Friday, September 29, 2006

Pens Roster 06

There are 27 players left in camp. The roster size for the NHL is 23 players, and they can dress 20 guys each night.

Here's the current state:

Forwards - 16

Defensemen - 8

Goalies - 3


I've put in bold the players who are guaranteed to make the roster on opening night. Anyone else is open for discussion, so let's discuss!

The final roster breakdown is likely to be either:
13 forwards - 8 defensemen - 2 goalies
14 forwards - 7 defensemen - 2 goalies

Given that, either two or three forwards have to go to Wilkes Barre, and more will follow once Malkin and Petrovicky return. So, out of the following group, two or three will go:

If it were me, I'd send down Carcillo, Stone and Stewart. Staal can play up to 10 games before he either has to be returned to juniors, or stick for the entire season (he can't go to Wilkes-Barre). I'd use him to fill Malkin's spot and see if Jordan is ready for the NHL. After Petro returns, I'd either evaluate Pivko closely, or send down Talbot (much as it pains me to say that).

For defensemen, the Pens can keep 7 or 8. Given Cairn's injury, I can't see Welch not making the team. I would even expect the Pens to give a 10 game tryout to Letang (same rules apply for Kristopher as for Staal) before deciding whether to send him to juniors again. Letang's situation is more precarious, because the Pens either have to sign him, or risk him re-entering the draft next year. He's become quite the prospect in the last year or two, and he seems tailor-made for the new NHL.

On the goalies, I know what Molinari has said, but I can't see anyone but Fleury and Thibault playing here this year. The team badly needs Fleury to become a #1 goalie. The Pens are not likely to be cup contenders this year (heck, they'll struggle to make the playoffs), and they are already considering having two players straight out of juniors on their roster. Why not let Fleury play so he can grow? Goalies are notorious for the time it takes them to mature.

So what do YOU think? Who would YOU keep?

I've been away too long...

I've been away from the blog for a week. I was on vacation to a lakeside cabin with no phone or internet. It was a nice break. Now I'm back to take a look at what has happened since I was away.

First off, no one yet knows how long Malkin will be out. The common number tossed around is 4-6 weeks, but no one is talking.

I'll do a separate post on how the roster battles are shaping up, but Erik Christensen was sent down to Wilkes-Barre. I'm disappointed, as I like Christensen. Supposedly, he hasn't regained whatever confidence he lost last season. Let's hope he does - he could have stepped into the second line center role.

Thibault is looking better than Fleury at this point and according to Dave Molinari, T-Bo may start the season as the #1 goalie. He even goes so far as to suggest that MAF could start the season with the Baby Pens. This would be a huge surprise to me. In fact, I'd still be really surprised if Fleury isn't between the pipes next Thursday.

One of the biggest stories out of camp has been the play of Kristopher Letang, who is trying to make the jump straight out of juniors to the NHL at the age of 19. I don't see any way that this is going to happen, but I'd love to see it. Letang is a great offensive guy, and he is a right-handed shot, which is something the Pens could sorely use.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Evgeni Malkin - dislocated shoulder

According to the Post-Gazette and Russian news sources, Malkin suffered a rather mild shoulder dislocation. He'll be examined next week.

Wouldn't surprise me to see him on opening night... I sure hope so - I have tickets to the game!!

Evgeni Malkin update

According to numerous sources, Malkin was at practice today. He was not skating, but was in the locker room. He is not wearing a sling, and some are reporting that he'll see a specialist later today.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Evgeni Malkin Injured

UPDATE - Malkin returned to the arena and left without wearing a sling. This would have to be considered a good sign.

Evgeni Malkin collided with John Leclair early in the second period of the Pens exhibition game tonight with the Flyers. He was up-ended and landed awkwardly on his face and left shoulder. He was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Ray Shero said that he was released from the hospial and will fly home with the team tonight. He'll be evaluated by Pittsburgh doctors tomorrow. Right now, they're calling it an "upper body injury" and Shero said that he was just glad Evgeni skated off under his own power (though he was holding his left arm).

Let's hope for the best - this would be a big blow to the Pens.

Mark Recchi was also poked in the face with a stick and went to the hospital. He will also fly home with the team tonight and will be evaluated in Pittsburgh tomorrow.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Petrovicky has hip surgery

According to a little blurb at the bottom of the article on, Ronald Petrovicky is out indefinitely after hip surgery.

The would seemingly open a roster spot for one of the young guys that was play wing. It's that or it earns more playing time for Andre Roy. Ugh. Maybe Daniel Carcillo can fill the grinder role until Petro is well enough to play.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Traning Camp is here!

Practices are open to the public tomorrow (Friday) through Sunday, from 9:00 - 12:30. According to the Post-Gazette, the practices are divided into two groups, one going at 9:00 and the other at 11:30. In between the two sessions, at 10:00, they groups will scrimmage against each other.

I wish I could go to see one of the practices - I'd imagine they'll keep Crosby and Malkin in separate groups to let them go up against each other in the scrimmages. That would be fun to watch.

The team will have their first two exhibition games next week, on September 19th and 20th. Both will be on FSN at 6:30. It's the first time a Penguins preseason game has been televised.

Rookie Camp article roundup

There have been several articles on some of the young players that participated in the Penguins recent rookie camp. Here's a listing of the ones I could find in the local media:

In the Trib, there are the following articles:
Evgeni Malkin
Jordan Staal
Nick Johnson (who paid his own way to rookie camp because of NCAA regulations)

In the Post-Gazette, we have:
Stephen Dixon
Kristopher Letang
Jordan Staal

Many of the 26 players have been added to the regular training camp roster. There aren't many roster spots open, however, so the likelihood of anyone beyond Malkin and Welch making the team isn't very good. It's especially bleak for defensemen, since the Pens six guys on one-way contracts, plus Whitney and Welch. That means that it'll be another year or two before we see guys like Letang and Sersen make a strong push for the NHL roster.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Different day, same old... stuff?

In case you hadn't noticed, the New York Islanders have changed their management a few times recently. They haven't, however, changed their philosophy on signing contracts with players. Today, they agreed to a FIFTEEN year contract with goalie Rick DiPietro. As if they hadn't learned about the onerous burden that the Yashin contract carries. Admittedly, this one is a bit cheaper, being for $67.5 million ($4.5 per year, on average), but still... this is incredible.

Following up on the incredible, the Flyers handed out an offer sheet for a restricted free agent, Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks (see the prior link for more). What makes this significant is that the Flyers are offering $1.9 million for a guy who had 10 goals and 23 assists last year. This will set a barometer for arbitration hearings and will cascade over to other players, making everyones life more miserable, players included. How does it affect the players negatively, you ask? Well, since there is now a salary cap, when teams can't afford the arbitration award, the player is cut loose. Other teams aren't going to pay that level of salary. This means that the player will go from elated with their award to a pay cut without ever seeing a dime of their raise.

The only good thing in this is that there is a salary cap, and player costs cannot exceed 54% of league revenues. This means that teams can be as dumb as they want to be, since the only one that will ultimately pay the price for their silliness is themselves.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Yes, it is true - the Apocalypse is here

Why is the Apocalypse upon us? Because in the Post-Gazette yesterday, there was an ENTIRE PAGE devoted to your Pittsburgh Penguins!!

I'm not even going to bother linking to the articles individually - it's like a landslide of writing! Okay, maybe not quite that much, but when the river starts to flow after having been a stream that was running dry, you take notice. Just go here, and see everything that was written over the last few days.

If I get ambitious, I'll have some comments about this stuff later on today.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Nice article about Rookie Camp

Here's a nice report from one of the guys over at He was in attendence at rookie camp earlier today.

From what he said, other than the obvious (Malkin looks good), he also indicated that Welch, Letang, Sersen, Lannon and Filewich looked good.

Have a read - it's worth your time.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Rookie Camp Preview

There are articles in both major papers today about Penguins rookie camp, which began today. The best place to get information, though, is the Penguins website. Check here for the PDF with the official roster for camp (check out the amateur tryouts!), and here is the official schedule. Note that practice is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 - 11:30 am.

As the Trib notes, only Malkin is a lock to make the roster. There will be other players here for rookie camp that we'll see in Pittsburgh this year. Noah Welch will certainly spend some time in Pittsburgh, if not start the season here. Jordan Staal has a chance to make the team. We'll probably see Connor James as a call up this year, as he's a little older and has played in the NHL last season.

Other players that are intriguing at rookie camp:
  • Daniel Carcillo - LW - he had 311 penalty minutes in 51 games last season with Wilkes-Barre.
  • Mathieu Roy - LW - a QMJHL guy who scored 50 goals (104 pts total) in 65 games.
  • Kristopher Letang - D - 25 goals in 60 games (68 pts overall). Oh yeah - he's right-handed. Don't get too exicted yet - he's only 19 and played in the QMJHL.
  • Michal Sersen - D - another high scoring defensemen (22+57 in 63 games) from the QMJHL.
  • Jordan Morrison - C - amateur tryout - Jordan Staal's teammate at Peterborough last year, though he's three years older. He had 31 goals and 37 assists in 68 games.

I know the QMJHL guys are a way out, but it's fun to see players that could be in the mix in a few years.

Get down to the arena this weekend if you get the chance!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

New logo!

Lots of administrative stuff tonight... but this is the most exciting of all!

Check out the new logo! I think it's pretty cool. It was done by a friend of mine who is very good with this kind of stuff (I'm not a graphics guy...)

Comment Moderation

I've turned on moderation for comments on the blog, largely due to some comments being too close to spam for my taste. What this means for you is that if you leave a comment, it may take a little while for it to show up.

Hopefully this is just a temporary measure.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Malkin to sign on Tuesday

The Penguins will hold a press conference Tuesday morning at 10:00 where Ray Shero will make a "major announcement", likely to be the signing of Evgeni Malkin.

This will be the day we've all been waiting for since drafting Malkin. Given that he signs tomorrow, I'd imagine we'll see him on the ice for rookie training camp starting on the 7th.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pre-camp News Roundup

Not too much going on - we're all waiting for Evgeni Malkin to sign. Rookie camp beings in 6 days, and that will be the first chance we have to see Malkin and Staal (remember that guy?) on the ice for the Pens.
  • Shelly Anderson of the Post-Gazette says that the Barry and Brisson, who represent Malkin, will begin negotiations with the Pens after the holiday weekend, with the stated goal of having Evgeni here for rookie camp on September 7th. The negotiations should be short and sweet - Malkin's salary is pretty much locked in by the CBA. Of course, this same information was available a day earlier from the Tribune Review. Karen Price of the Trib has been kicking the stuffing out of the Post-Gazette lately. It will be interesting to see how well that continues now that Dave Molinari is back, speaking of which...
  • Dave Molinari has returned from his vacation to post a new Q&A, but in my opinion, it's pretty useless. Take a look for yourself... maybe I'm being too harsh.
  • The Pens will attend a four day leadership course at West Point. Is it me, or does this sound like Michel Therrien's dream vacation? I'm all for it - anything that lets Coach Therrien put his stamp on this team from the start. There's no reason this team can't be the hardest workers in the league.
  • Edmonton will send some players to Wilkes-Barre (and four other teams) since they will not have an AHL affiliate this year. I say as long as the Pens prospects don't lose development time to the Oilers prospects, then so much the better. Wilkes-Barre's roster has bee kind of light so far this off-season, so I suppose it's better for the Pens young guys like Filewich and Stone to play with legitimate prospects, as opposed to journeymen who will never make it out of the AHL.
That's about it. Let me take another opportunity to pimp the Igloo Dreams fantasy hockey league, totally free and on Yahoo. I'm getting nothing out of this, by the way - I just want to see a full league! We have four spots left. Instructions on how to join are here.