Tag:Pittsburgh Penguins
Posted on: July 15, 2011 10:50 am
Edited on: July 15, 2011 1:54 pm

Daily Skate: Crosby hits ice, Pronger delayed

By Brian Stubits

CROSBY HITS THE ICE: For the first time since April, Sidney Crosby has taken to the ice (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) for workouts as he continues toward his return from the concussion he sustained midway through last season. In April, as the Penguins were in playoff mode, Crosby was working out with the team, leading to speculation he might come back for the playoffs. He was soon shut down because of headaches, which were blamed on a sinus infection, not concussion symptoms. It's still just another small step in his recovery and doesn't guarantee he'll be ready for camp, but at this point it can only be taken as a positive for Pittsburgh.

PRONGER PROBLEMS: Speaking of rehabbing players and camp, Chris Pronger could miss the Flyers' training camp for the second consecutive year. Recovering from the removal of a herniated disc in his back, Pronger is still not able to up his own personal training beyond treadmill walking as he was directed to give his back 12 weeks to scar up and heal. Hopefully it's not an omen for a repeat of last year, when Pronger played just 50 games, his lowest total since 2002-03.

MR. POPULAR'S PENGUINS: Pennsylvania is Steelers country, right? Well yes, it still is, but not among the youth. While the Steelers remain the state's most popular team, including the teams across the state in Philly. But the Penguins lead all teams in the coveted demographic of fans between 18 and 29 years old. Among that demographic, the Penguins received 27 percent of the vote, with the Steelers second at 22 percent. Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review points out that the Penguins were on the brain at the time of the survey as it was in the middle of Jagr Watch. No matter, it's quite a feather in the Pens' cap to beat out the Steelers, Phillies and Eagles in the young demographic.

THEY COULD BE CONTENDERS: At the Florida Panthers' developmental camp, the team received a visit and motivational speech from Micky Ward (Sun-Sentinel) or the man the movie The Fighter was based on. His story certainly stuck with some of the young Panthers prospects like 2011 draft pick Logan Shaw: "Everyone's going to have low points in their career like he did, retiring for two-and-a-half years. He did it for himself, that's why he came back. That's how we all made it here, believing in ourselves and that's going make us have a successful career."

LET YOUR WINGS FLY: Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader is going to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take to the air with the famous U.S. Navy Blue Angels (Detroit Free Press). The former Mr. Hockey in Michigan will join the Blue Angels in a special showing in Ypsilanti where he will experience the tumbles, twirls, rolls and near-Mach 1 speeds of the Jets. The Blue Angels are in town for an air show next weekend.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: July 12, 2011 11:28 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 12:10 am

Teams closing in on the salary cap

By: Adam Gretz

On Monday we looked at the seven NHL teams that are still sitting below the NHL's salary floor and the work they need to do to reach it. But what about the teams that are closing in on the $64.3 million cap? Here's a quick look at the five teams that are closest to it, the amount of cap space they have remaining, the number of players they currently have under contract and the number of restricted free agents they have unsigned.

All salary figures come via CapGeek.
  • Buffalo Sabres, $354,693, 20 players under contract, three restricted free agents
  • Washington Capitals, $394,842, 22 players under contract, one restricted free agent
  • Philadelphia Flyers, $1.5 million, 22 players under contract, zero restricted free agents
  • Pittsburgh Penguins, $2.1 million, 22 players under contract, zero restricted free agents
  • Calgary Flames, $3.8 million, 21 players under contract, one restricted free agent
Clearly, the Buffalo Sabres have some work to do with only $354,693 in cap space and only 20 players under contract, only one of which is a goaltender. Patrick Lalime is an unrestricted free agent, while Jhonas Enroth is one of the club's three restricted free agents. The Sabres have added some large contracts this summer in Christian Ehrhoff, Ville Leino and Robyn Regehr, pushing them to the limits of the cap.

After picking up Regehr in a trade with the Calgary Flames, Ehrhoff's negotiating rights were acquired just before the start of the free agent signing period and he was quickly locked up with a 10-year, $40 million deal. On July 1, Leino signed a six-year, $27 million deal. Teams are allowed to exceed the cap during the summer, so the Sabres still have plenty of time to jettison some salary to fill out the remainder of the roster. But who do you sacrifice if you're the Sabres? Perhaps a player like Shaone Morrisonn? Ales Kotalik? Jochen Hecht? If the Sabres want to carry a 23-man roster this season, somebody is going to have to go.

The Washington Capitals have made a series of moves themselves, bringing in Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer, Roman Hamrlik and Tomas Vokoun, as well as re-signing Brooks Laich. Last week, the club shipped Eric Fehr and his $2.2 million cap hit to the Winnipeg Jets to clear some much-needed cap space as the club still needs to sign its remaining restricted free agent, defenseman Karl Alzner.

No team has had a bigger change to the makeup of its roster this summer than the Philadelphia Flyers, and while they traded two lengthy contracts (Jeff Carter and Mike Richards ... arguably their best players) they still have some potential long-term problems, none of which could be bigger in the future than the one belonging to defenseman Chris Pronger. He is still signed for another six years, and at the age of 36, isn't getting any younger on the blue line.

After they traded Carter and Richards and allowed Leino to hit the free agent market, the Flyers replaced them with Ilya Bryzgalov, Jaromir Jagr, Max Talbot and the players acquired in the two trades (Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn). They have no remaining restricted free agents.

The Penguins, it seems, have become the greatest example for teams with salary cap constraints due to the amount of money they have invested in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. (Both players have average annual salaries of $8.7 million.) As I've written in the past, this isn't quite as big a concern as it's often made out to be because their money is invested in elite, All-Star level players. Many of the top teams (Detroit, Vancouver, Chicago, Washington, San Jose ... pretty much any of the Stanley Cup contenders) that are pressed against the cap every year have close to (or more than) 50 percent of their cap space tied up in just five players. The Penguins are no different.

On Tuesday the team signed Dustin Jeffrey, their only remaining restricted free agent, to a two-year contract.

Finaly, we have the Flames. In late June they completed the previously mentioned trade with Buffalo involving Regehr to shed some salary. They followed that up by bringing back veteran forward Alex Tanguay, signing him to a five-year contract. Their remaining restricted free agent is defenseman Brendan Mikkelson. With 22 players under contract and still over $3 million in cap space, they should be in solid shape regarding the cap.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 5:41 pm

Becoming Wild: Minnesota's version of 24/7

By: Adam Gretz

Leading up to last season's Winter Classic, HBO's 24/7 followed the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals around in what was the NHL's answer to Hard Knocks. Only better. Instead of focusing on the sometimes mundane routine of training camp and exhibition games, 24/7 was documenting two teams -- two fierce rivals -- in the middle of the regular season, playing games that actually count.

It proved to be a huge success and will be returning this season to help preview the Jan. 2 outdoor game between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. Rangers coach John Tortorella by himself will be a reason to watch.

In the meantime, for those of you itching to get a behind the scenes look at an NHL team, the Minnesota Wild have their own version: Becoming Wild. It's a six-part series that will air on Fox Sports North this summer and also be featured on the team's official website.

The series will take a look at the Houston Aeros' (Minnesota's top minor league club) preperation for a Calder Cup playoff game, the hiring of new coach Mike Yeo, preparations for the NHL Entry Draft, training camp and the completion of the NHL roster for the 2011-12 season.

The first episode has already been posted on the team's website and documents the previously mentioned Aeros playoff game. Also featured: resident enforcer Matt Kassian, citing his size advantage, trying to convince his teammates after a team meeting that he can last three rounds in the ring with Manny Pacquiao, passionately arguing that his extra 100 pounds can give him the power that he'll need.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:29 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:17 am

If you like goals, Colorado was the team to watch

By: Adam Gretz

During the 2010-11 season the NHL averaged 5.59 goals per game, which was the second lowest league-wide average since it came out of the lockout in 2005 (the lowest was 5.57 in 2007-08).

Obviously, some teams are involved in higher scoring games than others due to their system or roster makeup, and you probably know going into a game against New Jersey or Nashville that goal scoring is going to be at a minimum.

But which teams were involved in the highest and lowest scoring games last year (goals scored and goals allowed)? Here's a look at the top-and-bottom 10.

Let's start with the teams that were involved in the highest scoring games…

2010-11 Highest Scoring Games
Team Goals Scored Per Game Goals Allowed Per Game Total Goals Per Game
Colorado Avalanche 2.70 3.50 6.20
Detroit Red Wings 3.13 2.89 6.02
New York Islanders 2.74 3.15 5.89
Atlanta Thrashers 2.66 3.20 5.86
Tampa Bay Lightning 2.94 2.85 5.79
Philadelphia Flyers 3.12 2.63 5.75
Chicago Blackhawks 3.07 2.68 5.75
Calgary Flames 2.94 2.80 5.74
Buffalo Sabres 2.93 2.78 5.71
Anaheim Ducks 2.87 2.84 5.71

If you like a lot of goals, the Colorado Avalanche were definitely the team to watch. In their case, as well as teams like the Islanders and Thrashers, they appear so high on the list because they allowed a ton of goals, not necessarily because they scored a lot. So while their games were lighting up the scoreboard, it probably wasn't the type of excitement you wanted to see if you were a fan of one of those clubs.

Red Wings games, on the other hand, were generally exciting because they were not only the second-highest scoring team in the league, but also because they were eighth in goals allowed. The 2.89 goals the Wings allowed per game was the highest of any team to qualify for the postseason.

At the other end of the spectrum, here's a look at the teams that were involved in the lowest scoring games…

2010-11 Lowest Scoring Games
Team Goals Scored Per Game Goals Allowed Per Game Total Goals Per Game
New Jersey Devils 2.09 2.52 4.61
Nashville Predators 2.60 2.32 4.92
Los Angeles Kings 2.55 2.39 4.94
Washington Capitals 2.67 2.33 5.00
Florida Panthers 2.33 2.71 5.04
Montreal Canadiens 2.60 2.51 5.11
New York Rangers 2.73 2.38 5.11
Pittsburgh Penguins 2.78 2.39 5.17
Minnesota Wild 2.48 2.78 5.26
Boston Bruins 2.98 2.30 5.28

The usual suspects appear at the top (New Jersey and Nashville): teams that struggle to score and also play tight, defensive systems.

How big of a gap is there from the top team (Colorado) and the bottom team (New Jersey)? Look at it this way: If you watched every single Devils game, you would have witnessed 130 fewer goals over the course of the season than a person who watched every Avalanche game.

There are also a couple of unexpected teams in the bottom group, particularly Pittsburgh and Washington. When you look at the Penguins, it's maybe not quite as surprising when you consider they played the first half of the season without Jordan Staal and then played the second half without a pair of former scoring champions in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

But Washington? Involved in the fourth-lowest scoring games in the league? That's certainly not what we've grown to expect from them in recent years, and it offers a nice look into just how defensive that team became last season.

In the three previous years they went from the 11th highest-scoring games in 2007-08 to fourth in 2008-09 to the top spot in 2009-10. How much of a shift was there from being involved in the highest-scoring games to the fourth-lowest? The average Capitals game in 2010 averaged 1.59 fewer goals per game than the previous year.

The second biggest drop belonged to the Penguins whose games averaged 0.74 fewer goals.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 10, 2011 11:08 am
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:33 pm

Daily Skate: another fresh start for Esposito

By: Adam Gretz

ESPOSITO GETS ANOTHER FRESH START There was a time prior to the 2007 Entry Draft when Angelo Esposito was projected to be one of the top picks (if not the top pick) after putting up monster numbers in the QMJHL while playing on a line next to Alexander Radulov with the Quebec Remparts. By the time draft day came around his stock had fallen (due in part to declining production) to the point where he wasn't selected until late in the first-round by the Pittsburgh Penguins with the 20th overall pick. Within a year, Esposito's value continued to fall and he was packaged in a trade to Atlanta, along with Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen and a first-round pick, in exchange for Marian Hossa and Pascal Dupuis at the NHL's trade deadline. It was a deal that was supposed to help re-build the Thrashers, but ultimately came up empty. Very empty. Armstrong and Christensen have already left the organization and the first-round pick (Daultan Leveille) has yet to play a pro game. On Saturday, the Jets organization (which was the Thrashers organization until a month ago) officially parted ways with Esposito, sending him to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Kenndal McArdle. Esposito has spent parts of the past three seasons in the AHL, having scored just three goals to go with 14 assists in 70 games.

PANTHERS ACQUIRE TWO OTHERS Along with the Esposito acquisition the Panthers made two other small moves on Saturday, acquiring forward Sergei Shirokov from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for forward Mike Duco. The team also picked up Keith Seabrook from the Calgary Flames for Jordan Henry. Shirokov has appeared in eight NHL games in his career, scoring one goal. Seabrook, 22, spent the 2010-11 season split between the Abbotsford Heat and Manitoba Moose of the AHL.

LUNDIN SIGNS WITH Wild The Minnesota Wild signed free agent defenseman Mike Lundin to a one-year contract on Saturday. He spent the past four years with the Tampa Bay Lightning after being selected in the fourth-round by the team in 2004.

HULSIZER INTERESTED IN Blues? After withdrawing his offer to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes, Matthew Hulsizer has reportedly set his sights on becoming the owner of the St. Louis Blues. David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail has the story.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 8, 2011 1:53 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 2:03 pm

Crosby foundation contributes to health center

By: Adam Gretz

If you're a professional athlete there are a number of ways to find your name in the news. You can simply be really good at your job. You can get arrested. You can do something completely ridiculous like Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams and propose to your beauty queen girlfiend through the mail, and then threaten to sue when she doesn't return the ring.

You can also be a decent human being and find ways to give back to your community, which is what Penguins captain Sidney Crosby did through his foundation -- the Sidney Crosby Foundation -- by contributing to a teen lounge for patients at the IWK Health Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Crosby is from nearby Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.

According to the Penguins website, the lounge "is a gathering space designed to meet the unique needs of patients 12 years and older – a safe haven for them to enjoy and experience some of the normal social interactions that their peers enjoy. It is a place for group activities like cooking, crafts and games for special events like birthdays, holiday parties and special visitors."

So there you go. The troublemakers tend to be the ones that make the headlines, but like the Jarome Iginla story from Thursday, there's plenty of athletes out there doing a lot positive things for their community.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 1, 2011 2:39 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 8:53 pm

Flyers strike Penguins again, sign C Talbot

The Flyers have taken another former Penguin; they have signed center Maxime Talbot during  a furious Friday, free-agent frenzy.

Earlier in the day the Flyers signed Jaromir Jagr, who was believed to be favoring a return to Pittsburgh -- the place he began his NHL career.

Philadelphia didn't figure to be much in the way of a big player in free agency considering they were already approaching the cap ceiling. But they still found enough room to sign Jagr and Talbot in addition to signing Andreas Lilja away from Anaheim and re-signing Jakub Voracek, who they acquired in a trade for Jeff Carter.

Talbot's deal is for five years and $9 million, according to Darren Dreger on TSN.

If you thought the Flyers-Penguins rivalry was heated before, just wait until they play next. The Flyers are trying to re-tool the roster after making room for goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, and I'd say they've done just that. The two signings today both pretty much came out of left field and the Flyers will end this week the same way they ended the last: as the most talked-about team in hockey.

Talbot scored eight goals and had 13 assists for the Penguins last season.

By Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

Click here for more free-agency updates.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: July 1, 2011 11:42 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 11:08 pm

Flyers sign Jagr after Penguins, Wings drop out

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Jaromir Jagr, GM Paul Holmgren announced Friday afternoon.

The deal is reported to be for one year at $3.3 million.

So how did the talks start between the sides that didn't seem to have any previous contact? It was something the Flyers sort of stumlbed in to.

“Well, obviously it sort of just started innocently yesterday. I just sent a text to Petr Svoboda, his agent, who also represents Jake Voracek, and I didn’t know who was involved," Holmgren said. "I read over the last few days it was just Detroit and Pittsburgh were the teams, so I just sent him a text about if Jaromir would have interest in playing for Philadelphia and it just kind of went from there, and culminated today with our signing of him."

In a shocking turn of events, the Pittsburgh Penguins withdrew their offer to Jagr earlier in the day. To make it even crazier, the Red Wings dropped out, too.

GM Ray Shero had hoped to have an answer from Jagr by now, but things have changed in the last 24 hours. Since Jagr flew to the United States, the list of potential suitors that was believed to be two (Penguins and Red Wings) or maybe three has grown.

"We made what we thought was a very fair contract offer to Jaromir on Tuesday, based on his stated interest of returning to the Penguins," Shero said in a statement. "We made our best offer from the start, given our salary cap structure, in an attempt to facilitate a deal. But now, after several days, with an extended time frame for making a decision, and additional teams getting involved, we have decided to move in a different direction. It was never our intention to get involved in a free agent bidding war, and we have to focus on our team."

The Penguins were believed to be the favorite to sign Jagr and bring him back to the NHL. The 39-year-old spent 11 seasons with the Pens and is near the top of all the franchise's records.

By Brian Stubits

Photo: Getty Images

Click here for more free-agency updates.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com