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Old 05-29-2007, 11:13 PM   #2431
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Pens' Recchi-Roberts talks 'positive'

By Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The agent for veteran forwards Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts said Tuesday his clients are not a package deal, despite each wishing to re-sign with the Penguins prior to the start of free agency July 1.

Rich Curran, who represents each player, described talks with Penguins general manager Ray Shero as "positive." However, he offered no additional specifics on negotiations.

"I'm optimistic that something will get done," Curran said. "We want to get something done before July 1. But I am also realistic enough to know that I have two clients to take into consideration, and (Shero) has to focus on a budget for his entire team."

Shero extended contract offers to Curran for each player last Wednesday. Terms of the offers are not known, but the Penguins are believed to have presented Recchi with a one-year deal.

Roberts, meanwhile, is mulling his offer with his family.

"What you have are players that want to come back to Pittsburgh ... if this situation in Pittsburgh is what they know," Curran said. "Right now, they are each trying to determine if Pittsburgh will be the right fit for them next year."

Note: The Penguins signed right wing Tim Wallace, 22, to a two-year, entry-level deal. He spent this past season between the club's American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and its East Coast Hockey League affiliate in Wheeling. Wallace scored once in 11 playoff games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after posting five goals and 14 points in 32 regular-season contests.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_510048.html
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Old 05-30-2007, 09:31 PM   #2432
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

Congratulations Sid, you've earned it.....

Penguins make Crosby captain

By Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, May 31, 2007

One cannot spell Crosby without a "C." Sidney Crosby will finally get his Thursday.
In a move discussed within the organization since before Christmas, Crosby will be named captain of the Penguins at a noon news conference at Mellon Arena.

At 19 years and nine-plus months, Crosby will become the youngest captain in both team and National Hockey League history. Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier was named captain of the Lightning at 19 years, 11 months in 2000, but he was later stripped of the title.

Teammates expect Crosby to have a long reign as the Penguins' leader.

"I don't think it will be that much different than last year. The 'C' adds a little bit, but it's just a letter," defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "He's been a leader and will continue to be. This shows the rest of the league that he has completely arrived."
Crosby's arrival in the NHL for the 2005-06 season was met with unrivaled hype. Wayne Gretzky, dubbed "The Great One" because he owns virtually every NHL offensive record, labeled Crosby "The Next One."

This past season, Crosby bested Gretzky as the youngest player to surpass the career 200-point plateau. In two seasons, Crosby has scored 75 goals and recorded 222 points.

Crosby's league-best 120 points fueled a 47-point turnaround for the Penguins -- the fourth-best single-season improvement in league history. The Penguins earned their first playoff berth since 2001, and Crosby paced the Penguins in scoring during a five-game opening-round loss to the Ottawa Senators.

Crosby played the final month of the regular season and the playoffs with a broken foot.

"What more an example of leadership do you need?" Whitney said. "I've never seen somebody with such a passion for hockey."

In taking over the Penguins' captaincy, Crosby will join the ranks of past greats such as Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis and Ab McDonald, who first donned the "C" during the 1967-68 campaign.

Joining such company will cap a whirlwind two years for Crosby.

"It's weird. I don't think I really expected anything to go a certain way," Crosby said earlier this month. "It's only going to be my third year."

The Penguins have gone without a captain since Lemieux, the all-time leading scorer/team co-owner, retired Jan. 26, 2006, due to a heart condition. Crosby has served as an alternate captain since Michel Therrien replaced former coach Ed Olczyk on Dec. 15, 2005.

The captains

The following players have worn the "C" for the Penguins:

1967-68 Ab McDonald
1968-69 Keith McCreary*
1970-73 None
1973-77 Ron Schock
1977-78 Jean Pronovost
1978-81 Orest Kindrachuk
1981-84 Randy Carlyle
1984-86 Mike Bullard
1986-87 Bullard, Terry Ruskowski
1987-88 Dan Frawley, Mario Lemieux
1988-90 Lemieux
1990-91 Lemieux, Paul Coffey, John Cullen, Randy Hillier
1991-94 Lemieux
1994-95 Ron Francis
1995-97 Lemieux
1997-98 Francis
1998-01 Jaromir Jagr**
2001-04 Lemieux***
2005-06 Lemieux***
2006-07 None

* - McCreary was captain for 20 games.
** - Martin Straka wore the "C" for 10 games during Jagr's recovery from a thigh injury.
*** - Steve McKenna was captain one game -- against the Montreal Canadiens for the Hockey Fights Cancer Jersey Auction.


http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_510245.html
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Old 05-30-2007, 11:16 PM   #2433
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It was only a matter of time. No question that the kid has earned the right to wear the "C". Congratulations Sid - you are a very worthy successor to Mario Lemieux.
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:31 AM   #2434
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Thats awsome, I wouldnt want to see anyone else with the 'C' on his chest then Sid. Class act the whole way. Lemieux and Gretzky should be proud that he is taking the NHL into the next generation.
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:39 AM   #2435
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Thats awsome, I wouldnt want to see anyone else with the 'C' on his chest then Sid. Class act the whole way. Lemieux and Gretzky should be proud that he is taking the NHL into the next generation.
Amen to that. I'm 100% sure both "The Great One" and "Le Magnifique" are very proud of Sid and agree completely with the decision. Wayne highly praises the kid every chance he get's and it's pretty obvious what Lemieux thinks of Sid. I'm with you, I can't think of another player on that roster who deserves the "C" more than Sid. This officially is HIS team now.

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Old 05-31-2007, 02:16 PM   #2436
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Crosby installed as Penguins' captain; youngest in NHL
Thursday, May 31, 2007

By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Center Sidney Crosby took some time before deciding to accept the role of Penguins captain.

Months, in fact.

During a news conference today at Mellon Arena to introduce Crosby as the youngest captain in National Hockey League history, he and general manager Ray Shero revealed that the team asked him in January, midway through the season, to take a promotion from one of three alternate captains to the team captain.

"I thought I needed some time to grow a little bit more," said Crosby, who talked with team management again after the season ended and agreed to accept the new role.

Crosby, who turns 20 in August, said he expects to continue to lead by example rather than change his style -- a style that already had made him the club's undisputed leader and one of the best players in the game. In 2006-07, his second as a pro, he won the NHL scoring title with 120 points and helped the Penguins reach 105 points and make the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

"I understand there's going to be a lot more responsibility on my shoulders with this, but I think I'm ready for it," Crosby said. "I couldn't be in a better situation with a team that has a mix of younger guys and older guys."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07151/790494-100.stm
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Old 05-31-2007, 11:23 PM   #2437
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Off-Season Game Plan: Penguins

Scott Cullen
5/31/2007 11:28:37 AM

A tremendous turnaround in 2006-2007 kept the Penguins in Pittsburgh and vaulted them into the playoffs.

Off-Season Game Plan looks at what steps could be next to take this team of young stars to the next plateau.

Mired in turmoil for much of the season, with a potential move hanging over the franchise, the Penguins didn't let it affect the on-ice product.

Veteran winger Mark Recchi evaulated his team this way after the first-round loss to the Senators, telling the Canadian Press, "If we keep progressing like this, we're going to be contending for Stanley Cups for a long time."

An explosive team of young scorers, the Penguins actually had three players under 21 -- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal -- combine for 98 goals! The challenge going forward will be keeping these premier talents together, despite salary cap restrictions, but that's a long-term strategy.

In the more immediate future, the Penguins will need to focus their attention on defence, where a few more proven top four defencemen would make sense for a team that fancies itself a Cup contender.

Furthermore, if the Penguins are really going to aim high next season, they could also set their sites on a scoring winger or two to provide support for their absurdly talented trio of young centres.

"We're setting our standards high for next year," Crosby told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette following the season. "And making sure that we don't just settle for hanging around maybe for the last playoff spot. Even though that might be possible it's such a competitive league."

Whatever moves the Penguins make this summer, they could all pale in comparison to the potential signing of Crosby to a contract extension.

Sid the Kid, who is set to be named captain, will be a restricted free agent at the end of next season. Obviously, the Penguins would prefer to get Crosby signed before reaching the point at which every team in the league could bid for Sid's services.

By all rights, that contract extension will be pushing the league's maximum of 20% of the salary cap, which would set Crosby in the $9.6-million/season range if the salary cap moves up to $48-million as has been suggested.

Over the long haul, it might be difficult for the Penguins to keep all these young stars in the fold, but Crosby is the must-have of the group, the signing that would allow the Penguins more flexibility when it comes to the rest of the players on the roster.

Right now, the Penguins have room under the cap to operate (though bonuses for Crosby, Malkin and Staal could add another $6-million total next season), so the financial pressure will be primarily internal.

However, the prospect of losing some of their young talent in the not-too-distant future should encourage the Penguins to seize the moment and make the most of their current opportunity to contend with the best in the league.

As Crosby noted to the Post-Gazette, "Who knows what will happen next year?"

Seize the opportunity.


GM/COACH
Ray Shero/Michel Therrien

Returning Forwards

Player TSN.ca Rating Salary

Sidney Crosby 90.03 $850K
Evgeni Malkin 79.97 $984K
Jordan Staal 73.11 $850K
Ryan Malone 67.41 $1.45M
Georges Laraque 61.19 $1.3M
Jarkko Ruutu 58.94 $1.15M

Free Agent Forwards

Player TSN.ca Rating Class

Mark Recchi 73.87 UFA
Gary Roberts 71.03 UFA
Michel Ouellet 69.19 RFA
Eric Christensen 66.51 RFA
Colby Armstrong 65.44 RFA
Maxime Talbot 62.03 RFA
Nils Ekman 61.33 UFA
Ronald Petrovicky 59.74 UFA
Chris Thorburn 58.75 RFA

Top Prospects: Ryan Stone, Jonathan Filewich, Tyler Kennedy

An almost embarrassingly deep crop of young forwards makes the Penguins the envy of many organizations around the league and the group is led by the league's marquee attraction, Sidney Crosby.

The 19 year-old led the league with 120 points last season and should only get better as he finds the right complementary players to join him. While experienced veterans have been good to help acclimate Crosby to the league, it could be time to find some young scorers that can keep up with him.

Evgeni Malkin arrived from Russia with much fanfare, but he exceeded expectations with an 85-point rookie season. Big and physically gifted, Malkin will be an even greater force if he improves his conditioning to meet the rigorous physical demands of the NHL.

While Malkin exceeded expectations as a rookie, 18 year-old Jordan Staal obliterated any preconceived notions about his ability. A pre-season injury to Malkin may have helped keep Staal out of the Ontario Hockey League and then Staal's well-rounded game made it a no-brainer decision to keep him. His strong play at both ends of the rink makes him a terrific counter option to Crosby and Malkin.

Often a target of trade rumours, Ryan Malone could get moved this summer. He's a potential top-six forward, but doesn't seem to be a fit on the wing with the current group of Penguins.

A variety of second-tier young forwards also have shown that they can contribute.

Michel Ouellet doesn't have tremendous physical gifts, but his offensive instincts should warrant him playing on the second line.

Erik Christensen is a shootout ace, but he has to make a transition to the wing if he's actually going to get ample ice time to display his skills.

Colby Armstrong was a total disappointment last year. After registering 40 points in 47 games the year before, and showing a certain amount of chemistry with Crosby, Armstrong flopped last year, not scoring until his 23rd game of the season. He is actually a better fit on a two-way line, where his physical game can help create chances.

Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts could both be back next season, if the price is right, but they are 39 and 41, respectively, so their return would be a short-term fix rather than a long-term solution.

Among the Penguins' checking forward, Maxime Talbot was quite effective as an agitator who also chipped in 13 goals, while Jarkko Ruutu and Georges Laraque are among the best at their particular roles.

If the Penguins were going to hit the free agent market in search of scoring wingers, Paul Kariya and Scott Hartnell could be possible targets. If they really wanted to stir the pot, they could take a shot at restricted free agents like Buffalo's Tomas Vanek or Anaheim's Dustin Penner, both of whom would be huge upgrades on the wing.


Returning Defencemen

Player TSN.ca Rating Salary

Sergei Gonchar 79.21 $5.5M
Brooks Orpik 65.32 $1.08M
Mark Eaton 60.73 $1.6M

Free Agent Defencemen

Player TSN.ca Rating Class

Ryan Whitney 78.88 RFA
Alain Nasreddine 67.07 UFA
Josef Melichar 65.11 UFA
Robert Scuderi 63.44 UFA
Joel Kwiatkowski 58.87 UFA
Eric Cairns 58.74 UFA

Top Prospects: Kristopher Letang, Alex Goligoski, Ryan Lannon

Veteran Sergei Gonchar is frustrating at times because of his lack of consistency, but he's a terrific power play quarterback who can handle the puck and deliver a booming shot from the blueline. The Pens pay him the going rate for top-flight defencemen and get a fair return for their investment.

Ryan Whitney is Pittsburgh's other offensive weapon from the point. The 24 year-old continues to get better and the Penguins had better act quickly to get him signed this summer, since he could be a prime candidate for any team interested in prying him away as a restricted free agent.

Wrist and knee injuries conspired to cause Mark Eaton to miss 47 games, so his first season in Pittsburgh was hardly noteworthy. When healthy, he's a good shotblocking defenceman, though probably best suited to a spot on the third pair.

Brooks Orpik brings a physical element to the game and his willingness to commit to contact makes him a valuable component of this group, albeit in a limited role.

The rest of the Penguins' defence corps is headed for unrestricted free agency, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Josef Melichar isn't bad but, like the others, could easily be bumped aside for an upgrade.

One possible addition for next season could be Kristopher Letang, who started last season with the Penguins before returning to junior, where he scored 52 points in 40 games for Val-d'Or.

Aside from their own free agents, the Pens may want to pursue physical blueliners like Andy Sutton, Scott Hannan, Craig Rivet and Danny Markov, who can fit in the top four.

Returning Goaltenders

Player TSN.ca Rating Salary
Marc-Andre Fleury 73.16 $1.6M

Free Agent Goaltenders

Player TSN.ca Rating Class
Jocelyn Thibault 66.97 UFA

Top Prospects: Bobby Goepfert

There's something to be said for the progress that Marc-Andre Fleury is making, as he's increased his durability and improved his numbers across the board throughout his first three pro seasons. At the same time, Fleury is still just 22 years old, so it's not necessarily fair to expect him to be up to the task of backstopping a Stanley Cup contender. That day may come, but it might still be a few years away.

Jocelyn Thibault was a solid backup for the Penguins this season, so he might very well be welcomed back into that role. He also might attract interest around the league from teams in need of a veteran backup, which could leave the Penguins shopping for a new No. 2.

Some free agent options, if Thibault leaves, would include Mathieu Garon, David Aebischer and Kevin Weekes.

DRAFT
20th - Ryan McDonaugh, Jim O'Brien, Alex Plante

FREE AGENCY
The Penguins have approximately $16-million committed to salaries for next season.

Needs: two top six forwards, two top four defencemen

TRADE MARKET

Malone, Christensen

http://tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=209439&hubname=nhl
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Old 06-01-2007, 06:18 AM   #2438
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Crosby more than ready for 'C'

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, June 1, 2007

The Kid officially became The Man on Thursday, though both were easy to spot at a news conference announcing Sidney Crosby as the Penguins' new captain.

The Kid finished modeling his new jersey, complete with a capital 'C,' and he handed it to his dad for safekeeping.

The Man handled the media crush with ease.

The Kid loves PlayStation and still lives with Mario Lemieux's family -- though he purchased a house in his hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, last summer.

The Kid's a teenager -- two months shy of his 20th birthday -- which is why some who aren't close to the situation will question the wisdom of this move. A few months ago, NHL legend Mark Messier fell into that category.
Messier, during the All-Star break in Dallas, said he was wildly impressed with Crosby's character but cautioned against naming him captain anytime soon.

"I'm always leery about making kids that young assistant captains, even," Messier said. "Clearly, he is the leader of the team. But at the same point, you need to let him be a rookie, a child. You need to give him the opportunity to make mistakes.

"Being a captain or an assistant captain puts undue pressure on him."

Undue pressure? Crosby has been thriving in the face of it practically since birth.

See, in some ways, The Kid has always been The Man. His father reflected on that yesterday at Mellon Arena.

"He's just always been really mature," Troy Crosby said. "I think it's because a lot of his friends were a couple of years older, because of hockey, and I think some kids are just more mature than others. He was always focused and really knew what he wanted to do from a young age. He sacrificed a lot."

Still does.

You know as much if you watch the Penguins and see Crosby play every shift at warp speed. You know it, too, if you've seen coach Michel Therrien bar him from practice to avoid possible burnout.

Therrien spotted the born leader in Crosby the instant he replaced Eddie Olczyk midway through the 2005-06 season. Olczyk's instinct was to shelter Crosby. Therrien's instinct was to feature him -- burden him, even, because he knew The Man could handle it.

That's why Therrien immediately stripped respected veteran John LeClair of his assistant captain's role and gave it to Crosby.

Critics howled. Don Cherry, the cantankerous Canadian hockey analyst and former NHL coach, ripped Therrien and said of Crosby, "He's an 18-year-old kid."

But also an 18-year-old man, and one who would soon become the youngest scoring champion in NHL history.

Yesterday, the Penguins made Crosby the youngest captain in NHL history.

Crosby could have had the job before or during the season, but he turned it down twice, including 10 days after the All-Star Game.

"He told us, 'I don't think the time's right,' " general manager Ray Shero said. "That says a lot about him."

Ironic, isn't it?

In refusing such a prestigious job -- in demonstrating his ability to say no -- Crosby showed precisely the kind of maturity, courage and smarts the job requires.

The Kid was eager. The Man made him wait.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_510442.html
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Old 06-01-2007, 06:42 AM   #2439
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Crosby showed precisely the kind of maturity, courage and smarts the job requires.
Ain't that the truth? It was also reported that Sidney Crosby went up to Gonchar, Roberts and Recchi and asked for their approval before he accepted the captaincy. Two words, maturity and class.

If the world could only produce more modern day athletes with his same ilk maybe we wouldn't be hearing about athletes running off at the mouth, getting big heads and getting arrested on a regular basis?
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Old 06-01-2007, 07:34 AM   #2440
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If the world could only produce more modern day athletes with his same ilk maybe we wouldn't be hearing about athletes running off at the mouth, getting big heads and getting arrested on a regular basis?
I agree 100%. Sid is the kind of athlete all young kids should hope to be like. Class, Maturity, enthusiasm for the game. The money and fame are there, but Sid doesnt show it. He is a class act all the way. Im proud he is a Penguin
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