Oft-injured Penguins hire sports scientist, massage therapist in hopes of staying healthy

Jared Clinton
Sidney Crosby  (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

No matter how much star talent the Pittsburgh Penguins have, it doesn’t help if those players are watching from the sideline. As such, the Penguins have hired a sports scientist and massage therapist in hopes of keeping players on the ice and out of the trainer’s room.

Earlier this week, Pittsburgh announced that they have named Andy O’Brien as the team’s director of sport Science and performance and brought on Andreas Hüppi as the club’s sports massage therapist.

“We are excited to add such highly-regarded specialists as Andy O’Brien and Andreas Hüppi to our staff,” GM Jim Rutherford said in a release. “We want to look at all aspects of how we train and prepare our players, how we can maximize performance and hopefully minimize injuries. We want to make sure they receive the best information available regarding training, nutrition, rehab and getting proper amounts of rest during a long season.” Read more

Rumor Roundup: Time up in Carolina for Eric Staal?

Eric Staal & Cam Ward (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

In recent weeks, there’s been little word regarding the status of Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward. Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts and are eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency.

Of the pair, Staal is the most important and expensive. The 30-year-old center is still considered their franchise player and earns an average cap hit of $8.25-million, though in real salary he’ll be drawing $9.5 million for 2015-16. ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside wonders what dollar figures will work best for both sides. If unable to reach an agreement, Burnside suggests GM Ron Francis could be forced to part with Staal.

Appearing on TSN’s That’s Hockey, Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press said he believes Staal has been in a funk for several years, largely because of the Hurricanes’ lack of talent. Lawless feels he needs to move on, believing the Hurricanes could get a top-line player, top prospect and a high pick in return. Read more

$850 million bid to buy Penguins could come by next week

Jared Clinton
Penguins fans file into the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

In November 2014, Forbes ranked the Pittsburgh Penguins as the 10th most valuable NHL franchise, worth roughly $565 million. It appears a group of investors believes the Penguins to be worth much, much more, however.

According to Patty Tascarella of the Pittsburgh Business Times, the Penguins will receive a bid to purchase the franchise sometime within the next week. The bid could carry a value of between $700 and $850 million, according to, “some who have done deals in the National Hockey League.”

If purchased at the high end of that bid, $850 million, it would make the Penguins the fourth-most valuable franchise in the NHL, according to the Forbes valuations, ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks. In the valuations, the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs were all estimated to be worth $1 billion or more. Read more

Super Mario 2? Lemieux’s son, Austin, close to making USHL squad

The Hockey News
Mario Lemieux (Bruce Bennett via Getty Images)

By Shelly Anderson

Ninth-round draft picks – any league, any level — often have a hard time making headway, but such a player for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL has taken a significant step.

Austin Lemieux has made Omaha’s 30-man protected list after being selected in the USHL Phase 2 draft in May, The Hockey News has learned.

If his name sounds familiar, it’s probably because he is the only son of Hall of Fame center and Pittsburgh Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux. Read more

U.S. Senator wants to see World Junior Championship in Pittsburgh, calls city “America’s hockey capital”

Penguins fans file into the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The World Junior Championship is heading to the United States in 2018, but the host city has yet to be determined. If U.S. Senator Bob Casey gets his wish, though, Pittsburgh will be home to the 2018 competition.

On Wednesday, Senator Casey released a statement publically urging the IIHF to bring the tournament to Pittsburgh and personally addressed a letter to IIHF president Rene Fasel with regards to Pittsburgh’s bid for the tournament. At present, five potential American host cities are known, including Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Glendale or Detroit. Casey offered his two cents on the potential of Pittsburgh as a host. Read more

Is Phil Kessel sad to be leaving Toronto?

Jared Clinton
Phil Kessel (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Five days ago, Phil Kessel became a Pittsburgh Penguin in a trade that brought Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington, Nick Spaling and a first-round selection back to the Toronto Maple Leafs. But even though it’s been nearly a week, it appears the trade still stings the 27-year-old Kessel.

According to poker star Daniel Negreanu, a Toronto native who has become friends with Kessel, being shipped out by the Maple Leafs was an emotional experience for the goal-scoring winger.

“I spoke to Kessel and he’s obviously sad because he really loves Toronto,” said Negreanu in an interview with PokerListings.com. “But I look at it as a great opportunity for him…He’s going to be able to play with (Sidney) Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin.” Read more