Posts Tagged ‘pittsburgh penguins’

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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.”

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The Pittsburgh Penguins are actively looking for someone to play behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

With Jay McClement – a training camp invite – and Carter Rowney as the most viable options on the depth chart below the superstar pair, general manager Jim Rutherford remains involved in trade talks for a third-line center, according to Jason Mackey of the Post-Gazette.

He won’t, however, rush to make a move.

“We’ll continue to work on it,” Rutherford said. “There’s a few options there. We’ll see what happens here in the next little while. But, again, it’s what I said all along. If there’s somebody that we feel fits what we’re looking for, we’ll do it. If not, we’re going to wait until that time comes.”

The Penguins have holes to fill at the position thanks to the departures of Matt Cullen (Minnesota) and Nick Bonino (Nashville) in free agency.

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The Pittsburgh Penguins inked forward Conor Sheary to a three-year, $9-million contract, the team announced Sunday.

Sheary finished the regular season tied for third on the Penguins with 23 goals and ranked fourth with 53 points despite being limited to 61 games.

The 25-year-old clicked with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel on Pittsburgh’s top line, helping the Penguins win their second consecutive Stanley Cup championship in his second NHL campaign.

“There was a three or four-week period there (when) Sid and Jake and Conor were really special,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “They were really good together.”

Sheary was a restricted free agent who had a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.

The Penguins now have $3.28 million in remaining cap space, according to CapFriendly.

Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Murray

Following his second straight Stanley Cup-winning season, Matt Murray has earned the right to be called the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ starting goalie.

However, that doesn’t mean he fails to recognize the positive impact that former No. 1 Marc-Andre Fleury had on his career during their two seasons playing together.

“I’m forever grateful to everything that Marc has ever done for me. It’s sad to see him go,” Murray said Tuesday, according to Leith Dunick of SooToday.com.

“Honestly even though we competed for playing time and were competitors in that regard, we’re all part of the same team and we’re all out there for one thing, that’s to win. Having ‘Flower’ definitely gave us a good chance to win. His presence on and off the ice, he’s a guy that’s going to be missed on and off the ice.”

Murray’s former mentor leaves Pittsburgh after spending his entire career with the Penguins. Over the past 13 seasons, “Flower” has registered a 375-216-68 record to go along with a 2.58 goals-against average, .912 save percentage, and three Cups.

With two rings already under his belt at 23 years of age, Murray is well on his way to eclipsing Fleury’s legacy in Pittsburgh. With that being said, the young netminder knows that next year will be an entirely different challenge.

“This year it’s a little bit different. We lost some key pieces and we’re going to have a new look going into this season,” said Murray. “But I think we’ve added some key pieces as well and I think we’re in really good shape. Of course it’s going to be difficult, but I think if there’s a team that can do it, we can do it.”

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Phil Kessel knows a thing or two about what it’s like to play in the intense hockey market that is Toronto.

So when the former Maple Leaf and current Penguin returned to the Big Smoke for his offseason workouts with fellow Leaf alum Gary Roberts, Kessel was quick to offer advice to a much-improved Toronto club that will face much higher expectations next season.

“It’s always tougher the second year. There’s a little more pressure,” Kessel told TSN.ca this week. “They got good players there and you never know what happens, but, tough league …

“Every year is different. You never know who’s going to make the playoffs – even the best teams might miss the playoffs.”

The Maple Leafs experienced a complete 180 over the past two seasons. After finishing dead last in 2016, they made the playoffs a year later and took the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Washington Capitals to six games – five of which were decided by sudden-death overtime.

With success comes the pressure to sustain it. Maple Leafs fans are aware of their talented young squad’s potential, and expectations in Toronto are higher than they’ve been since Doug Gilmour rocked the “C.” But opposing NHL clubs have taken notice too.