Monday, June 29, 2009

Penguins sign Guerin and Adams

Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins re-added two key components of their Stanley Cup run.

Bill Guerin was signed for one year at a cost of approximately $3 million.

Craig Adams was resigned for two years at $550,000 per season.

Adams is taking less money to stay with the Pens. Guerin is also likely giving the Pens a discount to stick around. He may have been able to earn more on the open market (like $3.5 - $4 million).

Maybe this marks the end of Mike Zigomanis? With Adams in the fold, you have to figure they won't keep Dupuis, Adams and Ziggo... This feels similar to last season when the Pens had 8 NHL defensemen heading into camp. If I can get Ziggo at a good price, I think I do it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Penguins draft D Viktor Ekbom

Viktor is the first Euro drafted by Ray Shero this year. He appears to be a typical stay at home kind of defensemen who is not over mobile.

Viktor will add some depth to the organization.

Penguins draft F Andy Bathgate

Another draftee with good bloodlines, Andy is the grandson of NHL great Andy Bathgate.

Andy played last season with Belleville in the OHL. He, by most accounts, was physically dominated by the older players in the OHL. He seems to have come on strong late in the season and could fill in to his frame as he gets older. He'll be a project that could have good upside if he can develop the physical aspects of his game, because he seems to have the offensive skills.

Penguins draft D Alex Velischek

It was another high-schooler with the 5th round pick. Alex is the son of former NHL player Randy Velischek.

He's a defensemen that has played some forward and has an good all-around game.

Alex will go to Providence in the fall.

Penguins draft F Nick Petersen

Nick played with Shawinigan in the QMJHL at the age of 20. He had a nice scoring year, leading his junior team in scoring while finishing second in goals. Generally, you would like to see the numbers a few years earlier.

He's going to be in Wilkes-Barre next season if he signs.

Penguins draft F Ben Hanowski

This is the most intriguing pick so far. Ben is the all time leading high school scorer in US history. He managed 110 points in 25 games this season (57 + 53).

The knock is that the competition wasn't very good. The good news is that he has played well against some better competition.

Ben is committed to St Cloud St. It will be interesting to see how he fares against better competition over a longer period of time.

Here's a video feature on Ben:

Penguins draft D Phil Samuelsson

Yes, he's the son of Ulf. Do you need to know any more?

Phil seems to be in the same mold as his famous father, but without the notorious nasty streak. Most accounts I've read said that he'll need some work, but he has the size and toughness that you cannot teach.

He's committed to Boston College.

Penguins draft D Simon Despres

The Pens first round draft pick fits the Ray Shero mold for NHL players in that he has size and speed.

He's 6'4" and skates well. He's not yet an offensive dynamo, but given that the Pens have a few of those already, Despres makes a nice addition to the organization. He's also not as physical as he could be, but that can come with time.

The Pens are a bit weak up front in the organization, but it looks like Despres was an excellent choice.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pronger to Philly

Tonight, the Flyers gave the Pens another reason not to like them with the acquisition of Chris Pronger.

Pronger is locked in for one season with a cap hit of $6.25 million (according to Cap Central).

The interesting thing is that the Flyers are running out of room under the cap, and they don't have a goalie yet (Biron and Nittymaki are both UFAs).

The Flyers shipped Lupul over to Anaheim (along with Sbisa). Lupul has a cap hit of $4.25 million and is signed through the 2012-13 season.

If they can manage the cap, the Flyers have their core locked up through at least 2010-11.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pens sign D Alex Goligoski to new deal

From the official website - the Pens have signed RFA Alex Goligoski to a three year contract.

This is a good move by Ray Shero to lock up Alex for three more seasons. This gives the team 5 NHL defensemen under contract (the others being Gonchar, Eaton, Orpik and Letang). Yes, I'm assuming Gogo will be in the NHL full time next season.

Now the question is, what do they do with the rest of the blue line UFAs?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Beard-A-Thon finale!

With the Cup victory by the Pens, the Beard-A-Thon will come to an end on Tuesday at 5:00 PM. This is the last photo you'll see of my beard.

We're still matching donations, and you can make one on my profile at the Beard-A-Thon site.

Friday, June 12, 2009

ESPN is confused

Game 7.

Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Bad box score.

Way to go, ESPN.

Penguins 2, Red Wings 1


Fleury rose to the challenge. The team played as a team. Sid got hurt and they still held on. I went looking to see if anyone logged more ice time since Sid was out - besides Geno and Jordan, the truth is that everyone did their part.

They won it as a team.

First period:

The Wings came out with a fire lit under their collective butts. They threw everything at the Pens early on, but couldn't beat Fleury. This was due to a combination of great team defense and good luck bounces.

As the first went on, the Pens were able to turn the tide and earn the momentum. They earned several good chances, but like the Red Wings, they weren't able to convert on them.

The Pens had one power play chance in the first, and while they had several excellent chances, they were unable to beat Osgood.

Second period:

Just one minute into the second period, Max Talbot changed things for the Pens. He took advantage of a (possible) missed icing call when Orpik dumped the puck in. Geno forced the turnover when the puck deflected off of his skates straight to Talbot. Max used the skates of the defense as a screen and beat Osgood going five-hole. 1-0 Pens!!!

Things turned bleak in a hurry. Sid was injured on a hit by Franzen that was amazingly not called interference. Just as we were all worried about how the Pens would win without Sid, Hal Gill took a penalty. The police had to increase security on the area bridges instantly.

Things weren't as bleak as they appeared, however. The Pens weathered the storm, and just two minutes later, things cleared up even more. Chris Kunitz won a battle on the boards when Stuart pinched. That sprung Talbot on a two-on-one (don't remember who it was with). Talbot picked the top corner over Osgood's shoulder, putting the Pens up 2-0!!!

The remainder of the second period was a fire drill. No joke. Get the puck out of the zone, change lines and start all over again.

Third period:

The Wings brought it all period long. The Pens spent too much time in their own zone. You had to think things would go wrong.

You'd be wrong.

Fleury had some help from his shot-blocking defense and the crossbar, but he made one more HUGE save with less than two seconds remaining on Lidstrom. Flower lunged to his left and sealed the cup victory for the Pens.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Penguins 4, Red Wings 2

The Pens won and I'm on vacation. What could be better?

No more posts for about a week.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Penguins 4, Red Wings 2

The Pens are now one win away from holding serve and going back to Detroit with all the momentum. It was a great win tonight, but let's put this one out of our minds as quickly as possible. Thursday is now the most important day.

The power play came through BIG TIME with two huge goals when the team needed them. Great job on that end of things.

One other thing - as soon as the game was over, Versus cut away from their postgame show to broadcast Sports Soup. What the #$#$%?? Who made that stupid decision? Good thing FSN was able to put a postgame show on the air. While we're blasting Versus, we have to thank them for saying NOTHING about Satan's penalty in the second. We didn't even know who was in the box or what they did. Can anyone show a replay any more? Can we stop hearing about the intermission report? Please?

First period:

Things started well when Talbot scored on a nice feed from Geno on the half-wall. Max wristed the puck past Osgood on the short side.

The Wings tied it up not long after when Zetterberg was left standing with nothing between him and Fleury after a fortuitous bounce. Henrik didn't need that much help and blasted the puck behind Fleury.

About four minutes later, the Wings were on the power play and committed pretty blatant interference to help keep the puck in the zone. Edzo made reference to it ("subtle interference") and the Wings cashed in later in the power play.

The Pens tied the score when Letang beat Osgood on the power play to the five hole. It was a weak goal for Osgood to allow, to be honest. There was almost no screen, and he had time to square up to Letang.

Second period:

Samuelsson hit the post.

Seriously - that's about all that happened for those 20 minutes.

The Pens only had 4 shots on goal and both teams were content to stay back and wait for the other team to make a mistake. Neither one did.

Third period:

The Pens came out in the third like their season depended on it.

Their effort paid off. They drew a penalty when the Wings were called for interference. Gonchar blasted the puck past Osgood to give the Pens the lead.

The Pens weathered two storms in the next few minutes. One was immediately after the goal and the other was a few minutes after that. Both times, Detroit was able to generate sustained pressure, and both times they were unable to score.

All of a sudden, the Pens were generating more good chances than they had all series so far. Sid and Kunitz had a 2-on-1 (Sid to the puck to Kunitz just a second too late to do much with it). Talbot hit the post and had another chance alone in front of Osgood.

Talbot earned redemption for his missed chances by putting the puck into the empty net after the Wings pulled Osgood. It made me a bit nervous when they played Mike Lange's clip about Elvis has just left the building because there was almost a minute left... but the Wings didn't pull Osgood again.