The Pittsburgh Penguins have had a bizarre start to their season. Thought to be one of the most stacked teams in the East, Pittsburgh finds itself 10 points back of the Metropolitan Division lead and dealing with bizarre off-ice issues. First, it was Evgeni Malkin telling reporters the team was “mad at each other,” and now a report has surfaced that there’s a “big falling out” between Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby.
According to SiriusXM’s Matthew Barnaby, who played with Lemieux in Pittsburgh during the 2001-02 season, there is a potential rift growing between Crosby and Lemieux.
“The more I looked into it, the more I found out people with the same sentiments: that there’s a big falling out between Mario and Crosby,” Barnaby said. “Whether that pushes that to move (Crosby) at some point, whether he wants to move, that I don’t know.” Read more
Monday night’s NHL games marked the official passing of the first quarter of the season and like Nathan MacKinnon, time flies, doesn’t it? It seems like just yesterday we were waiting for the league to rubber stamp the Las Vegas expansion application and allow Bill Foley into the annual owners’ croquet game. We’re still waiting on that and, if Jeremy Jacobs’ comments have any merit – and they do – we’ll be waiting a lot longer.
Off the ice, that was one of the big surprises of the season so far. Between the boards, here are some of the others that have surfaced after the first quarter:
Sometimes, no matter what a star does, the pucks just don’t go in and the assists aren’t piling up. It could be the fault of pucks off of posts, a few bad bounces or simply a string of bad luck.
For five star players, the 2015-16 campaign has been especially unkind. And while players such as Patrick Kane and Tyler Seguin can seem to do no wrong, there are those who can’t seem to catch a break. Here are five star players stuck in a slump who look ready to break out: Read more
Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maatta will miss between 3-4 weeks after he suffered what the Penguins are calling an upper-body injury following a violent collision with the boards Tuesday night.
The injury, which was gruesome to watch, came when Maatta slammed hard into an opening door on the Minnesota bench after he was given a shove by Wild winger Nino Niederreiter. The impact left Maatta down on the bench wincing in pain and he had to be helped down the Wild’s tunnel by the training staff of the Penguins. After making his way back to the dressing room, Maatta was reportedly taken to the hospital on a stretcher.
Maatta, 21, remained in hospital Tuesday night and for much of the morning Wednesday, but was released shortly before noon when his 3-4 week timeline for return was announced by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford. Read more
If there has ever been a regular season contest where all eyes were on Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Tuesday night’s matchup with the Minnesota Wild may have been it.
Saturday, after the Penguins dropped their second in a row and third in four games, Malkin told media that the team doesn’t play right and doesn’t play hard before adding, “We’re mad at each other.” Malkin has since clarified his comments saying he misspoke and instead meant the team wasn’t happy with how they were playing.
How did Malkin respond in his first game since his comments Saturday? He drew the primary assist on the Penguins’ first goal of the night, then picked up the primary helper on Beau Bennett’s power play tally before Malkin scored one of his own eight minutes into the second frame. But he capped his night with a remarkable game-winning goal: Read more
Didn’t last season give Olli Maatta a career’s worth of bad luck already? The talented young Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman, 21, dealt with cancer, a case of the mumps and a shoulder injury that required season-ending surgery.
The Pens eased Maatta back into this season, playing him only 16:46 a night in his first 17 games, but at least he was healthy. He chipped in a pair of goals and four points, too.
Then came this unfortunate accident Tuesday night, in which, after a shove from Minnesota’s Nino Niederreiter, Maatta fell into the Consol Energy Center boards just as Wild backup goalie Darcy Kuemper opened the bench door.
When Pittsburgh acquired Phil Kessel in the summer much of the conversation surrounding the Penguins was about how unstoppable their offence would be this season.
With Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kessel playing amongst Pittsburgh’s top-six, goal scoring wasn’t expected to be an issue.
However, through the first 17 games of the season the Penguins have averaged just 2.06 goals per game – good for 27th overall. Only the Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers and Anaheim Ducks are worse.
By Malcolm Campbell
Like many hockey fans you are probably thinking the New York Rangers are the team to beat in the Metropolitan Division this year. And after watching Henrik Lundqvist blank the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, it’s hard to believe otherwise. King Henrik has indeed looked like royalty this season, and his backup, Antti Raanta, has put up even better numbers. The problem for both of them is their ridiculously high caliber play is the only thing standing between the Rangers and a drop in the standings.
The story told by advanced statistics is that the Metro division is due for a shakeup. The three teams atop the table right now are separated by four points in a battle of the NHL’s second-most competitive group. The Rangers are riding a six-game winning streak heading into Thursday and have only lost twice in regulation this year. Right behind them are the Washington Capitals, with two more regulation losses than the division leaders, and rounding out the top three are the Pittsburgh Penguins, also four points back. While Pittsburgh doesn’t seem to be on the same level, the season is young, and it seems the Rangers are due for a regression. The only problem for the Penguins though, Washington isn’t.