Exactly 10 years ago today, after the conclusion of the lockout and with a new season on the horizon, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the right to the first overall selection in the 2005 NHL draft via the draft lottery, a victory that has changed the franchise forever.
With major junior phenom Sidney Crosby as the consensus first overall pick, there wasn’t much for the Penguins to consider other than what color suits or ties they were going to wear on draft day.
But once Crosby was selected, the expectations were still at an all-time high. The club, which had struggled to a 23-47-8-4 record in 2003-04 and a league-worst 58 points, was expecting Crosby to deliver them the championship caliber teams of the early-1990s. Crosby has more than lived up to the hype.
Over his 10-year career, Crosby has notched 302 goals and 853 points in 627 games, but there are certain highlights that stand out more than others. Here are his 10 best moments as a Pittsburgh Penguin: Read more
Parity in the modern-day NHL creates such a delicate balance between teams that one year’s powerhouse is the next year’s dud, and vice versa. Just ask the Colorado Avalanche, who went from Central Division champs to out of the playoffs, or the Calgary Flames, who went from rebuilding team to round 2 of the post-season.
In all, 2014-15 swapped Calgary, Nashville, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Washington, the New York Islanders and Ottawa into the playoffs, with Colorado, Los Angeles, Dallas, San Jose, Boston, Columbus, and Philadelphia falling out. That’s seven new teams out of 16, or 43.75 percent.
With that crazy stat in mind, which 2014-15 post-season qualifiers might slide out in 2015-16? And which teams might take their places? I’ve chosen three candidates in each category.
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
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
What off-season? OK, so plenty of NHLers are vacationing in exotic places or healing their banged-up bodies at this time of year. But when goalies unveil new masks, it’s clear some guys are already thinking about next season.
Pittsburgh Penguins stopper Marc-Andre Fleury shows off his latest lid here:
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
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
Status: NHL defenseman from 1982-1993 for Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Chicago.
HT: 6-1 WT: 206 pounds
DOB: Jan 7, 1961 In: Wetaskiwin, Alberta Read more