Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Buyer's remorse?

There appear to be issues with the sale of the Penguins to Sam Fingold. There are articles in the Post-Gazette and Tribune Review this morning, detailing what was discussed on local talk shows and newscasts last night.

Evidentally, Mr. Fingold has plenty of money, but there are "fundamental business issues" that are preventing the sale from going through. Perhaps those issues involve the future location of the Penguins?

The Trib gets quotes directly from Fingold:

"There is plenty of cash but (there are) a few other issues I can't talk about yet," Fingold told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in an e-mail.

"All the equity is in place," he later wrote. "There are some business points that need to be worked out."

The Post-Gazette merely indicates that there are business issues, though they also said that the Penguins are seemingly ready to pull out of the deal.

I'm guessing that if the Pens are ready to back out, either they're worried about Fingold's wealth level in terms of making the team viable, or the Pens think he wants to move the team.

Personally, I only care about two things:
  1. The team stays in Pittsburgh
  2. The owner has enough cash flow to keep the team near the cap - they're going to need it in the not too distant future.
One more thing - join the Igloo Dreams fantasy hockey league!! Instructions are here. It's free, and on Yahoo. I'll post about the standings on this very blog! What more could anyone want?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Anyone like fantasy hockey?

I started a free league this year on Yahoo. Anyone that wants to can join.

Go to and sign up for a hockey team.

Join a custom league - the league ID 16001
The password is letsgopens

It should be fun - sign up if you're interested!

Training camp dates

The Pens will have the beginning part of their training camp at the Mellon Arena.

Rookies, including Malkin (hopefully) will report September 7th, with the Sept 9th and 10th sessions open to the public.

Regular camp opens Sept 14th, with Sept 15th - 17th being open to the public.

On the afternoon of the 17th, the Pens will head for Canada. Their preseason opener will be Sept 19th vs Ottawa. Both of the games on the 19th and 20th will be televised on FSN.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Casino License date set

The Post-Gazette has an article that indicates, among other things, that the state Gaming Control Board will hand out the casino license for Pittsburgh on December 20th, 2006.

We haven't been hearing that much about the process recently, but expect attention to be focused that was once we get closer to election season.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Penguins on the Go!

With all of the Malkin excitement, I've been remiss in not mentioning a few former Penguin players joining other teams. They are:

Dick Tarnstrom - Dick signed to play in the Swiss Elite League this year. This is kind of surprising, given that he was a key offensive guy for the Oilers in their stretch run last year. He's been a reliable offensive performer in recent years, but evidently wasn't getting the kind of offers he wanted.

Eric Boguniecki - Eric signed a two-way contract with Columbus. This one isn't too surprising, as Bogie hasn't really established himself in the NHL. I liked his hustle and grit when he played last year, but if you can't get any playing time with the second-worst team in the NHL, your future isn't too bright. I hope he stays with the big club in Columbus.

Tomas Surovy - Signed a one year deal with Lulea HF in Sweden. I liked Surovy - he seemed to have that scoring knack. However, given that the Penguins did not tender him a contract offer, and no one else expressed enough interest for him to sign... I guess the writing was on the wall for Tomas.

So what can we take from these moves? I'd say that it shows what Ray Shero was talking about when he said that he was surprised that at the lack of interest that some of his players were drawing (or not drawing, in this case). It speaks volumes about the quality of the players the Penguins were keeping around, either as a top defensemen (Tarnstrom) or a highly regarded prospect (Surovy). The more I see, the more I like what Ray Shero is doing, and the direction the team is going.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

GREAT Karen Price Trib interview with Evgeni Malkin

The Tribune Review has a terrific interview with Evgeni Malkin in this morning's paper. Karen Price gets the answers to the questions we've all been asking ourselves about this situation.

First, read the article. Second, finish reading this blog entry. Go on... I'll wait.

Done? Good. Now think about this stuff with me - and post your comments!

Metallurg made a promise to Malkin last year that if he played one more season, they would not oppose his entry to the NHL this year. Malkin was dismayed that they broke their word on that.

Why did Malkin fire Newport Sports as his representation, especially after Newport (and Don Meehan) filed his initial two week notice with Metallurg?
  • Well, it turns out that we can really answer two questions with this answer (the other question being, how did Metallurg get Malkin's passport?). After Newport filed the paperwork to tender his two week notice, Malkin learned that a Russian Newport agent had handed his passport over to Metallurg General Director Gennady Velichkin. Malkin asked for it back, but Velichkin refused to hand it over. It's not explicitly stated, but Malkin fired Newport after that and went back to Barry and Brisson.
Why did Malkin sign that new one year contract?
  • Just after re-hiring Barr and Brisson, Malkin and his parents were "invited" (quotes are directly from the article) to a 9:00 pm meeting with Metallurg, where Victor Rashnikov (Team President) and Gennady Velichkin were present, among others. They talked for a few hours, with the Malkins (all three of them) stating they weren't going to sign another contract. Rashnikov thanked everyone for coming, and left. As the Malkins were leaving, Velichkin and another team official suggested they follow the Malkins home to continue their "negotiations" (again, quotations directly from the article). This continued until 2:30 am at the Malkins' house, with Evgeni eventually caving in and signing.
Once he signed that contract, he became determined to leave, as he felt betrayed and deceived by Velichkin.

The most interesting thing about the article to me? If he hadn't signed that one year deal and accompanied the team to Finland, he may not have been able to get his passport back. Without that, he would have no contract and no way to leave the country. This wound up being the fastest way to get him to the US. We should be thanking Mr. Velichkin, in a way.

Malkin will remain in LA until his two weeks are up (August 28th). I'm sure we'll see lots of attempted legal fireworks between now and then from the Russians.

So, what do you think? What questions might you have that are unanswered?

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette != Good Hockey Coverage

Since most people may not recognize what != means, it means "is not equal".

The Tribune Review has a GREAT interview with Evgeni Malkin, answering many of the questions we've all been wondering about - more on that in the next post.

The Post-Gazette has not a SINGLE WORD about hockey in the Sunday paper. They've missed an absolutely huge story that the Trib was able to get in on first-hand. The coverage in both local papers up until now has pretty much been limited to second-hand accounts, and picking up national articles. The Trib, however, has managed to get Karen Price out to LA to interview Malkin personally.

I'm more disappointed by the Sports section in the Post-Gazette every Sunday.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Evgeni Malkin interviews

TSN has posted the video of their interview with Malkin, along with some quotes from Malkin. Nothing earth-shattering, but if you want to see what Malkin looks like when he's relaxed and in America, go to the article and click on the "TSN Exclusive: Malkin speaks" link.

My favorite part was finding out that Sidney Crosby contacted Evgeni to make sure he got to the US safely. Little things like that will go a long way towards helping chemistry in the clubhouse, and hopefully keeping Evgeni from feeling too isolated in the clubhouse since he doesn't speak English very well at all. That could pay big dividends on the ice this season.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Malkin interviews are coming

Evgeni Malkin has granted three journalists an interview - one from Canada (TSN), on from Russia (his friend Malamud) and one from the USA (the LA Times).

The Russian one is translated over at, but it's really hard to read.

The LA Times hasn't published theirs yet.

TSN has their tease for the interview up, with just a few quotes from Malkin. They'll be running it on their version of Sportscenter tonight, so look for more tomorrow.

I'm going to wait until tomorrow before writing anything more about this - the quotes that will be the most decipherable are from the two that haven't put out anything of merit yet.

Penguins sign G Andrew Penner

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed goalie Andrew Penner.

This is a move to fill out the roster at Wilkes-Barre, and almost certainly spells the end of Andy Chiodo. Penner would be second on the depth chart, behind Sabourin, assuming that Thibault starts the season as the backup in Pittsburgh.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

First official comment from the Pens on Malkin

Ray Shero released a statement today about Evgeni Malkin. I've linked to it, but I'll also just post it here because it's really short:
“We have been informed by Evgeni Malkin’s agents that Evgeni is now in the United States. At the appropriate time, we look forward to sitting down with Evgeni and his representatives to discuss what can be a very bright future with the Pittsburgh Penguins.”
In typical Penguins fashion, it's really short and to the point. It is good to see that they're willing to officially comment now that Evgeni is in the States.

We're moving...

In a post completely unrelated to hockey, this blog has upgraded to the new Beta for Blogger. That means some exciting changes, most significantly in that we'll soon have Categories on this blog! That is wonderful, and something I've been hoping for. Maybe it'll inspire me to get off my duff and implement some other features I've been wanting to do.

Anyway, if you see anything strange, it's likely due to the Beta.

Evgeni Malkin in Los Angeles

According to an article on, Evgeni Malkin is in Los Angeles, working out at the LA Kings practice facility with NHL players. He has been in Helsinki, Finland since Saturday. He boarded a plane to the US yesterday (Wednesday).

A few interesting facts are in the article:
  • The reason they picked now to come to America is that it is the first time that Malkin has been able to control his own passport. It was controlled by Manitogorsk until now.
  • Once he had his passport, Malkin went into hiding in Finland until his US visa could be processed.
  • Within two hours of the visa being processed via the US Embassy in Finland, he was on a plane to the US.
  • He's been with J.P. Barry since Saturday when he obtained his passport.

They claim they're evaluating his next steps with a team of lawyers, but I think we all know the next step - September 7th. That's the day that rookies report to training camp for the Penguins!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nice article about a few prospects...

Over on, there is a nice article talking about four Pens prospects in particular; Welch, Christensen, Filewich and Stone.

I haven't read that much about Filewich and Stone to this point (probably because last year was their first in the AHL), so that was nice to see. I'll have to poke around and find some more of these type of things.

The future is bright - there's no doubting that!

Malkin officially quits

Evgeni Malkin has officially handed in his two week notice to Metallurg, according to TSN.

This is the first step. According to the article, his next move will become more clear in the next 24 hours. I'm guessing a signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins isn't too far in the future.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Interview with Malkin's Russian agent

Here is an interview from a few days back with one of Malkin's Russian agents, Gennadi Ushakov.

As always, here's what I took from it:
  • Ushakov didn't know Malkin was leaving, basically saying that people don't usually talk about when they're going to run. In fairness, Ushakov could get into trouble if here were to admit that he did know, or could have tried to stop Evgeni if he had been told.
  • Ushakov confirmed that Malkin had a Canadian visa with him when he went to Finland.
  • Ushakov will not make a dime off of Malkin coming to the NHL, so it's in Ushakov's best interest for Malkin to remain with Metallurg. This point is especially important in light of the one year contract signed by Malkin, either with or without representation. I'm not sure that it would have helped even if his Russian agents were there, because they only way they get paid is if Malkin remains in Russia. That doesn't seem like representing the best interest of your client to me...

Malkin Watch... Day ?

Not much new - just articles collecting some quotes, and some new madness from Velichkin (he's so entertaining).

Here's the Trib article, by Karen Price.

Here's the Post-Gazette article, by Chuck Finder.

Let's lead off with some more quotes from the aforementioned Velichkin:
"How am I supposed to look for him? What, am I supposed to ask Interpol to look for him? Is it not clear that Evgeni left for America at the invitation of the people overseas? The Americans' arrogance is beyond any bounds. This is the theft of the century. They don't care that Malkin is Russia's national treasure.

"We must sue not only Pittsburgh but the entire National Hockey League and its whole arrogance. The NHL must receive a total condemnation from the entire sporting world. Let's get back to the question of the compensation. ... Money is not most important for us. The most important [aspect] for us is to get a precedent and win the case."

I'm going to miss that guy when this whole mess is settled. He's a special kind of crazy.

Not much in the way of other news, though here are a few notes:
  • Malkin is safe, in an undisclosed location. Presumably, he's waiting out the two weeks that are required by Russian law.
  • His new contract with Metallurg was signed at 3:00 AM. That led Sergei Gonchar to say "The player has reasons to do what he did." It's becoming clear that there certainly was some type of coercion applied to get him to sign the deal.
  • And, of course, for Metallurg, this isn't about the money. Right.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Quick Malkin update + Anson Carter?

According to Stan Savran (a local sportstalk personality), Evgeni Malkin is safe in Toronto with his agent, Pat Brisson. Of course, there is no confirmation of this yet. Fox Sports Pittsburgh just reported on their evening newscast that Malkin "is rumored to be in Toronto". Where there's smoke...

Also, according to the NHL Insider on TSN, the Penguins are possibly in the running for Anson Carter, if they have room in the budget. Carter is looking for approximately $5 million over two years.

Not much in the way of new Malkin developments

The local papers have articles today written by local writers. The Trib article says nothing new, so I'm not even linking to it. The PG article, however, has some info from Slava Malamud, a Russian journalist who was once Malkin's translator. Malamud indicates that Malkin is either in America, or in the process of obtaining a visa. He could be with the Penguins within two weeks. Of course, you have to take this with a grain of salt, as Slava may have no idea where Malkin actually is or what he is doing.

The article, by Robert Dvorchak (where's Shelly Anderson?), also says that Malkin's parents will have a difficult time because of this decision to desert - they'll likely forfeit the nice living arrangements they had.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

What does politics have to do with hockey?

There is a great article on the "close friends" of Pittsburgh Mayor O'Connor on the front page of the Post-Gazette this morning. What does that have to do with hockey? Just keep reading to the end for the kicker (or just go read the actual article - that will give it away too).

For those of you who haven't been following the saga of Mayor O'Connor, here is a brief synopsis:
  1. Mayor diagnosed with cancer, goes into hospital.
  2. Circle around mayor closes, allowing only close friends to see him while he's in the hospital.
  3. Under advisement from close friends (ie, cronies), mayor fires several aides that were seen as disloyal (the firings are done with the mayor on a conference call from his hospital bed). They were also more progressive, and not entrenched in the same political games that the other "close friends" were.
  4. With mayor still in hospital, several cronies, er, I mean, "close friends" show their influence.
That's where the article picks up, with demonstrations of the influence being wielded by four people in particular. None of these guys was elected or appointed to any official capacity, but they all have clout. How is that the case? Because it's typical Pittsburgh politics, if you ask me.

Anyway, the kicker I promised:

What do three of the four "close friends" have in common? They are all working for (or with) Forest City / Harrahs in an effort to bring their casino to Pittsburgh. It's no wonder Mayor O'Connor refused to endorse a plan. I'll also be shocked and amazed if anyone but Harrahs is awarded this casino license.

Read the article if you haven't done so yet. I know Mayor Murphy wasn't anyone's favorite, but he certainly didn't seem to engage in these kind of games.

More Malkin Madness - Velichkin weighs in

According to an ESPN article (via Reuters), Gennady Velichkin, the general director of Metallurg, has weighed in on the absence of Evgeni Malkin from the Metallurg training camp. Velichkin blames the Penguins, along with Malkin's North American agents and most of the cast of Sesame Street for Malkin's apparent defection. Okay, maybe I was kidding on that last one... Velichkin promised that his team would be seeking compensation through the court system. This is slightly curious to me for two reasons:
  1. Velichkin is assuming that Malkin is coming to North America. He's the only one that is stating that as a certainty, because as far as I know, no one is reporting on the whereabouts of Evgeni Malkin.
  2. All Malkin would have to do it tender notice again and he'd be free of the one year contract he signed last week.
Here are some of the choice quotes, straight from Velichkin:
"We're all in shock. The players, coaching staff are also very upset because for four days Malkin was training with the team and suddenly he is gone without saying a word to anyone."

"We've put so much effort, resources and money into Malkin's development as a player. He was our gold diamond, our prize possession. He had a contract with us, we were building the whole team around him and now he is gone"
and my personal favorite:
"They all like to talk about democracy, the American way and then they shamelessly steal our best players. This is pure sports terrorism"
Of course, instead of saying they want their player back, as he is the person they "were building the whole team around", he instead had this to say:
"But don't think we'll just sit there and do nothing. We'll go to court to get what we believe is proper compensation."

"In soccer, a fee for a player of Malkin's caliber would be into tens of millions of dollars. He is a franchise player and we won't be satisfied with anything less."

So, in a surprise to absolutely no one, the Russians have made it clear they really don't care about Malkin as a person. All they really care about is getting what they deem to be enough money for him.

Somehow I doubt this will end anytime soon.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

It seems to be official...

According to articles on both ESPN (via the AP) and TSN (via Reuters from a Russian news agency), Evgeni Malkin has indeed left training camp in Finland with his belongings and passport. The ESPN article speculates a bit more as to what is going on, but it seems clear (to me, at least) that the only reason to do this at all is that Evgeni wants to come to North America.

Evgeni Malkin... AWOL?

This is not really the most reputable source... but according to a Russian news source, via, Evgeni Malkin has disappeared from the Metallurg training camp in Finland. He left with his belongings and travel documents.

This could get really intersting in a hurry if it's true. The only real reason I can think of for leaving is to come to North America and play for the Pens. Of course, Metallurg will do everything they can to prevent that from happening, but all Evgeni has to do is tender his two week notice again and stay here in Pittsburgh.

Time to hurry up and wait!

UPDATE - Malkin would seem to be headed for Canada, and then to the US to meet with the Penguins, if the Russian news article is to be believed. Check out the thread at for more info.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Blackhawks sign Sebastien Caron

The Blackhwawks have signed SeaBass. He'll backup Khabibulin and Lalime, meaning he'll be playing in the AHL. That's probably worse than what he had going here in Pittsburgh, unless he's thinking that Khabibulin has a good chance of getting hurt.

I hope he does well. I always liked Caron. He wasn't the best goalie, but he seemed to play with heart.

Penguins sign Connor James

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed RW Connor James, formerly from the Kings organization.

James was drafted in 2002 and has played in the AHL for the past few years with some success. His main drawback, from what I can see, is that he is quite small - 5'10" and only 170 lbs. He made his NHL debut last year for two games with the Kings. I'd imagine he'll be one of those guys that gets a look in camp, but probably winds up filling out the roster in Wilkes-Barre.

Post-Gazette gets it's act together... sort of

So the Post-Gazette has three seperate hockey articles today. That's like a landslide. There's the one about the TV schedule, the one about Gary Bettman visiting Pittsburgh in the next month to view the proposed new areana location, and the national "notebook" which notes that the Penguins have signed Connor James.

Of course, being the Post-Gazette (especially lately), things are never quite as good as you might think:
  • The TV schedule article, written by Smizik, makes a point of saying that it's the first time that exhibition games have been televised, but then gets the date wrong for the second game.
  • The Bettman article isn't really news, but it contains a throwaway line that I think is bigger news - Dan Onorato has had several conversations with Sam Fingold about financing for the arena, but seeing as how Fingold has been trying to close the sale of the team, nothing has happened as of yet.
  • Finally, I'd hope that a Penguins signing could at least earn an article written by a local reporter, maybe with a quote or two from Ray Shero, even if James is likely ticketed for Wilkes-Barre. It's disappointing to have your home team covered by a national wire release - I can read that anywhere. I'd rather see local perspective that might not see the light of day elsewhere.
Anyway, enough PG bashing for today. The Trib fares only a little better, due to the fact that they wrote their own two paragraphs about Connor James. They don't have any news about Bettman's visit, however.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Media update

Now for some slightly less bizarre news - here are a few bits about the local media that cover the Pens:
  1. The Pens games on the radio this year will be on 105.9, instead of 94.5. This is a good move, as 94.5 is an oldies station, while the X (105.9) will reach a younger audience.
  2. The Trib is still kicking butt over the Post-Gazette lately. This can only be good for hockey coverage in Pittsburgh, as the Post-Gazette seems more intersted in the Cleveland Cavaliers than they are in the Pens sometimes.
  3. All 82 games will be televised this season, along with two preseason games. 71 will be on FSN, 7 on OLN and 4 on NBC. More good news!

Gonchar says Malkin to stay put in Russia

According to an article in the Trib (hat tip to Will, again), Sergei Gonchar has confirmed that Evgeni Malkin is staying in Russia this year. Here's the quote:
"He told me he's staying another year," Gonchar said by phone from his native Russia on Tuesday. "He said he has a reason to stay over. I don't know the reason, but he's staying now."
While there has been no official statement from the Penguins, this should end speculation as to whether Malkin can make it over here this season. Of course, you would have thought that speculation would have stopped several times already... and if for some reason a transfer agreement is signed, then look out.

The only game left to play now is the "why did Malkin sign a new contract" game. I'm putting my money on some pressure being exerted on the kid away from the hockey rink that might be... um... let's just say... slightly suspect.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Murky Mess of Malkin

Thanks to Will for pointing out the Trib article from this morning. He's right - it has a nice timeline. I think the important points are:
  • His current agents (Brisson and Barry) have confirmed that he did sign a new deal with Metallurg for one year, but that they did not broker the deal.
  • He "wants to play in the NHL" in words, but clearly his actions speak otherwise. I will say that the article seems to hint that he's staying there this year due to other interests he still holds in Magnitogorsk.
I'm thinking that the chances are bleak that we'll see him in Pittsburgh this year, but you never know. Will having the possibility dangling there keep Shero from going after a more established player, in case Malkin would show up? I'd think not, but who knows what is really happening at this point...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Evgeni Malkin to stay in Russia

According to this Reuters article (via ESPN), Evgeni Malkin will remain in Russia for one more season. He did void his contract with Metallurg, and according to the article, signed an entry level contract with the Penguins. However, he signed a new one year deal with Metallurg, which will make him a free agent in the late spring of 2007.

The details are still sketchy. I'm sure more will come to light about this once the story has been more defined.

This is highly disappointing for the team this season, but this could give one more chance to some of the younger players like an Eric Christensen. I could also see Ray Shero going out and signing a decent second line forward.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Pens sign Marc-Andre Fleury

The Penguins have signed Marc-Andre Fleury to a two year deal. The first year is for approx $990,000 and the second year for $1.6 million.

It's good to have Fleury under wraps for two years. That's also a nice raise they gave him for the 2007-2008 season. I think he'll be worth it.

So what do you think? Are the Pens done with their roster? They've signed all of their own players now, and while they'll probably move to fill out the Wilkes-Barre roster, do you think they'll add to the NHL squad? If so, where?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Malkin Update - "We've given the appropriate notice"

Read the articles in the Post-Gazette and Tribune Review. According to his agent, Malkin has tendered his two week notice that is required by Russian labor law to leave his current job. This would allow him to come to America and play for the Pens.

Don't expect this to go entirely smoothly, however. The Russian Super League GMs were apparently the reason the transfer agreement wasn't signed, and they'll likely kick up as much trouble as they can to try to keep Malkin, or force the Penguins (and / or NHL) to pay as much as possible to get him.

All in all, however, things just became much brighter in terms of Malkin being here for the opening of training camp.

On a side note, the Trib is kicking the stuffing out of the Post-Gazette lately. They have the quotes from Don Meehan (Malkin's agent) saying that Malkin turned in his two week notice. The Post-Gazette has quotes from Meehan, but nothing about that. What happened Post-Gazette?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Russians won't sign transfer agreement

See this article, from ESPN (via Reuters). The long and short of it is that the Russians, after having ratified the trade agreement (actually, their executive board ratified it), can't get their member clubs to sign off on it. This put Malkin's arrival this season in jeopardy, along with the potential to disallow Russian NHL players from playing in the world championships next May (when they're held in Russia).

It's not a good day for the Pens - they're going to have to find another route to get Malkin over here, and with a minimum of trouble.

Pens sign Libor Pivko, Alain Nasreddine

The Penguins have signed Libor Pivko, acquired from Nashville, to a one year contract.

They have also re-signed Alain Nasreddine, presumably to fill out the Wilkes-Barre roster.

I like Nasreddine, and I liked what I saw from him when he was in Pittsburgh last season briefly (six games), but I can't see him cracking the lineup.

Pivko is expected to battle for a roster spot. See my recent article on the forwards for a little bit more on Libor.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Moore! Pens avoid arbitration with Dominic Moore

The Pens have signed Dominic Moore to a two year contract today, avoiding his upcoming arbitration hearing. This serves as a nice early birthday present for Dominic, who will turn 26 on Thursday (August 3rd).

Moore, who is still young, is entering just his second full season in the NHL. He has lots of upside, and is already an accomplished penalty killer. He should be fun to watch.

Let's play the Roster Game with the forwards!

In Bob Grove's latest Q&A on the Pens website, he goes with the first iteration I've seen this year of the roster game. Bob projects the four forward lines to start the season to be:


He says that Pivko, Ryan Stone, Erik Christensen, Jonathan Filewich, Daniel Carcillo or Michel Ouellet could make some noise in camp and earn a spot as well.

I have to say, I agree with what he has there. I think Michel Therrien will find a spot for Michel Outllet, though I'm not sure who you'd drop from the roster to make that room. I know that dropping Andre Roy would be highly popular, but let's face it - if they were going to drop him, they would have bought out his contract. They seem to feel that he'll be a good part of the team.

Without Malkin (if he doesn't make it over here), then the second and fourth lines would look like this:


With "Someone" being pretty much anyone from that list, though I'd give the early lead to either Pivko, Christensen or Ouellet.

The biggest thing I see is a third line that will be highly capable of stirring up trouble and chipping in with some points off of the turnovers they create. This is something that I think was highly lacking last year. They'll bring some much needed toughness to the team, if the reputations of the indivdual players are to be believed.

I'm almost optimistic about these lines. The top 6 forwards are all capable of scoring 20-30 goals, which would lead to a very balanced attack, and the power play could still be quite good.

Anyway, it's still early to be talking about this quite so much. Lots of stuff will happen between now and Ocrober 5th. It's still fun to talk about.

Let's Go Pens!


In the continuing series of ? posts, there is no indication of the status of the transfer agreement between the NHL and the Russian folks. According to this article in the Post-Gazette, the Russians haven't indicated that they signed the agreement. This is somewhat troubling for the Pens, who desperately need to get Malkin over here. However, I don't think it's all bad news - the best quote of the article comes from Mr. Shero himself, who said:
"I'm not going out and getting a centericeman because I'm counting on having Malkin."
We are too, Ray.