Catching up with Crosby: Sid on speed, summer camp and the chance to repeat

Ryan Kennedy
Sidney Crosby with Stanley Cup No. 2  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

For the second time in his career, Sidney Crosby hoisted the Stanley Cup this year. He also won his first Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP with the Penguins. Pretty good, considering his campaign started with an uncharacteristic offensive slump. But once Mike Sullivan replaced Mike Johnston as coach, Sid and the boys went into overdrive and blazed their way to the Cup, shaking off formidable teams along the way.

So how does a champion spend his summer? I caught up with Crosby to find out.

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Phil Kessel brings Stanley Cup to Toronto, visits SickKids hospital

Jared Clinton
Phil Kessel poses with a patient at SickKids in Toronto (via The Hospital for Sick Children/YouTube)

Phil Kessel did what Maple Leafs fans had always hoped he would: he brought the Stanley Cup to Toronto. The only difference is he did so as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins rather than as one of the cities beloved Maple Leafs.

But even the biggest Maple Leafs supporter would have a hard time faulting Kessel, 28, for his Stanley Cup plans. On Monday, Kessel had his day with the trophy, and he brought the Stanley Cup to Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children for a private event for patients and their families. Read more

Canucks want to add ‘proven scorer’ — who could fit the bill?

Scott Hartnell (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Vancouver Canucks made some off-season moves in hopes of increasing their scoring this coming campaign, adding Loui Eriksson to potentially play alongside the Sedin twins and locking up youngsters Markus Granlund, Sven Baertschi and Emerson Etem.

And while the Eriksson signing all but guarantees the Canucks another 20-goal player for the 2016-17 season, there are still some questions about the young contingent of players.

Baertschi, 23, looked to finally hit his stride with a 15-goal campaign and he could have a 20-goal season in him if he catches fire or finds chemistry with his linemates. However, Canucks GM Jim Benning doesn’t seem too keen on simply gambling that Baertschi’s scoring ability will continue to increase. For that reason, he wants to add another scorer.

“We’d like to add a proven scorer who brings some grit to take the pressure off Sven, so he can keep developing at his own pace,” Benning told the Vancouver Sun’s Ben Kuzma. “He took a big step last year and wants to prove to people that he has more to give. But I don’t know where he’s going to end up (next season). At some point, that (second line) is where he’s going to be, but maybe he plays on the third line with the capability of playing on the power play and potentially scoring 15 to 20 goals for us.” Read more

First Penguins GM, former AHL president Jack Riley passes away at 97

Jared Clinton
Jack Riley (via Jack Frank Productions/YouTube)

The Pittsburgh Penguins will celebrate the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup in 2016-17, but there will be some heavy hearts as the original architect of Penguins hockey won’t be around to enjoy it.

Jack Riley, who was the Penguins’ first GM and spent a total of five years in the post over two runs as GM, passed away Wednesday at 97. Riley was a member of the Penguins Hall of Fame, alumni association and, in a release, the Penguins said Riley continued to attend home games on a regular basis until only a few years ago.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Jack Riley,” the Penguins said in a statement. “Jack served as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first general manager in 1967 and played an important trailblazing role in the club’s history. He occupied a regular seat in the press box until just a few years ago, was a proud and beloved member of the Penguins alumni association and is fondly remembered by former players, coaches, scouts, office staff, arena workers and fans.” Read more

Justin Schultz’s one-year deal means Pittsburgh will have to get creative with the cap

Jared Clinton
Justin Schultz (Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins made sure yet another piece of their Stanley Cup winning roster will be in tact for the 2016-17 title defense, signing Justin Schultz to a one-year, $1.4-million deal Wednesday.

Locking Schultz up to such a team-friendly deal is a great move for the Penguins, who bring back a once-highly touted rearguard who has seen his stock drop a bit. Schultz came into the league with great promise, but his deficiencies defensively couldn’t be overshadowed by his offensive skill. Still, he found a fit with the Penguins after being dealt by the Edmonton Oilers at the trade deadline, scoring one goal and eight points in 18 games with Pittsburgh before adding four helpers in 15 post-season games.

Schutlz’s signing was a tricky one for the Penguins, and it didn’t come without Schultz taking a significant haircut. He earned $3.9 million on a one-year deal in 2015-16, which was the second-straight season he earned $3.5 million-plus, but took the cut in pay to have the chance to play on a proven team and, hopefully, improve his stock before he hits the open market once again at the deal’s culmination.

However, with Schultz back, the once favorable spot the Penguins were in when it came to the salary cap has become a little less so. Getting Schultz under contract — and at such a cut-rate — is all well and good, but it may come at the expense of another roster player. Read more

Report: Pens’ Kessel undergoes surgery on hand

Dhiren Mahiban
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Phil Kessel had an impressive playoff run scoring 10 goals and 12 assists in 24 postseason games helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup.

The 28-year-old’s 22 points worked him into the Conn Smythe Trophy conversation. What’s more impressive is he accomplished it all while playing through a hand injury suffered during the Pens’ first round, five-game, series against the New York Rangers.

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Trevor Daley’s mom passed away a week after seeing her son lift the Stanley Cup

Ian Denomme
Trevor Daley. (Getty Images)

One of the most emotional moments of the Stanley Cup final was watching Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby making the first pass of the Cup to defenseman Trevor Daley.

Daley was injured in the conference final and did not play in the Cup final, but Crosby shared the story that Daley’s mother was battling cancer and wanted to see her son lift the Stanley Cup. He did just that, taking the Cup for a skate for the first time in his 12-year career after the Penguins defeated the Sharks.

Daley’s mother, Trudy, passed away a little over a week later, on June 21, at 51.

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Rumor Roundup: All eyes on Steven Stamkos as free agency approaches

Steven Stamkos  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the 2016 NHL draft now history, here’s a look at some notable speculation that emerged from the weekend.

All eyes are firmly upon the Tampa Bay Lightning and their contract talks with pending unrestricted free agent center Steven Stamkos. Since Friday evening, he and his fellow UFAs can speak to rival clubs.

It’s believed Lightning GM Steve Yzerman pitched an eight-year offer to Stamkos worth $8.5 million annually. If Stamkos feels he can do better on the open market, he won’t lack for suitors.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Yzerman said he’ll keep all options open regarding Stamkos. He didn’t rule out the possibility of a sign-and-trade.

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