Archive for the ‘Penguins’ Category

Coming soon…
July 18, 2010

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.

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What do Penguins do now?
July 5, 2010

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

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.

On the eve…
June 30, 2010

And here it is. The eve of quite possibly one of the biggest days in sports history.

July 1, 2010.

Of course, the big story is:

“Where is Lebron going?”

My prediction: that will not be decided tomorrow. I think Lebron will wait and have his own day, his own moment. He wants to be the biggest and the only story, that’s obvious.

Something else that is horribly obvious is the pathetic outpouring by Cleveland in an attempt to keep LBJ23.

Now, I actually like the Cavs, so I am for Lebron James remaining in “The Mistake by the Lake.” However I can’t lie and say that seeing Cleveland miserable doesn’t humor me in a way.

Now, in addition to James, there are several other big names out there including Wade, Nowitzki, Pierce, Bosh, Amare and many more.

A dynasty could be built tomorrow or in the coming days. A dynasty the likes of the 90’s Bulls. Maybe better. Seriously.

But enough about basketball, which will undoubtedly dominate every headline tomorrow, no matter what happens in the NHL.

July 1, 2010 is also the beginning of NHL free agency. A couple big names are going to hit the market.

In Pittsburgh, there is no question who the top player hitting the market appears to be:

Sarge.

Sergei Gonchar and the Penguins appear to be way off on contract talks. Apparently Gonch wants a 3-year deal while the Pens are only willing to give him 2 years.

If this is Sarge’s last night as a Penguin, let’s say thanks. Tomorrow, he possibly becomes the enemy.

Other Penguins hitting free agency include: Guerin, newly acquired Dan Hamhuis, Ponikarovski, Eaton, Fedotenko and others.

It is a realistic possibility that none of those guys will be Penguins after tomorrow.

If that is the case, then so be it. All of those players seem to be replaceable, with the exception of Gonchar.

Unless we see the Game 7 vs. Montreal Gonchar for the next two or three years.

I’ll be live-blogging and Tweeting all day tomorrow about everything that goes down, including any big-time NBA happenings. However this is a Pittsburgh sports blog, so that’s what the majority of the content will be. Stay tuned.

July 1, 2010. Oh boy.

Watch out internet. I’m back.
June 30, 2010

After a lengthy time off, I have returned to the Blogosphere. And I’m here to take it by storm.

I welcome you to “Ice, Grass and Steel.”

Formerly known as “The City of Champions,” “Ice, Grass and Steel” will bring you news and opinions about all things Pittsburgh sports and more.

About me:

I’m a graduate of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. I was born in the city limits and lived in the city limits my entire life. I live for Pittsburgh. I hosted a radio show on 670AM WPPJ called “After Further Review” and wrote a column in The Globe Newspaper called “Pucks, Passes and Pierogies” for the last year.

NHL Free Agency 2009 (Day 1)
July 1, 2009

Some big news from around the league so far:

Hossa to Chicago for 12 years.

The Sedin twins re-signed with Vancouver. 

The Caps got Knuble.

The Penguins have signed Forward Mike Rupp at a reported $825,000/season for 2 years.

First Pens related news:

Montreal has signed Hal Gill to a 2-year, $4.5 milion deal.

Sad to see Hal go, he was a solid player.

Free Agency Update
July 1, 2009

Pens signed Adams and Guerin.

Not sure how to feel about it.

Probably saying by to Scuds or Feds… or both.

I believe in Shero though.

I have to work til about 2:30 on Free Agency day… but I’m hoping to get down to some serious blogging once I get home… (Pending no computer problems)

Big Day.

Go Shero.

Free Agency for the Pens
June 29, 2009

We’re just a couple days away from the start of free agency in the NHL.

The Pens have some big-time free agents they need to re-sign.

Besides the actual season, this is the best part of the NHL.

Craig Adams (F)
Ruslan Fedotenko (F)
Bill Guerin (F)
Miroslav Satan (F)
Petr Sykora (F)
Mike Zigomanis (F)
Philippe Boucher (D)
Hal Gill (D)
Rob Scuderi (D)
Mathieu Garon (G)

 

Now, to prioritize that list…

1) Scuderi

scudssave

2) Fedotenko

fedsfight

3) Guerin

bill-guerin

Everyone else is expendable.

Face it: Sykora, Satan and probably Gill are definitely not coming back next season.

They have been great assets and have had moments of brilliance, but it’s time for them to go. This is a young team with young legs and good leadership… so there isn’t a huge need for them.

Obviously, we’ll never forget Sykora’s goal in Game 5 last season, or how he blocked a shot and broke his foot in Game 6 of the finals this season. Sykie, you will be missed… glad you could get your hattie at the Igloo.

Who will ever forget when we signed Satan and the outpouring of “Hail Satan” shirts and signs came out. Fun stuff. Miro got off to a blazing start, but then had the wheels fall off and was sent down to the minors. That had to be an all-time low for Satan. But he came back in the playoffs and scored a big breakaway goal against the Hurricanes and got to lift the Cup.

And we can’t forget about USS Hal Gill. The man is a giant on skates. His reach is phenomenal. He’ll defend his teammates to the ends of the Earth. He wears Snuggies. Thanks Hal, you’ve been a rock.

I don’t want to say my goodbye’s to the other guys because they might get re-signed.

But back to who the Pens NEED to keep.

Now, it is essential that the Pens re-sign Rob Scuderi, but only for the right price. We have a pretty deep defense, so we can’t overpay Scuds, although he has earned every cent of whatever he gets. Supposedly, he really wants to stay here in Pittsburgh, but only for the right price as well. He wants to play for a winner, and well… we are.

Also, I think it’s a good move to re-sign Fedotenko, who really stepped his game up in the playoffs and I think, along with Talbot, is a good fit for the second line with Evgeni Malkin.

Finally, they should only re-sign Billy Guerin if he is willing to take a BIG paycut to stay. I love Guerin and I think he fits well with Crosby, but he is getting old and he is going to wear down eventually. So, only sign him for one year at a low cost and I’ll be cool with that.

… 

Now, this is probably where things get controversial.

The Pens are not good enough to repeat next season.

There, I said it. They HAVE to get better.

In the playoffs, it became clear the Chris Kunitz, while a very good player, is not the winger for Crosby. Now, he’ll play with Crosby next year, but I’m making the motion right now:

gaborikthrone

Marian Gaborik.

– The guy scored FIVE goals in one game before.

– Pascal Dupuis has said that he is the fastest player in the NHL.

– He would be perfect with Kunitz and Crosby. Fastest line ever.

 

I know, I know… this means getting rid of Guerin and maybe losing Fedotenko or Scuderi… but I think it’s worth it.

Just think of the potential lines.. (if Scuds doesn’t resign.)

Kunitz-Kid-Gabs

Feds-Geno-Superstar

Mr. Kennedy-Gronk-Cookie Monster

Dupuis-Adams-Godard

Gonch-Orpik

Tanger-Eaton

GOALigoski-?

MAF

I’m crazy if I think that’s happening… I don’t even know now if that can fit under the salary cap… probably not.

But if it can fit… we’re repeating.

2 days. Get ready.

Top Pens Moments 2008-2009
June 25, 2009

Honorable Mentions:

Pens-Wings, Game 6.

Pens-Wings, Regular Season Comeback.

Letang’s Game 3 winner against Washington.

The Parade.

 

 10 ) The trip to Sweden to start the season. 

This was a great way to start the season, despite the Mellon faithful getting ripped out of a home game. The trip brought the guys together and was a great way to showcase the NHL overseas.

9) Petr Sykora’s Hat Trick

 After having (what was) the longest multi-goal streak without a hat-trick, Sykora finally got his hattie, with a great shooting performance against the Islanders at Mellon Arena. The Pens won 9-2. 

  

8) The departure of a coach… and the arrival of a new one.

Now, at the time, this was a low point. It was sad to see our coach go. But, Disco Dan brought a new, better style to this team and they answered his call.

7) The future of the NHL facing off…

The Pens beat the Blackhawks in Chi-Town on an overtime goal by Evgeni Malkin, 5-4.

6) Billy G does it in OT

Billy Guerin scored a pair of goals, including the OT winner, in a big Game  2 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

5) Pounding the Caps in Game 7

After all the stress of that series, it was amazing to have a game that we could relax in by the second intermission, as the Pens annihilated the Caps 6-2.

4) “Crosby Sucks!”

It was Game 6. The Flyers had all the momentum and a three goal lead in Philly. But Sidney Crosby and Co. led the way to 5 straight goals, winning the series.

3) Malkin’s Winner in game 5

The Washington crowd was into it. But it was the Pens who had the last laugh, as Malkin would get a generous bounce in overtime, winning the game and giving the Pens a 3-2 series lead.

2) Staal’s shorty that changed it all.

Game 4. Must Win. The Pens explode for 3 goals in the 2nd, including a shorthanded, breakaway goal by Jordan Staal, that many people think saved the series.

1) The Game 7

You know what happened. Max Talbot. The Save. The Cup. No Youtube needed. Youtube could never capture that moment. The best night to be a Pens fan, period.

All in all, it was maybe the most gratifying sports season in Pittsburgh history. After how things were going right before Bylsma took over made things look rough, but the team pulled together and did something that hadn’t been done around here in 17 years.

Probably won’t need to talk too much about the Pens until free agency… July 1. Big day.

Go Pens. 

Halfway to Dreamland. Pens-4, Wings-2
June 5, 2009

Don’t ask me how, but I was able to get into game 4 last night.

I’m glad I did.

Just an unbelievable game, especially the 2nd Period.

Now, I have always thought that the Pens have a good shot at winning the Cup.

But after last night, and hearing that crowd, and seeing how those players responded, I know that we can win the Cup.

And we should. We’re the better team. I’m not afraid to say that.

Now, I’m not saying that we’re going to win the Cup, I’m just saying that we should win the Cup.

Remember how everyone was dogging Sidney Crosby and the Jordan Staal line?

Yeah, well.. who’s dogging now?

If you haven’t noticed how to beat Chris Osgood yet, then you aren’t watching the games.

The guy can’t move from left to right.

I give Osgood a lot of crap. But the guy has been a big-time performer and is a very good goalie.

But the Pens know how to beat him now.

The last two games he has been outplayed by a younger, more athletic and versatile Marc Andre Fleury. That’s just the facts.

But, now isn’t the time to get cocky. We won two games last year as well. 

With that said, I think whoever wins game 5, wins the series in 6 games.

I just pray it’s the guys in black and gold.

Finally, I want to give it up to the folks out on the lawn.

While the Pens do have a lot of bandwaggon fans (I’ll admit that… If you don’t know who Rico Fata is, then you’re semi-bandwaggon), it is really impressive to see the 10,000 people sitting on the Mellon lawn to watch the Pens.

I love sitting on the lawn, it’s awesome…

However, sitting in the parking garage after the game for an hour wasn’t too fun. I’ll take it though.

Too bad NBC shut it down.

5 years ago, you could pay $15, walk right into the arena and get 8 seats together in B and watch the game. Those were cool times.

These times are better.

And the Cup would make these times the best.

Go Pens!