Thank goodness the Penguins didn’t trade for Alexander Edler at the deadline. It would have been nice to get Ryan Kesler, but not with Edler and his $5 million AAV for five more seasons after 2013-14. Avoiding bad contracts is more important than signing good ones, if that makes any sense.
Olli Maatta’s endorsement of Derrick Pouliot in Thursday’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review probably doesn’t mean much, but it’s nice to see and read about. Maatta’s success in the NHL, the fact that the Penguins were reluctant to move Pouliot at the trade deadline and Pouliot’s continued strong play for Portland, all bode well for his chances of joining Maatta in Pittsburgh next season. If Kris Letang comes back next season – and I think he will – then Pouliot would have an offensive mentor, so long as he doesn’t mimic Letang’s risky play in his own end.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist, Dejan Kovacevic, interviewed Sidney Crosby during the lockout in November of 2012. Kovacevic asked Crosby who he thought was a breakout player on the team. Crosby’s answer? Matt Niskanen.
Here’s Crosby’s reply:
Um, trying to think. I think Nisky, toward the end of last season he was getting confident with the puck. He was shooting it. His defensive game has just gotten better and better since coming to us. He’s got some skills. He played great for us, can remember him being on the power play with some great shots, great looks.
Click here for a link to my Hockey Buzz article and the Crosby interview with Mr. Kovacevic.
Niskanen leads all Pittsburgh blueliners with 38 points (9G, 29A) in 65 games, six game-winning goals and a plus-32 rating.
Has one player ever given a franchise to print money the way Sidney Crosby has? Prior to his arrival, the Penguins were a dying franchise with Mario Lemieux’s career nearing final closure. Pittsburgh finished dead last three straight seasons pre-Crosby and did so again in his rookie campaign. Now? Consol Energy Center has sold out for 316 consecutive games. Amazing.
Click here for a link to Lee Stempniak’s career statistics.
Did you know Stempniak was traded to the Maple Leafs for Alexander Steen and Carlo Colaiacovo in 2008?
He’s missed time with a broken foot and a high ankle sprain in recent seasons. Stempniak also was away from the Flames for 10 days last month for personal reasons, witnessing the birth of his twin girls.
Mt. Lebanon native, Matt Bartkowski, tallied an assist, five blocked shots and three hits Wednesday against Montreal. For the season, Bartkowski has picked up 14 assists and registered a plus-20 rating in 50 games. He’s slid under the radar with a fine season. The defenseman is still looking for his first NHL goal, however.
James Neal and Chris Kunitz didn’t take part in Thursday’s practice. Neal is riding an odd string of streaks. After going eight games without scoring a goal, he scored in five straight and now has gone another five tilts without lighting the lamp. Kunitz took a nasty welt to his right shin during Tuesday’s game. It’s not surprising he didn’t skate during a March practice with three days off between games.
Courtesy, Pittsburgh Penguins