Posts Tagged ‘pittsburgh penguins’

Put the phone down, rival general managers.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have no plans to deal top defenseman Kris Letang, sources told Josh Yohe of The Athletic.

Reports surfaced that the Penguins could consider moving the blue-liner in an effort to shake things up, with the club currently sitting three points outside of a playoff spot.

However, according to Yohe, it does not appear Letang will be used as the bargaining chip to improve the Penguins. The defenseman sits fourth in team scoring with 25 points in 37 games.

With the Feb. 26 trade deadline approaching, general manager Jim Rutherford has little time to fix a club that has won the last two Stanley Cups. Should the Penguins miss the postseason, they’ll be the first defending champions to do so since the Los Angeles Kings failed to qualify in 2015.

As for Letang, he was placed on injured reserve Thursday with a lower-body ailment. The injury-riddled blue-liner missed the entirety of the playoffs last season after he underwent neck surgery.

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Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford put in a busy day before the NHL’s roster freeze comes into effect, manufacturing a pair of trades.

The more notable of the two deals is the acquisition of defenseman Jamie Oleksiak for the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional 2019 fourth-round pick. Oleksiak’s played 21 games this season, averaging 15 minutes per night while contributing one goal and two assists.

Because Pittsburgh owns two fourth-rounders in 2019, the Stars will take the earlier of the two picks.

In their other move, the Pens nabbed goaltender Michael Leighton and a 2019 fourth-round pick for forward Josh Archibald, netminder Sean Maguire, and a sixth-round pick the same year.

Leighton, 36, has played seven games in the NHL since taking the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010.

LAS VEGAS (AP) Jon Merrill’s first goal of the season snapped a third-period tie, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 shots against his former team and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Thursday night.

It was the first meeting between the defending Stanley Cup champions and Vegas, which acquired Fleury from Pittsburgh during the NHL expansion draft on June 21.

Fleury was taken by Pittsburgh with the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft.

James Neal scored his 15th goal of the season for Vegas, while Ian Cole scored Pittsburgh’s goal.

The matchup between the Penguins and Fleury was arguably the most anticipated game against a former Penguin since Jaromir Jagr played against Pittsburgh on Dec. 11, 2001, for the first time after his trade to Washington.

After missing six straight games due to a lower-body injury, the Penguins activated goalie Matt Murray off injured reserve in time to face his mentor, Fleury.

Murray, who stopped 24 shots, had his personal regulation losing streak extend to four games, the longest of his career.

The Golden Knights became the fastest first-year team to 20 wins in NHL history.

Vegas wasted no time in giving Fleury an early lead, when Neal’s rebound off Colin Miller’s wrist shot found its way past Murray.

The Penguins tied it when Carl Hagelin found Cole, who beat Fleury top shelf from just behind the goal line for his second goal of the season.

Merrill’s one-timer put the Knights ahead with 11 minutes left in the game, slapping Erik Haula’s pass beneath Murray’s pad.

The Montreal Canadiens claimed goaltender Antti Niemi off waivers Tuesday, the team announced.

The Habs are Niemi’s third team of the 2017-18 campaign. He signed a one-year deal with the Penguins in the offseason, but was placed on waivers after just three games. He then had a two-game stint with the Panthers before being placed on waivers again.

His numbers this season aren’t pretty. He owns a record of 0-4-0 with a 6.74 goals-against average and an .822 save percentage.

The move is the result of injuries to both Carey Price and Al Montoya. With Charlie Lindgren shining in the Habs’ crease, though, it’s doubtful Niemi will see much time in the net.

If Niemi does appear in a game for the Canadiens, he’ll tie the NHL record for the most teams played for in one season by a goalie, per TSN’s Kevin Gibson.

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Marc-Andre Fleury would have been open to moving to Alberta.

The Vegas Golden Knights goalie was a potential trade candidate last season while still a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and admits he likely would have waived his no-trade clause if he had been presented with an opportunity to be dealt to the Calgary Flames.

“I think so,” Fleury disclosed recently in New York for league meetings, per Sportsnet’s Eric Francis. “I think Calgary is a great town and a great hockey team too. I think they’ll be very good again this year. But here I am.”

“Here” is Las Vegas after Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford ultimately decided to hang on to Fleury as insurance heading into the postseason. It turned out to be a prudent move, as the veteran played a huge role in relief of an injured Matt Murray en route to a 2017 Stanley Cup win.

Fleury was later exposed for the expansion draft, and was happily scooped up by hockey’s newest franchise. The Flames, meanwhile, acquired Mike Smith from the Arizona Coyotes to play in goal for them this season.

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Kris Letang is a star defenseman, but some tweaks to his game could make him a superstar.

The oft-injured Pittsburgh Penguins blue-liner is an elite puck mover, but his knack of running the risky play comes a little too often, says coach Mike Sullivan.

“We would like him to recognize those situations when he might have to use the glass and make a simple play and not put himself in vulnerable situations,” Sullivan told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s a courageous kid. He’s brave. That’s part of what makes him as good as he is. And there’s going to be opportunities where he’s going to have to take hits for us to make plays. We don’t want him to change that aspect of his game.”

In other words, sometimes it’s better for Letang to make the more calculated decision, to chip-and-chase, rather than making a sacrificial play. Minimizing his contact with opponents would be an added bonus as well, after Letang was limited to 41 games last season.

Neck surgery then sidelined Letang for the Penguins’ entire Stanley Cup run.

“We’re trying to help him recognize those situations,” Sullivan added. “I hope, with the amount of time he missed last year and watching the playoffs from the press box, spending some time with (coach) Sergei Gonchar in the press box, that it gives him a whole different vantage point as far as how he sees the game.

“I hope that experience serves him well. I think it will. We’ve talked about it, and we’ll continue to talk about it. Obviously we want to keep him on the ice as often as we can.”

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The Pittsburgh Penguins are far from done.

While team president David Morehouse was enjoying his day with the Stanley Cup – his third since assuming the position in 2007 – he affirmed his belief that the recent run of success is entirely sustainable.

“I actually think we can win a couple more Cups,” Morehouse told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We have the best owner in hockey, the best general manager, the best coach, and a bunch of the best players.”

Morehouse is referring to team owner Mario Lemieux, GM Jim Rutherford, and likely a group of players that include Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, and Matt Murray.

The Penguins, of course, have won the past two Stanley Cups, and will be aiming for a rare three-peat, something that hasn’t been achieved since the New York Islanders dynasty in the early 1980s.

“The goal would be to try and replicate what we’ve been able to do,” Morehouse added. “It’s the hardest trophy to win, but I’d like to give it a shot and try to win a few more.”