has talent coming out the wazzoo and the best is still yet to come BUT he does whine. IMO....now IMO!!! he's in the class of Darcy Tucker when it comes to whining...not in talent, whining.

I've seen Crosby play hockey when he played in the QMJHL. Lapierre played in the "Q" also....they go back against one another for a few years now.
I've watched TONS of his games.



and about the posts about Crosby's teammates......what did you guys really expect them to say? lol.



Sorry for disagreeing with you guys about Crosby. I really should of known that saying something negative about him would cause such a reaction.
My bad.


I'll not talk anymore in the Crosby "Shrine".

LOL.

Hey skid - you are entitled to your opinion around here just like everyone else, so please - don't stop those opinions from coming. Us Pens fans may not agree with you on Sid the Kid, but that doesn't mean we can't engage in respectful debate! :cheers:

On this subject - I think Sid has held his composure extremely well considering he has been subjected to a lot of abuse and cheap shots since he came into the NHL last season. He is very mature for a 19 year old young man and is at a place most players his age (and even older) would love to be in at this point in their careers.

Mosca
02-12-2007, 11:22 AM
I've seen Crosby play hockey when he played in the QMJHL. Lapierre played in the "Q" also....they go back against one another for a few years now.
I've watched TONS of his games.

This leads me to believe that you are making judgments about his attitude NOW on how you saw him as a juniors player. Is that fair? Wouldn't you expect him to learn and mature? Would you allow yourself to see him, at 19, as a developing personality rather than as a fully formed adult? Most rookies are in their early 20s; most stars are in their mid 20s to mid 30s.

I think you're being hard on the guy. He's learning to let his scoring do the talking, and to let his team back him up when things get hard-nosed.

And; Gretzky was a whiner.


Tom

tony hipchest
02-12-2007, 01:41 PM
Petrovicky vs Newberry Fight: http://youtube.com/watch?v=4nttgE3RUA8

:jammin: :sofunny:

great link. i was hoping to see it again. i only caught it once on the highlights. he was already holding him limp like a coat before that final right hook. beautiful indeed. too bad it took a streacher to get him off the ice. poor dude "you got knocked tha fuhgout!!! :chuckle:

HometownGal
02-12-2007, 01:59 PM
And; Gretzky was a whiner.


Tom

One of the biggest whiners out there in his day. :cheers:

X-Terminator
02-13-2007, 02:20 AM
One of the biggest whiners out there in his day. :cheers:

Exactly...but as I said, that's perfectly fine to them, because it's Wayne Gretzky. Mosca's point about Crosby maturing is one of the things that frosts my ass - these people who continually bash him act like the kid can't grow up and become more mature. There's already been plenty of evidence of that maturation process this season alone - there hasn't been one player who has shown any displeasure with his actions, unlike last season. He's already become the leader of the team, and it will be made official when he is given the "C" next year. He's more than earned it.

X-Terminator
02-13-2007, 02:22 AM
Enforcer? Yeah right! Good joke title though...

Pens' Armstrong adds 'enforcer' to resume

By The Tribune-Review
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Colby Armstrong has been forced to fill quite a few roles in his brief NHL career, from power-play specialist to penalty killer. But he never figured that he'd add the title of enforcer to his repertoire. In his last four games, he has been involved in two scrums, the first when he was jumped by Montreal defenseman Sheldon Souray after a check on Canadiens captain Saku Koivu. The second was Saturday night, when the 6-foot-2, 188-pound flyweight stood toe-to-toe with 6-foot-7, 250-pound Toronto heavyweight defenseman Hal Gill.

"It was kind of a weird thing that happened," Armstrong said. "We've got to stick up for the guys, and everyone's willing to battle for each other and stay on the same page and it's a good feeling."

And, if anyone thinks for one minute that Armstrong is intimidated or will change his style of play after the recent altercations, they're dead wrong.

"Whatever it is, I have to keep doing it," Armstrong said. "I just have to play that way and play in your face and, if that's going to happen, it's going to happen. But, hopefully, the guy will be a little smaller next time."


? A quick look at the NHL stats shows that the Penguins have the seventh-worst penalty killing in the league. But that unit may be one of the major reasons why the team is 11-0-2 in its last 13 and has moved into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. During that 13-game points streak, the Penguins have killed off 50-of-60 (83.3 percent) penalties, a percentage that would tie them with defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina for 12th in the league. In addition, the power play, ranked fourth in the league, is converting at a blistering 32.4 percent (24 for 74) during the run. Six times in that stretch, the Penguins have scored more than once on the man-advantage, and four times had at least three power-play goals.

? "We're a young team and there's a lot of teaching. You win or you lose and there's always been a philosophy that we're going to do a lot of teaching with that young group, and that's part of our plan and those guys expect it."
- Penguins coach Michel Therrien on the progress the team has made this season

Digits

6 - Number of assists by rookie forward Jordan Staal, fewest of any player with at least 15 goals.

14 - Number of days until the NHL trading deadline.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_492933.html

X-Terminator
02-13-2007, 02:24 AM
Staal's scoring surprises Penguins -- and his big brother

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Eric Staal led the NHL in playoff scoring for Stanley Cup champion Carolina last season and, at age 22, is one of the league's best young players. By the end of the season, he might not be the leading scorer in his family.

Jordan Staal, the 18-year-old who went into the Pittsburgh Penguins' training camp not expecting to make the team, is enjoying a breakout season even as more-publicized teammate Evgeni Malkin gets more attention among NHL rookies.

With three goals Saturday night against Toronto and four in his last two games, Staal is edging closer to Malkin, who leads all NHL rookies with 27 goals but is now only four ahead of his teammate. And the count in the Staal family household is Eric 24 goals, Jordan 23.

"I told him I'm coming for him," Jordan Staal said Monday. "But I didn't expect it to be this close. It's kind of neat we're both doing so well and hopefully I'll catch him."

While NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby, Malkin and fast-improving goalie Marc-Andre Fleury are being credited for the Penguins' turnaround season, it may be Staal who has been the difference-maker.

When the Penguins drafted Staal No. 2 overall in June, turning down numerous trade offers for the pick, there were no real expectations he would play in the NHL this season. He didn't turn 18 until Sept. 10, and he hadn't played above the junior level.

If Staal hadn't played as well as he did the first two weeks of the season, with four goals in his first eight games, he might well be playing junior hockey right now.

"Coming into the season, I was only kind of hoping to make the team," Staal said. "For it to turn out like this is pretty amazing. I'm just happy to be here and hopefully I can keep it up."

What impresses his mentor and housemate, 500-goal scorer Mark Recchi, is that Staal is doing all of this while playing out of a position. A center throughout his career, he was moved to the wing because the Penguins already had Crosby and Malkin in the middle.

"He's amazing. He's gone beyond all expectations," Recchi said. "He's had to learn how to play a new position, and he's doing it as an 18-year-old in the NHL, yet he's been unbelievable. He's a force out there, a powerful skater, he holds the puck and he's already one of the best penalty-killers in the league."

The 6-foot-4 Staal's long reach has made him a force on the Penguins' penalty-killing unit, and his league-high five short-handed goals are a team record. He is a plus-14, an exceptional figure for a rookie and only one off Crosby's plus-15 for the team lead.

"I just don't like giving up goals," Staal said.

Scoring them is different.

"Once I made the team, I got more confident the longer I was around ? and it just went from there," Staal said.

If it weren't for Malkin and his rookie-best 63 points, Staal might be getting consideration for the rookie of the year award.

Just as Crosby has bunked the last two seasons at team owner Mario Lemieux's house, Staal is staying at Recchi's home this season. It's the kind of housing arrangement seldom seen in other sports ? no doubt Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger never considered taking a room at star guard Alan Faneca's, for example ? but it is more common in hockey.

Staal likes the living arrangements, especially since he was anticipating living this winter at a family's home in Peterborough, his junior team last season.

"Mark has been helping me out the whole year, with the little stuff off the ice, helping me keep my mind off stuff and, when I'm on the ice, more focused," Staal said.

Big brother Eric also helps out, too, though Jordan doesn't expect as many calls in the next few months as the Penguins and Hurricanes compete for playoff position.

With 29 victories, the Penguins have 17 more than at this time last season. They also are 11-0-2 in their last 13 games heading into Wednesday's home game against Chicago.

"He's not giving me a whole lot of feedback," Jordan Staal said, smiling. "He knows I'm coming for him."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_492877.html

X-Terminator
02-13-2007, 02:29 AM
Malone's demotion leaves Pens' top line in limbo

By Keith Barnes
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Where Penguins winger Ryan Malone fits in after being demoted from the top line during Saturday's 6-5 overtime win in Toronto remains a mystery.

With Malone skating as Sidney Crosby's left wing, the Penguins' top line has not scored an even-strength goal in six games. Failing to convert even-strength opportunities forced coach Michel Therrien to make a change between the second and third periods against the Maple Leafs, as he switched out Malone for third-line forward Erik Christensen.

It immediately paid dividends for Malone, as he broke a six-game goal-less drought at 1:59 of the third period playing with Maxime Talbot and Colby Armstrong. He was also on the ice when Talbot scored the game-tying goal to send the game to overtime.

"When he brings his 'A' game, he's an outstanding hockey player," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. "There's nothing I'm going to say in the newspaper that's going to make him a better player because he knows the effort he has to bring to make him a consistent player."


Whether or not Malone will stay with Talbot and Armstrong when the Chicago Blackhawks visit Mellon Arena on Wednesday remains undetermined.

"I decided between the second and third to do something to try to get momentum for our team," Therrien said. "We were playing pretty solid and the Talbot line with Armstrong and Malone ended up scoring two goals, but we'll see for Wednesday."

It's been a season of frustration for Malone.

? He missed 17 games with a broken forearm.

? He had two streaks of at least 10 games without a goal.

? He had one multiple-point game in his last 24.

? Then, less than a month ago, he met with general manager Ray Shero to quash trade rumors.

"I just know that (the trade) stuff is all out of my control," Malone said. "I thought I've been playing pretty well -- points-wise it's maybe not the numbers that people expected -- but the team in winning right now and that's the most important thing."

In terms of point production, Malone has struggled on a line that features Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer with 87 points, and Recchi, a proven commodity who has 503 career goals.

Malone has only 18 points this season, good for 287th in the league heading into Monday's games, and has failed to get off a shot in three of his last five and six of his last 16 games.

"We're playing against some strong (defenses) and team's are playing us so tight now," Crosby said. "You get three great chances a game and you've got to take advantage of them. Yeah, you don't get as many now, but you've got to take advantage of them when you get them."

Christensen and Malone have the same number of points on the season, but Christensen has not gone longer than six games without a goal this season and has a shot in all but three of his 34 games.

The only problem he may have is shaking off the jitters of taking the wing alongside Crosby.

"I was nervous and I didn't expect it," Christensen said. "You're sort of going from one mind-set of having a simple game with Max and Colby and then you're put up with Sidney and Mark Recchi, and you're expected to do things a little different and my first couple of shifts I was real nervous."

Taking station on a wing alongside Crosby isn't as easy as it might seem. So far, the Penguins have tried seven different players on Crosby's wings, but only Recchi -- who has skated with a top overall pick four times in his career (Mario Lemieux, Pierre Turgeon, Eric Lindros and Crosby) -- developed a feel for how his most recent No. 1 plays.

"It's not hard at all," Recchi said. "It's pretty fun to be a part of; he's a special player and plays a simple game. He goes up and down, he darts the holes, he gives and goes, and I play a very similar way."

Still, the Penguins continue to hope for big things from Malone, whose blend of size and puck-handling ability are commodities other teams covet. More than anything, the Penguins want consistency from a player that scored 22 goals in each of his first two NHL seasons.

Then again, just because the top line hasn't been scoring at even strength doesn't mean a deal for a power forward to replace Malone is forthcoming.

"We're certainly going to look at all of our players before looking outside the organization," Shero said. "I think our production with Sid and Recchi in particular has been outstanding ... and I think it's a good sign that the rest of the team has stepped up to contribute."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_492930.html

X-Terminator
02-13-2007, 02:42 AM
Goalie Thibault performs backup role to a T

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
By Dave Molinari
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jocelyn Thibault didn't ask for this role. Probably wasn't quite ready for it. Still isn't certain that it's ideal for him.

But he has accepted it. Embraced it, even.

And, in the process, has come to embody the team-first mentality that has contributed significantly to the Penguins' success this season.

There isn't much glory in being a backup goaltender, and usually not a lot of statistical satisfaction, either. Certainly, Thibault hasn't been spotted wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with his personal numbers (2-5-2 record, 3.29 goals-against, .896 save percentage) around the locker room lately.

But he makes a total commitment to his craft every day, routinely staying on the ice for extra work after practice, and has given the Penguins fairly reliable work when called upon.

And, perhaps more important, Thibault has been a good partner for No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, offering advice and encouragement that have contributed to Fleury's excellent play.

"His job is to be a good professional, make sure he's ready and have a good attitude," coach Michel Therrien said. "And that's what he's doing."

Therrien hasn't named his goalie for the game against Chicago at 7:38 p.m. tomorrow at Mellon Arena, and his decision likely will hinge on which of two factors he deems most important at the time.

He likely wants to get Thibault some action soon, and using him against his former team has an undeniable appeal. Conversely, if Fleury spends the evening on the bench, he will go without any game action between a 6-5 overtime victory in Toronto Saturday and the Penguins' visit to New Jersey Friday.

Even if Thibault doesn't play against the Blackhawks, he's a good bet to get a start in the very near future. And probably several next month, when the Penguins will play 17 times in 31 days.

"With so many games coming up, I know I'll get the call," Thibault said. "I'll play some games."

His most recent start came in a 7-2 victory in Phoenix Jan. 27, when he turned aside 22 of 24 shots. That is the only time he has made it onto the ice in the past 13 games.

Thibault, who turned 32 Jan. 12, said this is the first time in his career he has been a clear-cut No. 2, but insists he is not upset or bitter about the niche he has been assigned.

"I understand the situation," he said. "I try to work as hard as I can every day ... to get back to where I was."

Unless Fleury is injured, that isn't likely to happen with this team, because Fleury is establishing himself as part of the Penguins' long-range nucleus. Fleury, though, can appreciate what it's like for someone like Thibault to be relegated to the supporting cast.

"I'm sure it is [difficult]," he said. "When you're a goalie, you want to play. He's handled himself very well, especially with me."

Therrien also praised the way Thibault interacts with Fleury -- "He's good with Marc-Andre. I think he's helped Fleury a lot" -- and Thibault underscored the strength of their partnership with lavish praise for Fleury's play, progress and potential.

"He's a great kid and I have a great relationship with him," Thibault said. "He's so talented. It's scary how good he is. He's getting so much better, more consistent.

"The talent has always been there, but he's a lot more under control, a lot more sound. He makes a lot more saves with his body. He doesn't seem as spectacular as he was last year or two years ago, but he's so much more effective."

How long they will work together is impossible to predict. Thibault's contract is up after this season, and it's conceivable that an offer to take over as the No. 1 somewhere else could lure him away.

Especially since he's no longer feeling the effects of two major hip surgeries in recent years.

"I'm 32, and I feel good now, feel healthy," he said. "I've improved a lot since last year, as far as getting my game back in shape.

"Sometimes, you get caught wondering what will happen, but I don't know. I'm so caught up in this season right now. Obviously, we're in a playoff situation."

And, even as the No. 2 goalie, Thibault can expect to play a significant role in helping to keep them there.

NOTES -- Jordan Staal became the youngest player in NHL history to record a hat trick when he scored three goals in Toronto. ... Former Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk, now an analyst on Blackhawks' telecasts, is scheduled to work tomorrow's game. ... Maple Leafs winger Kris Newbury is expected to be out about a week after taking a fierce beating from Penguins right winger Ronald Petrovicky in a third-period fight. The two had a 10-minute phone conversation Sunday. "I told him it wasn't his fault," Newbury told reporters yesterday. "He felt bad about what happened."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07044/761687-61.stm

X-Terminator
02-13-2007, 02:44 AM
Here is a GREAT column about a Kansas City reporter who doesn't want to see the Pens leave town. He nails a lot of things, especially as it pertains to our fan base and the fact that you probably couldn't find 3 people in KC who know anything about the sport.

Commentary: Confessions of a Kansas City thief

Stealing another city's team is emotional stuff; here's one writer who hopes it doesn't happen to Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
By Joe Posnanski, The Kansas City Star

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This one's confusing. There is no doubt that it would be thrilling to have the Penguins -- and the hottest young player in hockey, Sidney Crosby -- move to Kansas City.

It would be the most exciting thing to happen to this sports town since a not-quite-finished Joe Montana was brought in for his swan song. It would be great for this town.

Personally: For a Kansas City sports writer staring at the cold and bleak winter sports months, the Penguins would be like manna from heaven.

But here's the thing: I really don't want to steal the Penguins.

This is the bewilderment Kansas City faces now. To steal or not to steal? That is the question. You know the story: The Penguins, one of the most popular franchises in the National Hockey League, are still trying to negotiate their way out of the oldest and most rundown arena in major professional sports. Mellon Arena opened in 1961 for the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, which soon moved out because it was a lousy building even then. The Penguins moved in. They have been trying to get out of there since the Reagan administration.

Yes, this fight has been going on for years, and the latest negotiations have reached Chris Berman-volume levels. The Penguins are now in the threatening stage -- and they are threatening to move to Kansas City's new arena, where they can play rent-free. The city of Pittsburgh has so far responded to these threats quite maturely by calling the Penguins ungrateful and by rehashing the "Cows run in the streets of Kansas City" jokes that should have expired the same year as the "You can't see the sky in Pittsburgh" jokes.

Still, I understand exactly where the Pittsburgh people are coming from. We all understand the feeling of being spurned. Barely a dozen years ago, my Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore. Go back another decade, and people in Kansas City watched the Kings go to Sacramento, and before that the Scouts go to Denver, and before that the Athletics go to Oakland.

It stings. As a fan, you lash out. For years after the Browns moved, I despised everything about Baltimore. I refused to eat crab cakes. I mocked Edgar Allan Poe poems. I gave away my H.L. Mencken books. I booed Cal Ripken Jr. In this newspaper, I picked the Baltimore Ravens to lose every game 55-0, which spurred countless angry Ravens fans to write in and ask, "What the heck is your problem?"

One of those Baltimore letters stood out. It was from a woman who seemed wounded by my Baltimore vitriol. I don't have the letter any more, but I must have read it 20 times. She seemed guilt-ridden. She wrote: "It's not our fault that the Browns moved here. We would have preferred they did not move -- we remember the Colts moving to Indianapolis. It's not our fault. Why blame us?"

Why? There is no logic in the heart of a spurned sports fan. I know a woman in Minnesota who will never watch another NBA game because she hasn't forgiven the Minneapolis Lakers from leaving (for the record that was 1961). Most of us know someone who has never quite gotten over the baseball Giants leaving New York or the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn. It still makes me slightly sick to see football people in Arizona wearing St. Louis Cardinals uniforms and football people in St. Louis wearing those Los Angeles Rams uniforms -- though, of course, the Cardinals originally moved from Chicago and the Rams originally moved from Cleveland. It's confusing.

This stealing another city's team is emotional stuff. We all understand this. This is why I believe that despite what you may hear from angry Pittsburghers, Kansas City has not really gone after the Penguins. There have been no season-ticket drives, no public rallies and no letter campaigns. Sure, Kansas City offered a sweetheart of an arena deal. But that's not being aggressive. That's just being smart. Kansas City has a new arena and needs an anchor tenant. The Penguins talk about moving. What else are you going to do?

All in all, Kansas City has stood back and respectfully waited for Pittsburgh to work out its problems. Other cities would not have been quite so nice. The simple truth is that the Penguins are perfect for Kansas City. Sure, many people -- maybe even most people in town -- may say they don't care about hockey, they don't understand the rules, they won't pay to watch it. But this is because they have not seen Sidney Crosby play. He is so good, so much fun to watch, so much of a hockey prodigy that people in town would line up twice around the building to see him score. Kansas City -- like just about every other town on earth -- is always looking for the "thing to do." Seeing Sidney Crosby and the Penguins play in a beautiful new arena would be the thing to do. You are talking about a guaranteed hit.

So what happens now? Nobody really knows. Talks continue in Pittsburgh. The NHL powers work behind the scenes to keep the Penguins in town. Kansas City waits quietly and politely. Information is impossible to find. A friend from Pittsburgh called the other day to (rather bitterly) tell me that he heard Kansas City was just being used as a pawn to help the Penguins get their new arena.

"That's great!" I said.

"What?"

He couldn't understand. I want Pittsburgh to work out its problems. The Penguins have been in Pittsburgh since the year I was born. The fans there suffered through the Ed Johnston years and celebrated during the Mario Lemieux mini-dynasty. They lived and died with Syl Apps and Mike Bullard and Rick Kehoe and Lowell MacDonald and a bunch of other names that don't mean a thing to us. They have filled that cracking arena for 20 years. The fans don't deserve to lose the Penguins.

Now, reality is reality, and if the Penguins are going to move anyway, then it would be best if they moved here. But I hope that Pittsburgh works things out. And if it does work out, the NHL will owe a big favor to Kansas City. A big favor. And next year, it looks like the Nashville Predators -- who play to empty seats every night -- might flee their town.

For the record: I wouldn't feel badly at all about stealing the Predators. Nashville doesn't care about them anyway. Like I said, it's confusing.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07044/761651-61.stm

X-Terminator
02-14-2007, 12:50 AM
Pens' Ekman doing push-ups

By The Tribune-Review
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Winger Nils Ekman hasn't been cleared for contact just yet, but on-ice push-ups with his teammates are now an acceptable part of Ekman's recovery from a dislocated elbow suffered on Dec. 29 against Toronto.

"You have no idea how hard it is for me to do some push-ups right now," he said. "I've been doing push-ups for a week or so. I've gone up from five the first time to 15 three times. (Tuesday) was my first day on the ice with the team. I'm getting better not day-by-day but week-by-week. I'm just hoping I can participate in full-contact practices soon. They're baby steps, but it shouldn't be too long."

Ekman had six goals and nine assists for 15 points in his first 32 games with the Penguins, including a hat trick on Nov. 8 against Tampa Bay. He scored 21 goals last season with San Jose.

"There are a lot of games left coming down the stretch," Ekman said. "I'm positive now because it feels like I'm getting closer. When you feel like you're almost ready, it's a great feeling, because when you're away from hockey you miss it so much. You just want to play."


? Sidney Crosby is leading the NHL in scoring, but he hasn't scored a goal in seven straight games, which matches the career-long, seven-game drought Crosby endured a year ago as a rookie. The Penguins aren't sweating it.

"He'll score lots more," linemate Mark Recchi said. "He does so many things, that doesn't even matter, especially when we're winning like this. He's still getting points, still drawing penalties, still being effective for us."

Digits

17 - Wins for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in 71 career games entering this season.

27 - Wins for Fleury this season.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_493122.html

X-Terminator
02-14-2007, 12:53 AM
Penguins' scoring touch big part of hot streak

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The high-scoring Pittsburgh Penguins are conjuring up memories of some of the franchise's finest teams.

Although coach Michael Therrien has a defense-first reputation, Pittsburgh has ascended to the upper reaches of the top offensive teams in the league.

The high-flying Penguins teams of the 1990's featuring Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and company regularly were at or near the top of the league's offensive statistical categories. This season, the Penguins are not only poised to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since Lemieux and Jagr last skated together in 2001, they're also scoring goals with a frequency not seen since the two shared the same line.

"When you're scoring four or five goals a game, you have a good chance of winning games," forward Erik Christensen said. "It's tough to win games only getting one or two a game, but when you're getting four or five, you can afford to make a few mistakes."


The Penguins are second in the league in goals per game behind only Buffalo. To put the 186 goals Pittsburgh has scored through barely more than two-thirds of a season into perspective, consider that the Penguins averaged 192 goals in the three years after Jagr was traded.

"It's always better knowing I can give up a bad goal ... and the guys will score six to get the win," goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said. "It seems like they are always there to come back and win the game."

The Penguins are averaging 3.38 goals on the season; they last had comparable numbers in 2000-01 (Lemieux's comeback year from retirement) and 1996-97 (the year Lemieux initially retired). But while the goal production for the season is impressive, the rate during the team's current 11-0-2 streak is blistering.

Heading into Wednesday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Penguins are averaging 4.46 goals during 13 consecutive games in which they earned at least a point. That stat doesn't count three shootout victories.

"We definitely came together and have a lot of guys stepping up," forward Ryan Malone said. "The young guys are leading the charge. You can't say enough about how fast they've developed. It's a great situation to be in, that's for sure."

Malone was referring to his top scorers: rookie scoring leader Evgeni Malkin (27), league scoring leader Sidney Crosby (25) and Jordan Staal (23), who range in age from 20 to 18.

The Penguins are also getting solid production from all four lines.

"A month ago, before the streak happened," center Max Talbot said, "(Therrien) came in and said we need everyone to contribute; it's not only Sidney's line or the power play that needs to score. And I think that's what we started doing. Right now, every line can score goals. It's definitely fun right now scoring goals."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_493144.html

X-Terminator
02-14-2007, 01:03 AM
Crosby's goal-scoring touch has gone ice cold

Wednesday, February 14, 2007
By Dave Molinari
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Sidney Crosby has met numerous standards of excellence in his first two seasons in professional hockey, and set quite a few others.

They cover everything from productivity as a teenager on the ice, to poise and professionalism off it.

And today, when the Penguins face Chicago at 7:38 p.m. at the Mellon Arena, he'll have an opportunity to establish another. One he would rather keep off his permanent record.

Crosby has not scored a goal in seven games, matching the longest dry spell of his NHL career.

There's a rather large asterisk on that streak, considering he got the deciding goal in the Penguins' 5-4 shootout victory in Philadelphia Thursday, but the NHL does not include shootout statistics with conventional ones.

So, Crosby is considered to be goal-less since he got one in the Penguins' 7-2 victory at Phoenix Jan. 27. That equals the drought he experienced Oct. 15-Nov. 1 in 2005, his first month in the league.

His inability to score lately hasn't eroded Crosby's lead in the NHL points race; he still was 14 ahead of Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier before the Lightning played Phoenix last night.

More important, it hasn't had a significant impact on the Penguins' record. They are 6-0-1 since he last scored.

"That makes it a little bit easier to take, there's no doubt," Crosby said. "When you're having trouble scoring and the team's losing, it's a lot harder to take."

Crosby's contributions to the Penguins aren't limited to his goal-scoring, even though he ranks second on the team with 25. He has accumulated nine assists in the past seven games, running his league-leading total to 62, and is a presence opponents dare not ignore every time he goes over the boards.

"He does so many other things to make our team good," said right winger Mark Recchi, Crosby's linemate.

Crosby got a new left winger in the third period of the Penguins' 6-5 shootout victory in Toronto Saturday, when Erik Christensen replaced Ryan Malone, but Malone was back on the top line at practice yesterday and is expected to be there against the Blackhawks.

Crosby said he does not believe he has been pressing since the shots stopped going in, preferring to characterize his mind-set as "bearing down" to make sure he takes advantage of any opportunities that come along.

If he actually is squeezing the stick a bit tighter than usual, his teammates don't seem to be noticing.

"I know he wants to score, and I know he wants to do good things, but he doesn't give you that impression [that he's pressing] off the ice, or even on the bench," Recchi said.

Even though goal-scoring isn't the cornerstone of his game the way it is for, say, Alexander Ovechkin, Crosby acknowledges that he's cognizant of his drought, even though those around him say it isn't affecting other facets of his play.

"He's like every guy who has scored goals throughout his whole life," Christensen said. "He's noticing it, I'll bet, but it doesn't seem to bother him."

That's probably because Crosby recognizes that slumps -- and how many players would be willing to swap a vital organ for a nine-points-in-seven-games "slump?" -- are an occupational hazard for even the most accomplished players.

"That's what you go through," he said. "You can pretty much say that I've gone through a situation like this every year I've played. You have games where you just can't miss and other [stretches] like this where you have an open net and the puck bounces over your stick, or you just get some unfortunate breaks."

All concerned appear certain his luck will turn soon. Until it does, Crosby's teammates don't seem to mind shouldering some of the offensive burden he usually carries.

"Obviously, he is our best player and we all know that, but there are going to be nights when other guys are going to have to step up in the scoring," Recchi said.

"He's still going to play well, because he always does, but he might get checked a little tighter that night. Maybe get an assist or two, kind of kept in check a little bit. That's when everybody else has to step up."

So far, the Penguins have done that, and getting important goals from other parts of the lineup suggests that, if they get into the playoffs, they could be a more formidable opponent than some might realize.

Then again, Crosby's co-workers are convinced that any discussion of his goal-scoring slump will take place in the past tense before much longer.

"It'll come," Recchi said. "And when it comes with him, it's going to come in bunches."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07045/761950-61.stm

X-Terminator
02-14-2007, 01:07 AM
Penguins Notebook: Chicago's Havlat won't be overlooked

Wednesday, February 14, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Scouting report

Matchup: Chicago Blackhawks at Penguins, 7:38 p.m. today, Mellon Arena.

TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WXDX-FM (105.9).

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury for Penguins. Nikolai Khabibulin for Blackhawks.

Penguins: Have four victories, two ties in past six home games against Hawks. ... D Brooks Orpik does not have goal in 100 games. ... Have scored eight 5-on-3 goals and allowed just one.

Blackhawks: Have earned half of their 22 victories on road. ... Power play is NHL's worst, with success rate of 11.7 percent. ... Are 4-2-4 when tied after two periods.

Hidden stat: Chicago has been outscored, 60-29, in the second period.


When Martin Havlat played in Ottawa, he often was overshadowed by the likes of Daniel Alfredsson, Marian Hossa and Zdeno Chara.

Now that he's in Chicago, he's part of a team that sometimes struggles to get attention in its home city, let alone other parts of North America.

But there's very little chance the Penguins will overlook Havlat at 7:38 p.m. today when the Blackhawks visit Mellon Arena.

Not if they have any interest in extending their 11-0-2 run, anyway.

Havlat has scored goals in six consecutive games and has 22 goals and 22 assists in 34 games this season. If he had been able to stay healthy, those numbers would put him on an 82-game pace for 106 points.

"He's got a very good points-per-game [average], so I'm sure he's not flying completely under the radar," Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "But with the fact that maybe they don't have the notoriety of some other teams, he's not getting the attention he deserves."

That could change if Havlat maintains his pace of late -- seven goals and four assists in the past six games -- or if word begins to circulate of the impact his presence has on the Hawks' record: They are 16-15-3 with him in the lineup, 6-12-4 when he hasn't played.

"He's real quick with the puck, makes quick decisions and he's very shifty," Scuderi said. "He's got good agility with the puck. He's a dangerous player."

Favorable review

At practice yesterday at Southpointe, the Penguins wore a version of the sleek new "uniform system" that will be used by all teams next season, and gave it favorable reviews.

"It's the first time I've worn them, and I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn't much difference, really," defenseman Mark Eaton said, adding that, "They're not going to make things so that they're uncomfortable."

Jocelyn Thibault said he and fellow goalie Marc-Andre Fleury thought the jerseys were a bit snug at the elbow, but both offered an overall thumbs-up.

"It was a little bit tighter, but it's so flexible," Fleury said. "We've been playing with the old [version] for so long that we're used to it ... but it will be good to try [the new]."

Brother act

Penguins winger Jarkko Ruutu strikes many people as the kind of guy who would run over his own brother to make a play.

Tonight, he'll get a chance to prove it, because his younger brother, Tuomo, is a forward with the Blackhawks.

"I play him the same way as anybody else," Jarkko Ruutu said. "So does he. He hits hard."

Even though they faced each other several times when Jarkko Ruutu played for Vancouver, the brothers' meetings still are special.

"There's a little bit of mixed emotions," Jarkko Ruutu said. "When you play against him, you want him to do well, but at the same time, you want to win. You kind of keep watching what he's doing. It's hard to explain."

What isn't so difficult is understanding that the younger Ruutu is a bigger cog in his team's offense; Tuomo has 12 goals and 18 assist in 46 games, while Jarkko has four and seven in 37.

"We're different types of players," Jarkko Ruutu said. "Obviously, he's way better with the puck, a lot more talented that way. He works hard, and deserves everything he's gotten."

Slap shots

Winger Nils Ekman participated in a practice yesterday for the first time since his elbow was dislocated Dec. 29 and said that, barring complications, he hopes to get clearance to take contact next week. He still does not have a target date for returning to the lineup. ... Mario Lemieux, the Penguins' chairman, attended the practice but did not take questions from reporters. ... Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar will appear in his 800th NHL game tonight. ... The Blackhawks are 4-2 on their current seven-game road trip, their longest of the season. ... Chicago winger Karl Stewart, acquired on waivers from the Penguins Oct. 26, has two goals and three assists in 37 games.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07045/761956-61.stm

X-Terminator
02-14-2007, 01:26 AM
NHL, not Crosby, deserves heat

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Somehow, the NHL's feel-good story of the season has become tinged with negativity.

We're talking about Sidney Crosby, who has established himself, at age 19, as the best hockey player in the world and an even better ambassador for an embattled league.

Yet, the league, through blatant inaction, has endorsed the abuse of its marquee attraction.

"Honestly, it's very difficult to understand, the way Sidney's been treated since the beginning of his career," Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, said Tuesday. "In my opinion, it hasn't been fair. This is someone who gives 100 percent on every shift, on and off the ice, for his team and his league."

Brisson's biased, of course. He's also right.

Within the past month, we've seen Crosby speared in the abdomen (Jason Blake), butt-ended in the gut on a game-opening faceoff (Maxim Lapierre) and cut in the face with a high stick (Francis Bouillon), without any of the infractions drawing so much as a minor penalty.

Crosby also absorbed a cross-check to the face from Philadelphia's Alexei Zhitnik -- on national television -- and somehow wound up with the extra two-minute penalty.

How is it, exactly, that two officials can consistently miss obvious fouls perpetrated against the most prominent player on the ice?

One logical explanation is that officials have conspired to make things tough on Crosby, perhaps because some believed he whined too much last season.

If that's the case, shame on the officials and their Neanderthal code. Their job is to call the games on a case-by-case, infraction-by-infraction basis. If they're not doing that, the league needs to crack down on them. Hard.

Crosby doesn't necessarily merit special treatment (though one could make a case for it). He simply deserves equal treatment.

Stephen Walkom, the NHL's vice president and director of officiating, insists that already is the case.

"I think you can assure your readers that our guys don't get together and say, 'Let's miss a bunch tonight on this player or that player,' " Walkom said. "Unfortunately, Sidney's in the public eye, and when anything gets missed on him, it gets noticed."

Do officials view him as a whiner?

"I think it's time to stomp that rumor," Walkom said. "I think Sidney was a new player in the league last year. Did he talk more to the referees last year, in a way that maybe some of the fans perceived as whining? He could have. I can assure you this year, he's been a pro on the ice. All I've heard from my guys is how grown up he is for his age, and how much respect they have for him for how he talks to them on the ice."

Unfortunately, that respect has not translated to an even shake. The fact players are allowed to treat Crosby like a pi?ata creates, in the words of Brisson, a "domino effect." Everyone wants a piece of the action, including fans and media members who label Crosby a "whiner" when he wonders aloud to an official why the guy who just tried to gut him wasn't penalized.

It also creates talk of the Penguins needing to acquire an "enforcer" (i.e., a guy who can fight but can't play) to "protect" Crosby.

All of which turns what should be a positive story into a negative one for the league.

If officials simply called the game properly, none of this would be an issue.

The league office needs to upgrade its game, too. When I asked a league spokesman why Blake wasn't suspended - he was fined $1,000 - the spokesman said, "Usually, (a spear is) a fineable offense as opposed to game offense unless it is of the most severe nature and ends up causing injury."

OK, so if I swing my stick at someone's head and miss, I'll be treated differently than if I connect?

Who's dispensing justice around here, the Geico caveman?

"It has a domino effect," Brisson said. "The spear from Blake, nothing happens, so you have the butt-end from Lapierre - the stick was coming out eight inches into (Crosby's) stomach. These are the things that will occur."

If they keep occurring, Brisson should think twice about making Crosby so readily available for all those NHL-boosting promotions.

"If you want him on the cover of Vanity Fair and all that, well, it goes both ways," Brisson said.

Actually, for the NHL, it goes one way all too often: downhill fast.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/rss/s_493121.html

Good grief...yet ANOTHER "hockey writer" who doesn't understand the game. Um, Joe - if the Pens had one of those "guys who can fight, but can't play," then opposing teams would be hesitant to run and take cheap shots on Crosby or anyone else for fear of that "guy who can fight, but can't play" retaliating by either hitting one of their better players or rearranging the face of the guy who hit Crosby, or Malkin, or Staal, or Fleury...etc. It's called protecting your teammates. They've been doing it ever since the game began, but more and more of these wussies behind computer keyboards who call themselves "hockey fans" fail to grasp this. Meanwhile, Crosby will continue to take abuse from other teams and not a damn thing will be done about it - because they don't have any fear of guys like Thorburn, Ruutu or Petro. Sorry to inform you, Joe. Let the players police themselves, and this kind of crap will not happen nearly as much. Plain and simple.

X-Terminator
02-14-2007, 02:03 AM
Pens cry 'mayday' on Malone

February 13, 2007

Ryan Malone's inability to put up points alongside Sidney Crosby earned him a demotion ... can a trade out of town be next?

The highly-touted Malone has only 18 points this season, good for 287th in the league, and has failed to get off a shot in three of his last five and six of his last 16 games.

"I thought I've been playing pretty well -- points-wise it's maybe not the numbers that people expected -- but the team in winning right now and that's the most important thing."

Win or not, the Pens need a player to perform consistently with the league scoring leader on the top line, and a trade may be the only way.

"We're certainly going to look at all of our players before looking outside the organization," Shero told the Pittsbugh Tribune Review. "I think our production with Sid and Recchi in particular has been outstanding ... and I think it's a good sign that the rest of the team has stepped up to contribute."

"I just know that (the trade) stuff is all out of my control," said Malone, who had a January meeting with Shero to discuss the trade rumours.

Playing on a line alongside Crosby isn't as easy as it might seem. So far, the Penguins have tried seven different players on Crosby's wings. Veteran Mark Recchi is the only Penguin to settle in to the role, attributing his success to similar style.

"It's not hard at all," Recchi said. "It's pretty fun to be a part of; he's a special player and plays a simple game. He goes up and down, he darts the holes, he gives and goes, and I play a very similar way."

http://www2.sportsnet.ca/blogs/hockey_hearsay/2007/02/13/pens_cry_mayday_on_malone/

Hey, go ahead and trade him - he's really done nothing the past 2 seasons other than the final 20 or so games last year. If they could get a guy like Shane Doan (as a couple of people in the comments mentioned), that would be ideal. Doan would be a GREAT fit on the top line, IMO - he's got good size, good hands, a physical presence and is capable of dropping the gloves to protect Crosby when needed. Hey Ray - if you're considering a major deal, make this one!

83-Steelers-43
02-14-2007, 03:05 PM
On the air with Smizik: Penguins a smash TV hit

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Everyone wants to watch the Penguins.

The team is playing to 95 percent capacity at home, and that should get better as the games become more crucial. Away from Mellon Arena, the Sidney Crosby Show also plays to 95 percent capacity, third best in the NHL.

On television, fans in the region can't get enough. The ratings are the best since the 2000-01 season, when the Penguins reached the conference final and had a roster loaded with the kind of talent that turns on TVs -- Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Alexei Kovalev, Martin Straka, Robert Lang and Darius Kasparaitis.

In their game Feb. 4 (Super Bowl Sunday) at Montreal, the Penguins achieved a 7.2 rating, which, for hockey, is off the charts.

FSN Pittsburgh, which carries Penguins games, would not divulge the season-long ratings or compare the Penguins' ratings to those of the Pirates. Steve Tello, vice-president and general manager of FSN Pittsburgh, said: "Team popularity and TV ratings are a roller-coaster ride. We happen to be riding at the top of the curve right now."

Industry sources indicate the Penguins' ratings are, roughly, at the 4.5 level, extremely good for the NHL. The Penguins are believed to be in the upper tier of NHL ratings with Buffalo and Detroit.

Pittsburgh had the second-highest rating for the NHL All-Star Game, which was played Jan. 24 in Dallas and shown on Versus. Nationally, the game drew only a 0.7 rating. But in Pittsburgh it drew a 2.8, twice as large as any city in the league, except Buffalo. The Buffalo ratings were incredible, a 7.1. The Sabres had four players in the game and three starters. Crosby was the Penguins' only representative.

Unfortunately for the NHL, the ratings spike in Pittsburgh and Buffalo, where the All-Star Game was the top-rated cable show that night, and are not being replicated around the country.

The game's 0.7 rating, an estimated 475,000 viewers, was a 76 percent decline from the last game, which was played in 2004. Much of that decline has to do with the network. In 2004, the game was on ABC, which is seen in every home in the country and was viewed by an estimated 1,985,000 households. Versus (formerly the Outdoor Life Network) reaches only a small percentage of the homes.

Although the game did well in Buffalo and Pittsburgh, it was not among the top 20 cable shows in such important markets as New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta. In Dallas, the host city, it was the 18th most-watched cable program.


Playoffs on TV


In the likely event they make it, most Penguins games in the first two rounds of the playoffs will be carried by FSN.

Here's how the NHL playoff coverage works.

In the first round, NBC has the ability to take up to two weekend games for exclusive coverage. All other Penguins games will be on FSN. In the second round, NBC has the right to take two weekend games and Versus has the right to take two games. All other Penguins games will be on FSN.

In all likelihood, no more than one game in each round would be taken from FSN. After the second round, all games will be on Versus or NBC. Versus is available on the basic package to customers of Comcast, the region's largest cable provider. On Armstrong, the region's No. 2 provider, Versus is available only to digital-plus customers.

SteelCityMan786
02-14-2007, 07:24 PM
1-1 now in Pittsburgh. Tight battle.

Black@Gold Forever32
02-14-2007, 07:28 PM
Its been a good game so far. I don't get to catch many Pen's games out here. But since they're playing the Blackhawks tonight I get to see the game. The Blackhawks have snuffed out three Pen power plays. Thats been the key so far.

SteelCityMan786
02-14-2007, 08:07 PM
3-2 end of 2. We got ourselves a good game on our hands.

X-Terminator
02-14-2007, 08:17 PM
I dunno...I've had a bad feeling about this game all day and all night so far. I think the Pens' streak of 13 games without a regulation loss is about to come to an end. The Hawks came to play tonight.

SteelCityMan786
02-14-2007, 08:32 PM
I dunno...I've had a bad feeling about this game all day and all night so far. I think the Pens' streak of 13 games without a regulation loss is about to come to an end. The Hawks came to play tonight.

Gotta believe we'll win X.

SteelCityMan786
02-14-2007, 08:43 PM
THAT WAS A BULLSHIT CALL! DOES THE NHL KNOW THAT TOO MANY MEN ON THE ICE IS A PENALTY AND GOALS ARE TO BE OVERRULED!