Posted on: January 8, 2010 11:10 pm

PittScores Rankings: Midseason Version

Well  we are officially past the halfway point in the season, since each team has played at least 41 games.  These rankings are a little different then the ones I posted on the NHL board though, because only each teams first 41 games are taken into account in this version and there is nothing taken into account about who has been hot lately, because they are for the season as a whole.  Here are the rankings:

1. New Jersey Devils

  • 3.0802 rating

2.  Chicago Blackhawks

  • 3.0648 Rating

3. San Jose Sharks

  • 2.6364 Rating

4. Washington Capitals

  • 1.9994 Rating

5. Pittsburgh Penguins

  • 1.8372 Rating

6. Buffalo Sabres

  • 1.7842 Rating

7. Vancouver Canucks

  • 1.3764 Rating

8. Phoenix Coyotes

  • 1.3029 Rating

9. Calgary Flames

  • 1.2801 Rating

10. Colorado Avalanche

  • 0.9987 Rating

11. Nashville Predators

  • 0.7801 Rating

12. Los Angeles Kings

  • 0.6213 Rating

13. Boston Bruins

  • 0.3838 Rating

14. Detroit Red Wings

  • 0.1945 Rating

15. Dallas Stars

  • -0.2839 Rating

16. Ottawa Senators

  • -0.3518 Rating

17. Atlanta Thrashers

  • -0.5347 Rating

18. Philadelphia Flyers

  • -0.5347 Rating

19. Minnesota Wild

  • -0.6779 Rating

20. New York Rangers

  • -0.6932 Rating

21. Montreal Canadiens

  • -0.8660 Rating

22. St. Louis Blues

  • -1.2999 Rating

23. Florida Panthers

  • -1.3567 Rating

24. Tampa Bay Lightning

  • -1.4200 Rating

25. Anaheim Ducks

  • -1.5808 Rating

26. Edmonton Oilers

  • -1.8373 Rating

27. New York Islanders

  • -1.9197 Rating

28. Columbus Blue Jackets

  • -2.1000 Rating

29. Toronto Maple Leafs

  • -2.1671 Rating

30. Carolina Hurricanes

  • -3.6548 Rating


  • Only 1 Original 6 team in the top 10 (Blackhawks)
  • In the top 10, there are 6 Western Conference teams and 4 Eastern Conference
  • The Southeast Division owns 3 of the bottom 10 positions (Panthers, Lightning, and Hurricanes)
  • 2 Canadian Teams in the top 10 (Canucks and Flames) and 2 in the bottom 10 (Canadiens and Maple Leafs)
  • I think I will be renaming 30th place the Hurricanes award, since they have held the spot since these rankings were created
  • I was gonna put more, but this took long enough and I'm lazy

Posted on: October 1, 2009 7:49 pm

5 Burning questions: Pittsburgh Penguins

In about 24 hours from now, the Pittsburgh Penguins will open their season against divsion rival the New York Rangers.  This is the game the Penguins will be raising their Stanley Cup banner, but right after that it is time to put last year in the past and time for these 10 questions to be answered:

1.  Will the Penguins suffer from a Stanley Cup hangover?

I am not a big believer in Stanley Cup hangovers.  Yeah there have been signs of it in the past, but how this team is built I don't let see the coaches and captains letting that happen.  They are hungrier than ever after getting that first taste of winning it and won't slow down because they are satisfied in getting it last year or tired.

2.  Who will be the right winger on the Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko line?

Since we have learned that Maxime Talbot had shoulder surgery over the summer and is going to miss the first couple of months of the season, this has been a big question.  The leading cantidates right now are Tyler Kennedy (who was on the line during training camp/preseason) and Pascal Dupuis (who is going to start the season on this line).  Then we have a couple of guys down in the minors in Eric Tangradi (top prospect) and Luca Caputi (#2 winger prospect).  Then there is Chris Bourque, who the Penguins claimed off of waivers from the Washington Capitals.

Of the five players listed above, I think Kennedy has the best shot at taking the spot.  He is a player just like Max Talbot, plays hard every shift, decent shot, good speed, helps create space for the other 2.  He has the potential to be a 20-25 goal scorer and putting him with Malkin could be a great fit.

Dupuis, like I said earlier, is starting on this line.  I don't think this is gonna stick though.  He has horrible hands and not a very accurate shot.  He is a 3rd-4th liner that has good speed and plays good defense. 

Tangradi is gonna be the winger for either Crosby or Malkin for years to come and looked really good in the preseason, but he needs a year in the AHL before making the jump to the NHL.  This is his first year of professional hockey after spending the last few years in the OHL.  He is gonna be an absolute stud someday, just not right away.

Caputi is a good power foreward that isn't the best skater.  He has the potential to be a 20-25 goal scorer and is gonna end up a decent 2nd liner playing with whoever Tangradi is not.  After watching him in the preseason, he needs to spend a little more time in the NHL before making the jump into the NHL.

Chris Bourque is an interesting player.  I do not no much about him, but he was a point per game player last year in the AHL and has never really got a shot at the NHL.  He is a small guy listed at 5'8" and I have read that he is a high energy guy, like a Kennedy or Talbot.  He will be staying with the team (because we can't send him down after claiming him off waivers) and could be the darkhorse for the position on the second line.

3. Can Marc-Andre Fleury stay healthy for the whole season?

Fleury has been bitten by the injury bug the last 2 years.  Even though he played in 62 games last year, he missed 12 games with a "lower body injury" last season and 27 games the year before with a high ankle sprain.  Injuries are probably the most unpredictable thing in sports so its hard to say if he will, but I think this is the year he stays healthy and shows why he should be on the olympic team.


4.  Will Bill Guerin end up like former veteran wingers?

The Penguins have not had the best of luck with vetaran wingers in the past few years.  First it was John LeClair who we signed to play with the rookie Crosby, and it worked well the first year.  He scored 22 goals and 51 points, but was nothing special.  The next yera he scored 2 goals and 7 points in 21 games before being placed on waivers.

Then came Mark Recchi for his 3rd stint with the team.  He had a very good first season scoring 24 points and 68 points, but the next year he scored 2 goals and 6 assists in 19 games.  He was better last year scoring 61 points, but that wasn't for the Penguins.

Now we have Bill Guerin, who scored 12 goals and 27 points for the Penguins in 41 games.  Now that he is a year older and the fact that we play such a fast paced system might mean he could have similar fates that Recchi and LeClair had.  I don't see it happening and could see him ending up a lot more like Gary Roberts (who was not a great player for us, but great tough leader that was a fan favorite).


5.  Will Jordan Staal take his game up another level and show why he was a first round pick?

Jordan Staal has been one of the best penalty killers in the league the past few years and had his best point-total season last year, but still has a lot of room to improve.  He wiffs on a lot of shots and isn't as consistant as you would like him to be in the offensive zone.  Him, Matt Cooke, and Tyler Kennedy was a great line last year and was probably the best third line in the NHL last year and was looking really good in Dan Bylsma's new system.  I think if he plays like he did at the end of last year, he will score 30 goals and get 60 points.

There are a lot more questions that are to be answered about the Penguins this year, and you can waste a lot of time debating them but you won't know you are right until the season starts.  Some final questions that I am not gonna answer, but feel free to do so in the comments:
  • How will the losses of Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill effect the Penguins blue line?
  • How will Crosby using a new stick this year effect his game?
  • Who will be the Penguins biggest competition in the east?
  • Who will be the Penguins MVP: Crosby, Malkin, or someone else?
  • Will the Penguins and Red Wings meet again in the Stanley Cup for the 3rd year in a row?
Posted on: June 16, 2009 11:16 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2009 1:31 pm

QOTD 6/16/09 Penguins in the offseason

What should the Pittsburgh Penguins do in the offseason? As many of you already know, I am a big Penguins fan.  I still can't get over the fact that they won the cup, but tonight I wanna think about the offseason coming up.  All numbers in this post will go off of a 56M cap, while it is 56.7 now I am just gonna have it go down a bit, just in case it does.  Also, I will be starting with a cap hit of 46.9M, which leaves the Penguins with 9.1M left to spend.

The Penguins have 10 roster player UFA's coming up (Bill Guerin, Miroslav Satan, Petr Sykora, Ruslan Fedotenko, Craig Adams, Michael Zigomanis, Philippe Boucher, Hal Gill, Rob Scuderi, and Mathieu Garon).  Of those nine, I think the following should be let go:
  • Sykora- He has shown he has lost a step, and I think his days in the NHL are done.  I expect him to sign in the KHL, maybe with the Mettallurg Magnitogorsk who have been rumored to be interested in him.
  • Satan- He showed in the playoffs that he can still play, but he is not the goal scorer he once was.  He will probably go to the KHL as well.
  • Boucher- We have a lot of defensman, and he is very expendable.
  • Hal Gill- With Lovejoy and Goligoski becoming NHL ready, and with Gill getting slower by the game I think it is best to let him go. 
  • Garon- He was decent as the back-up in the 1 1/2 games he played for the Penguins, but I think Curry should be the back-up next season.
With the remaining free agents, I would do the following:
  • Guerin- Watching him since we won the cup, no doubt he is gonna come back.  He is having so much fun, and during the parade there was a 1 more year chant for him.  Then while Malkin was talking he said "one more year for Guerin" then he said "no, 2 more years for Billy" and Guerin comes up from behind, taps him on the shoulder and gives him a thumbs up.  I think he stays for 2 years/4M.  Leaving the Penguins with 7.1M to spend.
  • Fedotenko- He showed how good he can be in the playoffs, so I think he should get around a 2 year/4M contract like Guerin leaving the Penguins with 5.1M.
  • Zigomanis- His face-off ability is amazing.  Great 4th line center to have.  Give him around 700K for a year or 2.  4.4M left.
  • Adams- He is a great 4th line player.  He has grit, defensive ability, and is something every team needs.  He should get similar money to Zigomanis, probably around 750K.  3.65M left.
  • Scuderi- Showed his value in the playoffs.  Great deffensively, 3 years 7.5M total.  1.15 left
Along with those 10 UFA's, the Penguins have a few RFA's.  The bigger ones being Alex Goligoski, Ben Lovejoy and John Curry. All 3 of these guys could be on the roster next year. 
  • Goligoski*- Amazing offensive talent, but a little weak on defense at times.  Deserves a raise, probably around 1.5M.  .-.35M left
  • Lovejoy- Amazing defensive player, was a +40 or something crazy like that in WBS.  Probably deserves 900K for now. -1.25 left.
  • Curry- Future back-up for this team, but doesn't deserve much of a raise from what he is making now.  Worth 600K. -1.85M left.
With all that done, yes they would be over the cap but I have more moves to come.  Projected line-up so far:

That is before free agency, in which I feel the Penguins will need to add a veteran defensman and maybe another player or 2.  Free agency moves I would make:
  • Trade Pascal Dupuis for draft picks, frees up 1.4M of cap space. -.45 left
  • Send Lovejoy to the minors.  .45M left
Projected opening night line-up:

The last thing I think this team should look into is getting another top-6 foreward.  The only way they would be able to do that is to trade Jordan Staal, which I would rather them not do unless they get an offer they cannot refuse for a guy like Rick Nash (which there is no chance of that is all). 

So the line-up above would be my final roster.  Thoughts?  What would you do if you were the Penguins?

*Note: I changed Goligoski from 1.1M/year to 1.5M/year because he just signed a 3 year/4.5M total deal.  Not much of a difference, but since it was signed today I decided to change it.
Posted on: June 15, 2009 11:39 pm

QOTD 6/15/09 Favorite NHL playoff moment

What was your favorite moment from the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs? For me, my obvious choice would be the Penguins winning the cup, which it is.  I absolutely can't get enough of watching them lift the cup.  Here are some of my other favorites:
  • Talbot's SHH after fighting Daniel Carcillo in game 6. VIDEO .  The score was 3-0 Flyers at the time, and this fight turned the game around.  The Penguins scored around a minute later, and ended up winning the game 5-3 and clinched the series.
  • THIS Max Talbot interview.  Well, the part where he talks about THIS goal.  Basically Talbot gets one of the luckiest goals of the playoffs, but has some fun with it in the post game interview!
  • Beating two of our biggest rivals (Flyers and Capitals ) in consecutive series.  I absolutely dispise both of these teams, and beating them to win the cup makes it that much sweeter.
  • Evgeni Malkin 's nice backhand goal against the Hurricanes .  Not many guys can shoot a backhander like this. VIDEO
  • The Ducks beating the Red Wings 4-3 in triple OT with a goal from Todd Marchant .  Playoff OT NHL games are the best, nothing else like them.  This was an amazing game that an unknown won the game. VIDEO
  • The Scott Walker goal in OT to win the series against the Bruins .  This usually wouldn't mean much, but it was his first career NHL playoff goal and it was after finding out his wife has cancer.  That goal was definitly dedicated to her.
  • THIS save on Alexander Ovechkin by Marc-Andre Fleury .  If flower doesn't make this save, we could be looking at either a Capitals or Red Wings stanley cup champion, and who wants that Tongue out ?
Those are a few of my favorites, what are yours?

Posted on: November 29, 2008 5:15 pm

Janne Pesonen

When the Penguins first signed Janne Pesonen this offseason, I was excited about what he has the potential to do.  This excitement grew as I saw clips of him on youtube and saw how he was performing in Wilkes/Barre. 

In his first game I saw he was going to play the game on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora.  I had high hopes that he could show why we signed him that game.  He never got the chance.  He played maybe 2 shifts with Geno, and was quickly taken off the line.  He played just under 10 minutes.

Then he just got called up again a few days ago, and saw he was going to play with Malkin again.  I had my doubts about how long he was going to be with Malkin, and they were right.  He barely played with Malkin.  He didn't even get much ice time, only 6 minutes!  If Pesonen is eventually gonna be a top 6 winger for us, why is he not getting any time to get used to the game in the NHL?

This is to you, Therrien.  If your going to play Janne, give him some playing time!  He is a highly talented player and should not wasted like he was last night.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com