Rumor Roundup: Penguins biggest moves could come in the off-season

Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The struggling Pittsburgh Penguins could be worth watching as the Feb. 29th trade deadline approaches. Currently sitting outside of playoff contention, management could attempt to swing a deal to bolster their chances.

Such a move, however, won’t improve their Stanley Cup aspirations. Indeed, their window of opportunity to win a championship with their current core of talent has closed. Sliding further out of playoff contention will increase calls for a roster rebuild, perhaps by shopping superstar centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, however, doubts either guy will be moved. He points out the club is currently up for sale, and dealing away Crosby or Malkin could affect its value. Friedman also believes it’s up to ownership, not management, to make that decision. Read more

Suspend him or not: Leo Komarov boards Kris Letang

Jared Clinton
Leo Komarov hits Kris Letang (via Streamable)

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has a history of head injuries and has missed games as recently as Sunday out of concern for his health, and he was forced to leave Wednesday’s game for a short time after taking a dangerous hit from behind from Maple Leafs winger Leo Komarov.

Letang was chasing a puck back into the Pittsburgh zone with less than five minutes remaining in the first period of Wednesday’s game after Toronto’s Nazem Kadri had shot wide of the net. As Letang went to play the puck, he stopped a few feet short of the boards behind the Pittsburgh net as Komarov approached from behind. As the puck reached Letang, he was shoved from behind and shoulder first into the boards by Komarov: Read more

Year in review: Top 10 trades of 2015

Brandon Saad (via Columbus Blue Jackets/Twitter)

Be it trade deadline deals or big off-season moves, 2015 wasn’t short on big names getting moved in the hockey world. Cap crunches and playoffs misses yielded the trades of core players, while some big name deals had the hockey world shocked at how quickly things can change.

Here are your top 10 trades of 2015: Read more

Advanced stats show Panthers, Penguins trending up, Capitals, Canucks trending down

Florida Panthers (Getty Images)

As the month winds down, it’s time to look at which teams have been hot (or not) going into the New Year. Most people would take that to mean who got the most points during December, but with the NHL’s new numbers movement we can dig a little deeper than that. What’s more interesting is which teams actively improved (or degraded) their game regardless of results and identifying which teams are trending in the right or wrong direction.

Most people generally use shot rates to measure the direction a team is going as they can be good indicators of a team’s true talent level. Shot rates fluctuate throughout the year and that movement is worth keeping an eye on. That’s what this trend report is all about because how a team is playing lately is usually a good indication of what’s to come in the future.

Here are three teams going in the right direction and three teams trending the other way: Read more

Sidney Crosby scores in return to Penguins lineup

Ian Denomme
Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Maybe all Sidney Crosby needed to break out of his 2015 slump was some time off. Crosby missed the Penguins game on Monday against the Blue Jackets due to a lower body injury.

He returned on Saturday night after the three-day holiday break and it appears the seven days in between games did him some good. Crosby looked like his old self against the Wild, scoring a goal early in the second period and adding an assist later in the period.

Read more

Tortorella calls out Malkin, Prout free from discipline after game between Jackets, Penguins

Jared Clinton
Boone Jenner hits Evgeni Malkin (via Streamable)

Who would have thought the 2013-14 first-round playoff series between the Blue Jackets and Penguins would result in one of the most heated rivalries in the league? And as if tempers between the two teams weren’t hot enough, Columbus coach John Tortorella may have thrown more fuel on the fire by calling out Pittsburgh star Evgeni Malkin.

In the second period of the Penguins’ 5-2 victory over the Blue Jackets, Columbus center Boone Jenner clipped Malkin with a knee-on-knee hit that sent him flipping to the ice and clutching his knee in pain. Following the hit Jenner dropped the gloves and fought Penguins winger Scott Wilson, and Jenner was given an additional two minutes for tripping: Read more

Patrick Lalime: The rookie goalie who wouldn’t lose

Jared Clinton
Patrick Lalime. (Glenn Cratty/Allsport)

It was his debut on the big stage. His first NHL appearance came when he took the ice in relief. In less than half a game’s work, he allowed three goals on 14 shots. If there was an NHL-ready starting goaltender under that equipment, it didn’t shine through right away.

Then, miraculously, the run began – a string of remarkable play that had the entire league wondering where exactly this kid came from. Over his next 16 games, he set an NHL record for the longest unbeaten streak to begin a career, going 14-0-2.

While it sounds like the story of 27-year-old Andrew Hammond, who stole headlines with the Ottawa Senators in 2014-15, it’s not. It’s the tale of 22-year-old Pittsburgh goaltender Patrick Lalime, who became one of the NHL’s great stories during the 1996-97 campaign, a season he recalls fondly.

Read more

Tough season gets worse for Crosby, day-to-day with lower-body injury

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

The Penguins’ season has gone much differently than most expected with Pittsburgh near the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, and the Penguins got some bad news Sunday as it appears superstar Sidney Crosby could be forced to miss a few games.

Crosby, 28, was absent from the team’s practice Sunday, and following the skate Penguins bench boss said that Crosby is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Sullivan didn’t go into more detail about the ailment, but it comes as a surprise as Crosby was third among all Penguins forwards in ice time in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Crosby’s outing included a shift of 1:38 to close the contest.

The Penguins don’t play Sunday, but they do have a contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday evening in Pittsburgh. If Crosby isn’t able to play, it will be the first game he’s missed in what has been a disappointing season thus far. Read more