The Big Breakdown- Offensive Line

August 12, 2010 - Leave a Response

In honor of Camp Tomlin 2010, I will be doing a position by position breakdown of the 2010-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers.

I will address three factors: An introduction, the depth chart, and then any battles for spots going on within that position.

Today is part 2, where we will be turning to:

Offensive Line

Ah yes, the O-Line. The ever-criticized, much chastised unit. The Steelers had an interesting offseason in regards to the offensive line.

They lost maybe their best lineman, Willie Colon, while drafting a guy who some referred to as the most sure-thing in the draft. They also signed free agent Flozell Adams to take Colon’s place.

Pouncey, the Center from Florida, will most likely see time at Right Guard, where he will battle Trai Essex.

Since it is a bit difficult to build a true depth chart with this group of linemen due to all of the shifting that is going on, I will just give you what I think will be the starting offensive line for Week 1.

Depth Chart

LT- Max Starks

Starks is a big guy. He does a decent job, but nothing spectacular. There’s not much to say about O-Linemen.

LG- Chris Kemoeatu

He’s on the left……….
Kemoeatu has been around for a while now at Left Guard. However, will his party habits with rappers hinder his abilities? Kidding.
C- Justin Hartwig
Cool looking dude. Got called for holding in the Super Bowl, in the end zone. For a safety.
RG- Maurkice Pouncey
Guy was completely dominant at Florida. He played Center but will have to make a switch to Right Guard most likely to start his career. Eventually he will play Center and hopefully join Mike Webster, Dermontti Dawson and Jeff Hartings as a legendary Center in Steelers history.
RT- Flozell Adams
He has been to five Pro Bowls but was a disappointment last year for the Cowboys. Commits a bunch of pre-snap penalties but is gigantic and hopefully wants to prove something to the Cowgirls.
The backups:
Doug Legursky, Trai Essex, Adrian Jones, Kraig Urbik, Ramon Foster, Tony Hills and Jonathan Scott.
The Battle
Left Tackle, Left Guard, Center (Kind of), and Right Tackle seem set.
Right Guard is a competition between Pouncey and Essex. I believe that Pouncey will win out and then make the move to Center in coming years. Most likely, the Steelers will look at Right Guard in the Draft next season and solidify a decent offensive line going into the future.
But, for now it appears to be Pouncey vs. Essex for Right Guard.
Left Tackle, Right Guard

The Big Breakdown- WIDE RECEIVER and TIGHT END

August 3, 2010 - Leave a Response

In honor of the start of Camp Tomlin 2010, I will be doing a position by position breakdown of the 2010-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers.

I will address three factors: An introduction, the depth chart, and then any battles for spots going on within that position.

Today is part 2, where we will be turning to:

Wide Receiver and Tight End

Another position that was hit hard in the offseason. With the departure of Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes and the loss of Limas Sweed to a season-ending injury, the Steelers were left in a bit of a bind. They signed former Steeler Antwaan Randle El, Arnaz Battle and drafted Emmanuel Sanders with their third pick in the NFL Draft.

The Steelers have a problem at receiver. They have no receiver that will get playing time over 6’0″ tall. If the Steelers don’t run the ball well around the goal line, scoring could become a huge problem.

On the plus-side, the Steelers saw the emergence of Mike Wallace last season, who enabled the offense to stretch the field and open up some more options for Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers are pretty solid at Tight End with Heath Miller leading the way. Miller has become one of the best all-around tight ends in football and is a great bail-out option for Roethlisberger.

David Johnson, Sean McHugh and Matt Spaeth fill out the rest of the field. A respectable group.

Time for the

Depth Chart- Receivers

1. Hines Ward

Hines Ward has been a consistent performer for years. He’s going to be a Steeler for life and still has a lot left in the tank. He had a very productive season a year ago and will have to perform just as well this year with the absence of Santonio Holmes. If Hines can stay healthy and continue to play through the nagging injuries that have plagued him the last couple of years, he should be able to continue to be the most physical receiver in football.

2. Mike Wallace

Last season, Mike Wallace came out of nowhere to be the Steelers solid third receiver. His unbelievable speed enabled the Steelers to stretch the field and open up the offense. His big-play ability was a perfect replacement for the departed Nate Washington and could be a replacement for Santonio Holmes. He is going to be thrown into the first or second receiver spot and will see his playing time enhanced greatly this year. Some could argue that he is one the most important players this coming season.

3. Antwaan Randle El

Randle El is back and ready to step in as the third receiver. He has been stuck in Washington with a stagnant Redskins offense the last couple of seasons and should provide a nice option for the Steelers to get back to some trickery that was so crucial in the Super Bowl XL run. While El won’t be putting up huge numbers, he still has some game left in him and can be a playmaker. The thought of he and Hines Ward, mixed with the possibility of Dennis Dixon running a Wildcat-esque offense this season could cause some headaches for Steelers opponents.

4. Emmanuel Sanders

Well, he can kind of freestyle. Geeze. He’s a speedy, smaller receiver. He was a bit of an unknown coming in, after being selected with the third pick in the NFL Draft. This rookie from Southern Methodist could see a role similar to what Mike Wallace went through last season. If a receiver goes down with injury or fails to perform, he could have a big part in the Steelers offense.

4. Arnaz Battle

5. Antonio Brown

Battle is mud. I’ve never been to impressed with him. His best season was in 2006 and last year he had five receptions in 15 games. Brown is a rookie from Central Michigan. Honestly, I don’t know much of him because he went to Central Michigan. I do know that he returned kicks in college and could find a spot on special teams if Battle doesn’t show up.

The Battle

Nothing too huge. The depth chart seems about set. Ward is the #1, Wallace is the #2. Randle El is the #3 and Sanders is the #4. Expect those guys to be the four receivers in the lineup Sundays. If Sanders does well, he could push Randle El for the third spot, but El’s experience should win out this season. If the Steelers decide to go with a 5-receiver lineup, I expect them to go with Battle initially. He shouldn’t be much of a factor though in the offense and will compete weekly with Brown for the nod as #5.

……………………

Depth Chart- Tight End

1. Heath Miller

Miller is never going to be a Dallas Clark or Antonio Gates. He isn’t going to lead the team in receptions but could be third in receptions. He isn’t the most dominating run blocker, but he is going to do a solid job. He’s just a nice tight end that has, in my opinion, become one of the most underrated players in the League.

2. Matt Spaeth

3. David Johnson

4. Sean McHugh

Yeah, backup Tight Ends. You want a picture or Youtube video of them? Johnson saw some time at Full Back, so had McHugh. There was a report the other night that McHugh is out for the season on NFL Network, but I haven’t heard anything since. All three of these guys are just as good as the other, with Spaeth probably having the edge in the group. One of these tight ends though will not be dressing on Sundays, that’s for sure.

The Battle

The true battle.

“Dey rapin’ errbody out herrrre.”

The Big Breakdown- RUNNING BACK

August 2, 2010 - Leave a Response

In honor of the start of Camp Tomlin 2010, I will be doing a position by position breakdown of the 2010-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers.

I will address three factors: An introduction, the depth chart, and then any battles for spots going on within that position.

Today is part 2, where we will be turning to:

Running Back

This past offseason, amongst all the mayhem, an overlooked story was the departure of veteran back Willie Parker.

Parker, who saw his role almost disappear last season with the emergence of Rashard Mendenhall. Now, the running game is in the hands of Mendenhall.

The Steelers can’t afford to have Mendenhall injured. The backup situation isn’t necessarily awful, but it isn’t great either.

Let’s dive in:

Depth Chart

1. Rashard Mendenhall

Mendenhall made nice strides last year. His second season in the NFL was more like his rookie season, considering he missed nearly all of the 2008 season due to a broken shoulder. Mendenhall was a bit inconsistent though, putting up 150 yards in one game and then 30 in the next. He especially needs to run better against teams in the division. He is the clear-cut number one though, that’s a lock.

2. Mewelde Moore

Moore has been a complementary backup and has, at times, been a suitable starter for of games. He can step in and is a decent receiving back as well. However, let’s just hope that Bruce Arians doesn’t decide to pitch the ball to him on a 3rd and 5 in overtime this season… again.

3. Jonathan Dwyer

He’s a rookie. He was a late pick in the draft. He’s physical and comes from a Georgia Tech system that features the Wishbone offense. Many scouts had Dwyer as a top 5 back, but he didn’t have a great combine and tested positive for amphetamines. However, he took the drugs in order to combat his A.D.D. and is still going to have a big role in the Steelers offense this season.

4. Isaac Redman

5. Frank “The Tank” Summers

Redman was solid in the preseason, but was moved to the practice squad for the regular season. He has a much better shot at making the team this time around and, if the Steelers use Summers at FB, he may be able to make the permanent roster as the fourth running back. Summers had a lot of hype coming in and didn’t live up to it last season. He was tested at FB but was just too small. He’ll get another shot this season, but may have to fight for the last back spot with Redman.

The Battle

Not much of one here. The battle for the fourth RB spot seems to be up in the air. Mendenhall and Moore are the 1-2. Moore could get time on 3rd downs when a reception is needed. Dwyer could get a look in short yardage when Mendenhall needs a rest a la Gary Russell two years ago.

The Big Breakdown- QUARTERBACK

August 1, 2010 - Leave a Response

It’s here. Camp Tomlin 2010.

In honor of the start of Camp Tomlin 2010, I will be doing a position by position breakdown of the 2010-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers.

I will address three factors: An introduction, the depth chart, and then any battles for spots going on within that position.

The most logical place to start is the position that has more questions than the rest:

Quarterback

***Sidetrack***

Everyone knows what happened this offseason. Ben Roethlisberger was suspended 4-6 games for not breaking any law and never being convicted or even charged with a crime. However, players such as Chris Simms (caught driving while under the influence of drugs), Cedric Benson (arrested for punching a bartender in the face), Michael Vick (who is already on the shortest of leashes, hosted a party at which a shooting occurred) and Vince Young (who was caught on tape attacking a man in a night club) were suspended for a total of 0 games this coming season.

But hey, who am I to say that the laws established by the most powerful government in the world and the judicial system of that government are not as important as the power of one man to decide the fate of athletes who have broken some sort of undefined “code of conduct.”

So, being arrested for assault, having video evidence of an assault, driving a car after using narcotics (see: Dante Stallworth killing a human being while under the influence of alcohol… Is that not enough of an incentive to suspend players for driving impaired?) and, after being in jail for admitting to running a dog fighting circle and brutally killing animals, having numerous other violations against your name and then hosting a party in which a shooting occurs are not “violations of conduct” according to this man in charge.

I used to respect this “man,” for taking a larger stance against the behavior of players. However, when you try to make an example of a player by throwing a harsh punishment at him and then, when players actually commit crimes after you hand down that punishment, you do not give them similar disciplines, I lose a lot of respect for you and your organization. It’s a joke.

But back to the breakdown of the Quarterbacks, right?

Obviously the situation at Quarterback is going to be a bit tricky. With Roethlisberger out for the first four to six games, the Steelers need a solid backup plan.. or do they?

According to coaches and players alike, there is really no set plan for who gets what snaps, who runs what string of the offense and who is the, without question, number one Quarterback when the regular season starts.

Let’s take a look at the Depth Chart:

1. Ben Roethlisberger

Despite all of the off-the-field issues, Roethlisberger is a proven Quarterback. He is one of the maybe five or six elite QB’s in the NFL. He knows how to win better than most others. His absence from the team at the start of the season is nothing but a bad thing.

2. Byron Leftwich

Who knows? Byron could be good, he could not… He played well a couple of seasons ago when Roethlisberger went down with injures, but struggled last year in Tampa Bay with the Bucs. If we get the Leftwich that filled in before, we may be ok. If not… it could get ugly. Fast.

3. Dennis Dixon

D-Squared played well at Baltimore last season. However, he made a crucial mistake in Overtime that ended up deciding the game. He is a good athlete and has made a tremendous leap since he came in the League. But, is one game enough to justify giving him the reigns of the Steelers’ offense?

4. Charlie Batch

Unfortunately, Batch will most likely be the guy left out of the Quarterback dilemma. He has played pretty well in relief appearances, but his ability to lead the way through four to six games at this point in his career seems to be a bit of a fairy tale. Batch has meant so much to the community and his hometown here, but his time to compete at least for a backup role has come and gone. Once Roethlisberger is back, it is probably the last we will see of Chuckie.

The Battle

The battle is obvious: who will be the starter for the first four games?

It seems to be a two-man race with Leftwich and Dixon. Batch is well on the outside looking in and, unless there are some injuries, will not be starting.

So, who will fill the role while Roethlisberger is gone?


Coming soon…

July 18, 2010 - Leave a Response

Big news on the IGS front.

Coming soon… I will be making a weekly podcast.

It’s my goal that the four people that read this blog can now listen to me as well.

My promises: No BS. It’ll be a low budget/no budget podcast. There may be video at some point, but until then, just audio.

Can’t wait.

The open has been completed.. Hoping to get it on Youtube tomorrow.

Good times.

Super Burgh?

July 16, 2010 - Leave a Response

Reports have been flowing about the possibilities of the Pittsburgh Steelers making a bid to host a Super Bowl at Heinz Field.

(Picture taken by yours truly)

With the awarding of the Super Bowl in 2014 to New York/New Jersey, the NFL has opened up the pandora’s box, if you will, of Super Bowl host cities.

As a Pittsburgher and football fan, I would love to see this happen.

It would be phenomenal for the City and the North Shore and Western Pennsylvania in general.

Plus, who else deserves a Super Bowl more than the franchise that has won more than anyone else?

The Pro’s:

– It can be argued that no team, and more specifically no ownership, deserves this more than the Steelers and then Rooney family. They have been one of the most influential sports families in the history of professional athletics.

– It would be great for the City of Pittsburgh, a city that went through so many good times, then so many bad times and had since built itself into the most livable city in America.

The Con’s:

Weather. Think about the last few years and what the weather has been like here in Pittsburgh on Super Sunday. Last year we had 23 inches of snow. Sure, they are playing the game in New Jersey where the weather is pretty similar to Pittsburgh. However, Giants Stadium will have an artificial field turf. Heinz Field will not.

– Stadium size. Currently, Heinz Field is the sixth-smallest stadium in the NFL. Remarkable, considering the size of the fanbase and waiting list. At 65,050, the Steelers would need to get about 5,000 more seats in there for it to be possible. There is room for some expansion (additional seating in south of stadium), but it would change the feel of the stadium if it was done permanently. It could happen, but are the Steelers willing to alter the stadium for one event?

Personally, I think a bid should be made. That’s just my opinion though. The reasoning for the Steelers to not do it is very valid. There are many difficulties in hosting an event of that magnitude in Pittsburgh.

By then, the new North Side expansion should be completed, allowing fans to park in the South Hills or downtown and ride in for the game on the “T.”

I am pro-bid really based on personal interest alone really. The finances and stuff aren’t my game and I understand that, so I’m not about to go around acting like I do.

Quite simply, the Steelers should do what they feel is best for the Steelers, the fans, the NFL and the City of Pittsburgh.

Until that decision is made, we can only dream…

LeGone.

July 9, 2010 - Leave a Response

Sometimes, people do not do the right thing.

Unfortunately for the city of Cleveland, they just don’t know what the right thing is.

Lebron James has joined the Miami Heat.

Of course, you already knew that.

During the hour-long, pathetic special last night, Lebron James smacked the City of Cleveland in the face.

How pathetic is it to parade on national TV, just to tell the world that you are leaving your hometown.

I have no problem with Lebron leaving, but the way he went about it is absolutely shameful.

Of course, by now everyone has also heard of the Comic Sans letter of the century by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

This emotional and , to be honest, slightly immature letter has received much scrutiny.

ESPN actually thought it was a hoax at first, but, it most definitely is not. The letter has not been apologized for or taken down, despite reports that the NBA is not pleased with it.

But more about Lebron:

The people most affected:

1. Obviously, Cleveland. The Cavs have gone from a title-contender to a lottery team overnight. Cleveland has been through so much with the “catch,” the “drive,” the “fumble,” the “single,” the “shot,” the “move,” ¬†and now…the “decision.” Love or hate Cleveland, you have to feel for them in a way. Could you imagine if Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Marc Andre Fleury all left at the same time? That’s the impact Lebron has left. This is a catastrophic blow to Cleveland. Think about the rest of their teams: the Indians (2nd worst record in the AL) and the Browns (5-11 last season, 7th worst record in NFL). The Championship outlook is bleak in the C.

2. Obviously, Miami. While the Cavaliers attendance is likely to dip (it increased by nearly 50% when Lebron came), the Heat have already announced that they have had to cut off season ticket sales and start a waiting list. The city will boom as the team will go from the 15th best attendance in the NBA to, well, probably one of the best. Downtown Cleveland thrived with Lebron in town and downtown Miami is likely to do the same.

3. Amar’e Stoudemire. This guy must be kicking himself right now. He went to the pathetic Knicks in hopes that it would bring Lebron along. Well, that isn’t happening and it looks like Amar’e will be stuck on a crappy team, unless they can snag Carmelo Anthony in a year. Sorr’e Amar’e.

4. Erik Spoelstra. You may be asking… who? Spoelstra is actually the coach of the Heat. However, you have to feel in a way for this guy. If they win, it will be because of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. If they are not succesful, he is going to be fired and Pat Riley will take over coaching, which will probably happen anyways.

Now obviously many more have been impacted by this. Chicago had cleared a lot of cap space for Lebron, the Nets wanted him badly, the city of New York has been wanting him for two years now. ESPN is getting drilled for this, Lebron is getting drilled for this. It is just an ugly situation.

Back to Pittsburgh sports from now on. Forget the NBA.

‘Twas the night before Lebron…

July 8, 2010 - Leave a Response

So, there is this guy named Lebron James who is good at this sport called basketball.

Like really good.

Despite having not won anything of value during his seven-year career, he is possibly the most coveted free agent in the history of professional sports.

Lebron is more than just a good basketball player. He transcends the game in the way that Michael Jordan did. He is a leader in fashion, the main figure in the Cleveland community (they don’t have much else), and a role model to kids in Northeast Ohio.

Quite simply, Lebron is Cleveland.

It can be argued that Lebron James is the most important athlete on the face of the earth.

Tomorrow night, Lebron will announce his decision LIVE on ESPN at 9PM.

The decision to make this so highly publicized has received much scrutiny.

People are saying James is an attention hog and thinks he is bigger than his team and bigger than the game.

Maybe this is true. It may be. The whole deal with him calling himself “King James” seems a little conceited. Sure, that title was thrown on him at a very young, very immature age, but to call yourself the “King” when you have never won anything seems a bit much.

As far as those who criticize Lebron for making the announcement, I ask you to calm down.

Do not think that this is 100% Lebron James’ decision. I have a good feeling that this is something that has been in the works for some time now and that Lebron is receiving a nice payment for this.

Don’t be surprised if you see some new commercials during this hour-long special, much like the Super Bowl.

Ratings baby, ratings.

Ask yourself, if someone was going to boost your image even larger or you were going to be getting money to decide what company you will be working for or what college you will be attending in the fall, would you do it?

Now, where do I think Lebron should go. Over the past year, I’ve become a bit of a Cavalier fan. I know, I know. I just pretend they play in North Pittsburgh.

However, don’t think my opinion is bias, because I’ll be okay if LBJ heads somewhere else.

The options:

New York Knicks: Big stage, bright lights. He gets to play with Amare Stoudemire by his side in the Mecca of basketball. However, questions still remain if they can put enough pieces around him to make a dynasty.

New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets: Again, big stage. New arena on the way in the BK and a chance to rebuild a franchise to prominence. Will be very difficult for them to build a dynasty with the free agents that are left and the roster they have right now.

Miami Heat: Gets to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. A dynasty in the making is possible in beautiful South Beach. If Lebron goes there and wins championships, it won’t be his doing. That is nearly a monopoly and will be nothing like what Michael Jordan did in Chicago.

Chicago Bulls: Gets to walk in and be the best player and leader of an already stellar team. Gets to play with a star in the making in Derrick Rose. However, if Lebron goes there, his image will always be overshadowed by Michael Jordan. He would put basketball back on the map in Chi-Town, but may be wanting to establish his own legacy somewhere else.

And finally…

Cleveland Cavaliers: Stays in his hometown. Even if he doesn’t win championships there, the people will still love him. He means more to Cleveland than any other player does to his city in all of professional sports. He is the city of Cleveland and it would say a lot about his character for him to stay there. However, questions about the team around him, especially having to go up against Miami, Chicago, Boston and other teams that are good and getting better. Can Lebron win with the team he has in Cleveland right now? He hasn’t been able to yet.

Where he should go:

Cleveland.

Yes, I would like Lebron to stay in Cleveland because I like winning and watching competitive teams. Except the Pirates, I guess since I still like them.

I won’t drive to Cleveland to watch a team lead by Mo Williams, or worse.

Don’t think I’m just going all homer on this either. I think Lebron means a tremendous amount to Cleveland, Akron and Northeast Ohio and that it would say a lot for him to stay and make his own legacy in Cleveland.

Michael Jordan created his own legacy.

Paul Pierce will never have a legacy in Boston because the only way he could win was with help.

If Lebron wants to be one of the greatest winners of all time, he should do it on his own.

His presence means too much for him to leave Ohio.

We’re 21 hours away from sports history.

What do Penguins do now?

July 5, 2010 - Leave a Response

After signing Paul Martin and Zybnek Michalek on July 1, the Penguins have been fairly quiet since.

They signed two forwards, Ryan Craig and Brett Sterling to minimal deals which have, according to CapGeek.com, left the Pens with about $2.1 million left to spend.

One thing to keep in mind, whoever the Pens sign will have to agree to a one-year deal. After this season, the Penguins will have 6 forwards under contract, including Eric Tangradi, who has not even played a full season professionally and is still under an entry level contract.

Pascal Dupuis, Max Talbot and Tyler Kennedy will all be looking for new contracts after this season. The Pens are not going to have the money to pay all three of them, especially Talbot, who I feel will want a big contract if he has a better season this year than last.

So the real question is, where do the Pens go from here? They need to sign a winger to a deal around or under $2 Million for one season. That makes you assume that they will be targeting a veteran winger who wants one more run at the Stanley Cup.

Their options:

Bill Guerin

(’09-’10… 21G, 24A)

What a picture.

PRO’S: Guerin is loved by the Penguins players, management and fans. Everyone knows this. He was instrumental in the Cup run a year ago. He wasn’t the greatest player on the ice, but he was a fantastic leader off the ice and brought the Penguins a loose presence. He has played with Sidney Crosby and developed chemistry with him. He doesn’t miss a lot of games (4 last season) and is pretty durable.

CON’S: Towards the end of last season, Guerin seemed to break down a bit. He had problems keeping up with Sidney Crosby. He will be 40 in November and you have to wonder if he can keep up with Crosby for another 100 possible games.

Paul Kariya

(’09-’10… 18G, 25A)

PRO’S: Just a great player throughout his career. HOF type numbers.A bit younger than a guy like Guerin (35) and has played much less hockey than Guerin in the last couple of years playing with St. Louis. Has always been a well-respected player, especially in Pittsburgh for some reason (All of my friends, including myself, growing up loved Paul Kariya). You have to think he could play on Sid’s wing and flourish in a secondary type of role with the team.

CON’S: Money. Kariya made $6 Million last season. He would have to take, at least, a $4 Million pay cut to play with the Penguins. Kariya isn’t going to get a $6 Million contract other places, but you could understand someone giving him $3-4 Million possibly. So, does Kariya value a Stanley Cup enough to lose out on a couple million dollars.

Also, he has had some injury questions, but played 75 games last season, which followed an 11-game season the year prior. Before that he played three straight 82-game seasons.

My Vote

This is tough. While my heart is telling me to stick with Billy G, my head is telling me to go with Paul Kariya.

Billy G slowing down towards the disappointing end of last season gives me concerns.

Kariya has not played anywhere close to the same amount of games that Guerin has. He has the age factor on his side and has yet to win a Stanley Cup, which will motivate him to another level hopefully.

Kariya playing with Crosby and Kunitz would be an awesome. Crosby’s playmaking ability, with Kunitz’s physicality and Kariya’s vision, experience and intelligence could be really dangerous.

I don’t want to see Billy G leave. He’s become one of my favorite player’s the last couple of seasons, but I feel like his time has come unfortunately. Hopefully though, if he is re-signed, he proves me wrong.

July 1, 2010

July 1, 2010 - One Response

UPDATE (3:20PM)

Welcome Paul Martin to Pittsburgh. Martin, the Defenseman from New Jersey is a solid pickup for Shero and Co.

The Pens threw a big time 5 years and $5M per at Martin.

I’m not a number kind of guy, but the Pens cap situation seems to be tight. Here is a look at the Pens cap situation as of 2:30PM.

(Thanks to nhlnumbers.com for the chart)

Kind of crazy that Martin is the highest paid defensemen on the roster now.

The Pens need one more defensemen. Ben Lovejoy could be an option if the Pens want. In fact, it’s probably the best option.

Mark Eaton may be re-signed, but would have to be on the very cheap because…

The Pens have really about $2.25M left to play with. The defense looks now like one of the NHL’s best. The winger situation is scary though.

Have to assume Eric Tangradi will be called up for this season.

The Penguins still need to sign at least one winger you’d think. The Penguins can’t afford top players now, not even most mid-level players.

So where do they go? I guess we’ll find out in the next few minutes, hours, days…

UPDATE (1:20PM)

Appears to be a done deal: Zybnek Michalek has signed with the Penguins.

Michalek’s deal is for 5 years, $20M.

Michalek was a crucial piece for the Phoenix Coyotes last year, which is why no one knows who he is.

ANALYSIS: He is a physical defenseman and recorded 3 G and 14 A last season, playing in 72 games. That was the least amount of games he has played in a season since he came into the NHL, so he seems to be durable. It seems that the Penguins are wanting to get more physical on defense and Michalek seems to be a good fit for that. The deal is a little steep, but I think it could pay off.

Per TSN.com, Sergei Gonchar has signed with the Ottawa Senators.

The deal is reportedly 3 years at $5.5 million per.

ANALYSIS: That’s a hefty price for Gonchar, who is 36 and was completely exposed at the end of last season, especially in Game 7 vs. Montreal.

Lots of talk now about who is coming toPittsburgh. Reports of Sheldon Souray, Anton Volchenkov and others possibly coming to the Pens now.

Thanks for the memories Gonch, but you’re now the enemy.