A View From Up North! – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

A View From Up North!

Can you imagine my shock when I received an e-mail from Mr. Buker, asking me if I would like to write an article or two for PenguinPoop?

My first reaction was to check the date on my calendar and see if it was April 1st! No such luck. The request was real.

Now what do I do? Aside from commenting on PP, I’ve never written a thing! I do not tweet. I am not active on Facebook or Linked-in.

The only thing I’ve done for the past two years was join a wonderful community of terrific fans who happen to be very passionate, very knowledgeable, very strong-willed and more than able to defend their opinions when need be, yet always in an understanding and fair way.

If only your media could work that way.

That’s the first clue that I’m not from Pittsburgh! It’s okay…you can take a deep breath. I have a disdain for the Flyers as much as any of you, and an absolute disgust for Bobby Clarke and the way he cheated by breaking the leg of the best Russian player (Valeri Kharlamov) I have ever seen in the 1972 Canada Cup. We had to cheat to win!

Yes, I’m Canadian. But I love the Penguins. How is that possible, you ask? My late mother was an avid Montreal fan. She loved the flow and speed of the game. My late father was just as much an avid Toronto fan. He played left wing with Dick and Willie O’Ree–the Jackie Robinson of hockey–in high school. So he liked the rough stuff.

My late older brother by eight years was a Boston Bruins and Bobby Orr fan. He also played defense at a very high level. He was captain of his high school team and represented our Province in the Maritime/Atlantic Championships. Later in life, my sister moved to Ottawa and became a clone of my mother. She’s an original season ticket holder for Ottawa. So a passion for hockey runs deep in my family.

I was drawn to the Penguins a year before they drafted Mario Lemieux. All the talk in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League was about this tall, skinny kid who could stick handle in a phone booth, shoot the puck like Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, but was lazy because he’d let up after scoring five points. Most of the time by the end of the first period!

In other words, Mario was special. My dad, brother and I went to Quebec to see him play. Over 13,000 people came to watch a junior hockey game. Incredible! These Quebecers loved their hockey. Of course, Mario scored many goals that night. I just remember all the noise. Not much else. So when the Pens drafted No. 66, I became a Pens fan.

I’ve never regretted it. Imagine my excitement when fellow Maritimer, Sidney Crosby, was drafted by the Pens and became the face of the entire league many years later.

A little more background. My brother moved to Newfoundland, where he served as a provincial boys’ minor hockey coach and also an Atlantic Canadian coach at the National Minor Hockey Championships for several years. His son was a defenseman like his father. He played with Sidney in several National Championships at various levels throughout their minor careers.

At age 15, Sidney was rated the top offensive player in Atlantic Canada at No. 1. My nephew was rated the top defensive player in Atlantic Canada at No. 2. The games were played in New Brunswick that year, and I was there. Fifteen years ago I could not imagine writing about it today. Strange!


Sidney was selected to play in the QMJHL. So was my nephew. He chose not to be a pro hockey player.

So what does this have to do with me and a blog in Pittsburgh?  Rick asked me if I would like to write something and I must admit it’s much, much harder to write on this side of the page then just responding to an article. I sincerely apologize to all of you for the long trip down memory lane, so I must now write briefly about our Pens.

I want to win again in 2018!  Let’s three-peat!

Problem is, we have 30 other teams that want to see us fail. Washington is at the top of the list, for sure. It won’t be easy.

We need defense! We’re going to lose several players from our roster and the farm system is pretty sparse. How much will it cost to re-sign Justin Schultz? (Five-and-a-half million per season, it turned out.) Plus, we still need at least two more big bodies to solidify the back end.

We can talk about the need for center men as well, but for me there are many other options available at all the forward positions throughout the league. But how the d-corps goes pretty much will determine if we lift the Cup one more time in 2018.

The elephant in the room is Letang! Does he come back and plays like the Kris Letang of old? Or are we going to get an old Kris Letang with greatly diminished talent levels and recurring injuries?

I’m afraid I don’t know the answer just yet.

Any thoughts?

PS: Thanks Rick and Phil for the opportunity! It was an interesting experience for sure.

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  1. James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
    July 3, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Hi Guys and Gals,
    Mark Spector reports : Columbus,Pittsburgh and Boston have all had serious discussions for acquiring Mat Duchene. GM Joe Sakic wants a first round pick, a top prospect and a top 4 d man as part of any trade package the report states.The Columbus Dispatch reports d man Ryan Murray and Boone Jenner’s name has also been associated in the discussions plus draft picks.TSN reported that Nashville was interested before they signed Bonino and now with RFA star Center Ryan Johansen wanting an 8.5 miilion dollar per year deal, they will NOT be signing Duchene.
    So if you are JR, do you send Oli Matta, your 1st round pick in 2018 and a top
    prospect.( There not talking Connor Sheary …. more like Daniel Sprong or a Tristan Jarry ) for Duchene ?? That is a lot of coin for a third line center, but who also plays LEFT WING !!
    Or maybe we send them Letang if they would want him ??
    What would you all do if you were JR ?

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      July 3, 2017 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      I am sorry, but as much as I like the idea of Duchene I have to think about this one. Maatta, a Top Prospect, and a #1 that is rediculous. As much as I don’t wnat CBJ to have him, if they are willing to that much more away for trying to win the Cup this year, go right ahead. They should ask Was how it feels to go all in and come up with 0. If it is just Maatta and and Jarry, fine, if it is Maatta and Letang Great. If it is Maatta and a 1st round pick maybe. I would start hedging my bets and talking to Galenchuk/Montreal, they are in a world of hurt $$$$. A young gun on the cheap like Sheary could help ease lots of problems. Galenchuck and Yakubov signing added to what is already here may make tons more sense.

      • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
        July 4, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        Hi Other Rick,
        I must admit when I read the articles I too thought that was a very high ask for Duchene. A first round pick, a top prospect and a top 4 d man. To be fair the articles I saw did not mention any Penguins names specifically, but by the process of elemination, Letang and Schultz, you do not have too many left. Olli or Cole. Some would argue Cole is not a top 4,but that is a matter of opinion.
        What was really crazy was Super Joe Thornton getting 8 million for one more year. Even Crosby’s contract in its final year pays 3 million I believe. A much more realistic figure given the age of the player.
        8 million !! I guess pigs can fly!
        Happy 4th..☺

        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          July 4, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          Hey Jim,

          I just read on the NHL website that CBJ said that they weren’t going to force a deal with the Avs for Duchene. Maybe they are strting to realize how foolishly they have been acting in the off-season. There wasn’t really that much missing from their roster last season. They were the third best team in the league and if not for the Pens and Caps they probably would have been Champs. They may have been better off just trying to keep as much of their team together as possible. (not much anyone could do about losing someone to Vegas).

          • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
            July 4, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

            Hey Other Rick,
            I am pleased about your information about CBJ. That is good news for us. I spent the last 30 minutes going over various Hockey sites, as of July 3rd and some July 4th and many of them mention the fact that the Pen’s, Bruin’s and others have indeed been active in the pursuit of Duchene. One site mentioned Maatta by name as the defense component of a proposed deal and the other piece mentioned…..( are you sitting down OTR ), Hornqvist plus the required draft pick.
            Half the time these so called experts get it all wrong so I am reluctant to report this as 100% fact. But that is what they reported this morning.
            But by the numbers it makes cents !!
            Your thoughts ?

            • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
              July 4, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

              Hey Jim,

              I like Hornqvist. He brings a ton to the Pens, but he is entring into his final year on his contract and with Sprong and Aston-Reese looking as good as they are I would deal him. Normally in a situation when you a team is looking for a 3peat trading away a player like Hornqvist is stupid, but as stacked as the Pens are on RW and as weak as they are on LW and at C, trading Hornqvist seems a no brainer.

              It even makes sense from Col perspective, not only can they get the Pens first round pick in the deal but at the trade dead line they can then dish him and get someone else’s first pick. So in effect they would get Hornqvist for half a season and 2 – first round picks for Duchene. Granted at least one of those first rounders would be more like a 2nd round pick, you would think that with Duchene the Pens should be able to get deep into the play-offs again. But as bad as the relationship between Duchene and Colorado has gotten, that isn’t a bad nights work.

              The Pens would still have to massage some $$$ numbers though, Duchene is $6mil and Hornqvist is $4mil.

              The only stumbling block may be Sakic over-valuing Duchene and holding on to him. If the relationship btw Col and Duchene is deteriorating like the reports say, then Duchene could have even a worse year this year than last damaging value even more. Not that all GMs will think he lost skill, not at 26/27 yrs of age, but if he can’t concentrate and keep his game up, then I personally wouldn’t want him at all. I like this team with a capital “T”. I wouldn’t want to add a self-serving prima donna that Duchene’s fading statistics could indicate. If I don’t get Duchene now, I may not be willing to even give you a bag of pucks for him, later. The Pens have been winning because they play for each other and ignore any circus antics on or of the ring that may be swirling around them, that is special. I wouldn’t risk a cancer.

              Granted some GMs may still think Duchene is worth it, but not me. Dallas thought enough of Radulov at age 30 and with his baggage to throw big $$$ at him. But Teams really challenging for the Cup won’t deal. So, it won’t negatively affect the Pens chances of 3peating.

            • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
              July 4, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

              Hey Jim and Phil,

              Even though I am always looking to maximize the Pens, I am pretty much in agreement with you Phil and last I looked, so was Vegas. The Pens are the odds on favorite at the moment to win in a 3peat. Of course the season is long and anything can happen but agian I agree 100% the players the Pens lost are not irreplaceable. The only player the Pens lost so far that was more than a footnote during the regular season was Fleury. Yes I liked all the players the Pens lost and respect them for what they did, the Pens core players are still here. Kuntiz was core at one time and played great in the playoffs but even had he signed with the Pens and I was coach, he would only play about 50 or 60 games during the regular season so I could have him during the playoffs.

              Where I digress with you Phil, is that although I don’t think the Pens were crippled by UFA defections I do think the team is overall not as good. I am not ready to embrace Reaves as a replacement for Kunitz. I would rather replace Kunitz from within, Sestito. He may bot win as many fights as Reaves would but I think he becomes more valuable overall. And as for Niemi, the Pens aren’t going to truly find a replacement for Fleury, Maybe someday Jarry or Gustavsson or De Smith or Maguire will step up to Fleury’s level but I won’t hold my breath, just as long as they competent anything beyond that will be gravy.

              As for Washington, wow, they only have ~ $8mil to spend on 3 forwards, 1 defenseman, and a goalie, forget about carrying an extra player or 2 for practice purposes. And their problem isn’t just past poor decisions but current ones. I am sorry but Orlov isn’t worth $5.1 mil and although he is young and flashing great potential, I wouldn’t have signed Kuznetsov for $8+ mil either. Fifty odd points doesn’t put him near Crosby or Malkin money.

              I would love to get Duchene but I don’t think the Pens need him. I would flip Hornqvist for Duchene shoring up a weakness from an area of strength but I never allow myself to be suckered into the spending frenzy (contracts and/or trades) that may have just crippled a couple of franchises in the future. I do applaud JR for not over spending right now.

          • July 4, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            Hey Jim,

            One thing I do know is that Rutherford never mentions any Penguins players that are involved in any trades. He definitely doesn’t mention it to the players (unless they have a NTC) He is very well aware that it upsets the apple cart. So any player mentioned is just speculation.

            Plus, I seriously doubt the Penguins would move Hornqvist considering how very important he is to the team. It would be a very dumb move.

            Just adding to a what tOR is saying and using the precedent that he just set with Columbus #3 in the division “They may have been better off just trying to keep as much of their team together as possible”

            The Penguins, #2 overall in the NHL last year and have won back to back cups. the #1 team, Washington, just got torn apart.

            Pens lost a couple of guys who show up at important times in the Playoffs, but for large swaths of the regular season couldn’t be found. Losing Bonino & Kunitz made the Penguins a little worse, but Reeve’s will equal Kunitz’s output in both points and checks.

            The Penguins just need a quality 3rd center. I believe Cullen will be back, he is just using Minnesota as leverage for more money.

            Replacing Daley on defense made the Penguins better. The Pens have a core of defensemen that have each won at least two Stanley Cups. Plus Letang will be back.

            Don’t listen to Rutherford’s BS about 30-40 games for Niemi. That was just to get him to come here. Sullivan will have Niemi gone if he can’t perform and either Jarry or one of the plethora of free agent goalies will back up Murray.

            The Penguins have not lost faith in Jarry at all. If they did, they would have signed one of the better goalies that were available for a longer contract.

            As things stand right now, I would think the Pens are not only odds on favorites to win the Stanley Cup, but also the President’s Cup.

            • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
              July 4, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

              Hey Phil,
              As you say Washington is not in a happy place right now. They are a ship with many holes to plug to stop all the leaks. Problem is the leaks are all old and or very expensive to fix.
              Their Cap situation is not good.
              I fully expect several teams to surpass them this year and I am not 100 % on saying the Pen’s are one of them to do it just yet. I need to see the center, left winger and final d man on our roster before I can say that for sure. But I will say given our current Cap space and my hope that Dumo resigns at 3 million for 5 years,the Pens are looking better than I had hoped for at this stage of free agency.
              Enjoy your holiday my friend !

  2. 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
    July 3, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Congrats, Jim, on being a new commentator! Looking forward to your insightful posts, history and all.

    • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
      July 3, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Thanks 55 !
      I really apreciate your kind words.I was really not sure what to write about when Rick ask me if I would like to.
      It reminded me of an English teacher I had in high school and she told us all to write a ten page essay. First page was easy.By the fifth page we were all done.Could not write any more.Same thing happened with my PP article.
      My first draft was two lines! “We need more defense “and
      -the other line was ” Will Letang return to his orgininal form”. That was it. Pretty tough sledding my friend so Rick told me just to be myself. The article above is what came out.

  3. James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
    July 3, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    ☺To all my American Friends ☺

    May you all have a great 4 th of July Holiday with your family and friends.

    From all your friends up North !

  4. Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
    July 2, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    I, for one, loved the trip down memory lane! Thanks for sharing, Jim.

    • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
      July 2, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Your most welcome Jaylene.
      I was not sure what to write. As you know I am not one to be
      shy commenting about somebody else and their work, but when
      it is your own, that is a much different story.
      Thank you again.

  5. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    July 2, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Hey Jim,

    Welcome on board with PP. After reading your comments for a couple of years now, I can’t wait to hear from you on a larger platform. You have always given me tons to think and write about. You knowledge of hockey certainly has made this one of the best sites around. Furthermore, as a bit of an outsider, you can see things that me here in the ‘burgh don’t, so that is a 3-demnsional perspective that elevates everything here.

    As for Letang and Schultz, you know me, I couldn’t agree with you more, the elephant is not only in the room but is really blocking all view. If anyone could gaurentee that he returns to 2015-2016 form and can stay healthy for at least 70 games, then the Pens are fine but I would seriously tried to find a more desparate team willing to risk taking on his salary, if one exists.

    Of course that is a big IF.

    I really do think the Pens dropped the ball on Schultz though. Even though he was signed, I think a 5 yr contract would have been better. If we really had a D man in the org that look like he had the potential of Schultz then I can see only signing him to a 3yr deal, but at least right now, there is a gapping whole in the oragnization on D. The sad part is the number of 1st rnd picks wasted on the position.

    • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
      July 2, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Hi Other Rick,
      With the Schultz contract I do mot believe JR was in any position to negotiate.Various media reports had indicated there were several teams who wanted Justin. I think the trade off was a shorter term contract for a “home town discount” on his salary. I personally do not think Justin is worth 6 million plus a year but given the crazy numbers paid for players yesterday who were far older and with less upside to their game, he would have gotten the cash from someone else. So from one perspective the Schultz signing was a blessing in disguise.
      Other Rick you raised a real good point about the obsession the Pen’s organization had since Ray Shero was GM, and with drafting all the mobile, swift skating offensive d men and now how ironic is the fact that we as a team are so weak in defensive talent. ??
      I guess that is the result of trading away high picks and squandering many opportunities. You can not do this for ever…It will catch up to you some day.
      I want to leave you with a few thoughts. Just to ponder and get your reaction. Alexander Radulov ! Big right winger. UFA . Why not make a play for him to play with Geno? He is a big boy. Move Kessel to the third line. You would have to move Horqvist or Hagelin in order to make the salary work.
      Maybe we move Tristan Jarry and Derrick P. to Arizona for a big, young left winger like Brendan Perlini or Lawson Crouse who are still on entry level contracts? Just a few thoughts.
      Obviously the Pen’s brass are not 100% sold om Jarry’s game still.
      Thanks for the kind words…It takes many voices to make a choir. Yours rings
      loud and clear ! 🙂

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        July 3, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Hey Jim,

        As I said yesterday, you do have a way of making me think. This morning I was reading some articles about the Canadiens; now with the contract extensions of Cary Price and the signinf of Alzner, Montreal is really up against the Cap. Bergevin was quoted saying that he had made offers to Radulov and Markov before July 1 that could have worked out for all their plans but both balked and that he was disappointed. He went on to say that he since then with the Price extension and Alzner signing that he thought the HAbs could only resign 1 of them if they changed their minds now and one of them would have to look elsewhere.

        On the surface my first thoughts gravitate toward D not RW. So, I looked at Markov and he still had a pretty good season, 36 points in 62 games and was a +18 but he is 38. What I have read is that he is looking for a 2 yr contract for $6mil. The was the article is written, I wasn’t sure if he was asking for $6mil/year or $6mil over the 2yrs of the contract. If it was $6mil/year no, that is insane but if he is asking for $6mil for 2yrs, I think I just might go for that.

        At 30 Radulov is more attractive, and a bigger winger for Malkin is a good idea, but I am not sure the numbers would workout. Again from what I read Radulov is holding out for a 6 year contract. I haven’t seen numbers, but I can’t imagine that since he got $5.75 he would be looking for $6mil per year for those 6 yearswhich would make signing Guentzel and Sprong in the near future really, really tough.

        So how about this. If Markov is asking for $6mil over 3yrs, I sign him making either Domoulin or Maatta less important, and trade bait for Duchene. Now figure in either De Smith or Jarry and maybe Sheary, that should definitely trump anything CBJ offers, particularly since Varlamov is a question mark coming back from surgery and Pickard was taken by the Knights.

        Honestly, since I have read the rumors of Galenchuk, I think I would rather find a way to pluck him off of Montreal for the third line and maybe deal with Col for Mikhail Grigorenko for 4th line I am not sure if that works out yet. I haven’t looked at $$$$.

        If I would go after any RW, I might look at Yakubov, like I think you suggested, a possible reclimation project on the cheap and even try and shift him to LW if possible; since he is a L shot. With all the RW on the roster already, I am not sure if I want anymore.

        Honestly, if youthisn’t served by season’s end and the Pens main 4 RWs aren’t at least Sprong, Rust, and Kessel with Honqvist traded, I don’t think the Pens 3peat. I would think that it really should read Crosby with Aston-Reese, Malkin with Sprong, and Kessel on his own line with TBD as Center, hopefully either Galenchuk or Duchene. Although I would normally think Aston – Reese would be more at home on the thirf line, Sully showed that in the playoffs, spreading some physicality throughout the lines is improtant so if Aston – Reese is really very similar to either Hornqvist or Kunitz, he would fit in with Crosby. During the regular season Sprong might be the better fit.

        I do think the Pens can 3peat, but I think the probability sits on the edge of a knife and really depends on what JR does here in the off season and then how Sully uses those pieces during the regular season. If JR and Sully try and play it conservatively and go with a bunch of old worn out guys like Niemi and Hunwick, then book your May tee times now there is no chance of missing them. As I wrote yesterday, JRs comment of him seeing Niemi playing 30 -40 games this year scares me. Now let me add the appearance that the team is unwilling to embrace their own homegrown kids or inject some other young kids into the line up but instead look for retread 30yr old D men. If they wanted a veteran, apparently they could have had Markov for just a little bit more money over a little less time.

        Maybe they weren’t aware of the Markov situtation (Assuming that the $6mil really is over 2 yrs rather than per year) but that is why I would always ask. They may say no, so you aren’t any worse off than before, but then again they may say yes.

        I said before the post season was over that since JR couldn’t really help the team out anymore that he should have turned his attentions to lining up his ducks for the Expansion Draft, Entry Draft, and FA. Apparently, he didn’t. None of us know what really went on, unless we had inside sources but it really doesn’t look like he put a lot of effort into what was about to happen at the start of the off season. I do think he is doing a good job for someone just now looking at the environment, but a lot more could have been done if inquiries were made into trades and availability of UFAs. It would have saved a ton if Schultz and Domoulin were resigned, like they could have been, well before the idiotic Caps thru all that money at Orlov and had the Pens offered a contract extension to Bonino last year when you and I first suggested it, I would bet he would be in the fold for more like $3mil/yr and the team wouldn’t be scrambling now looking for 2 Cs.

        Yes, if the Pens wound up with Galenchuk or Duchene it would be a massive upgrade to the third line, but I could live with Bonino there.

        • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
          July 3, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

          Hi other Rick,
          As we both know Hockey is all about timing. I could not agree more that poor management decisions may have cost us Bonino, Kunitz and maybe Dumo. I am crying over spilled milk now but last summer an offer for 2.9 million for 3 to 4 years would have sealed the deal for Bones.
          Let’s be brutally frank about our Cup win in 2016. HBK and the play of Murray won us that Cup. Nothing against Sid or Geno, but without HBK and Murray in 2016 we do NOT win.Period! So I think Bono got a raw deal that should have been handled differently. But that is hockey.
          Kunitz would have signed the same deal, 2 million for 1 year as well. I am not sure I would have done it though.
          FYI…A little Mario Trivia.
          In 1983- 84 Mario scored 133 goals,149 assists for 282 points in 70 games while playing for Laval.
          4.03 points a game average!!!
          Jacques Goyette came second with an incredible 170 points .Claude Gosselin was third at 140 points.
          That is how great he really was.
          4.03 points a game. That is hard to beat my friend.
          Let’s Go Pen’s.

      • July 3, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        Hey Guys,

        On Radulov. I think it would be best if the keep him as far away from the Penguins locker room as possible. He seems to be a self centered money hungry player who doesn’t follow team rules if they are not to his liking. With all the young guys filling in holes in the lineup to keep the team going, they don’t need him as a role model.

        If I remember correctly, wasn’t he caught out to all hours of the morning the night before a playoff game?

        Plus wow these contracts just went from ridiculous to stupid. Price, Thornton, Marleau & Kuznetzov. Way way way way way way way overpaid.

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          July 3, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          Hey Phil,

          Agree 100% about Radulov. Maybe it’s just me, but he looks like an unsavory character…a Russian mobster.

          And, yes, he and teammate Andrei Kostitsyn were out all night following a playoff loss in 2012. This after Nashville brought him back (after he’d jumped ship a few years earlier) for the stretch run and playoffs.

          Of course, he promptly defected back to Russia for another four seasons.

          Nope. None for me, thanks.


          PS–While we’re talking Russians, I still really like Jim’s suggestion of Nail Yakupov. He’s a left shot and, apparently, can play either wing. Provided we can get him at a reasonable price, I think he might be worth a look.

          • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
            July 3, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

            Hey Rick,

            I said the same thing so I can’t agree more, Yakupov seems to be gamble well worth taking.

          • July 3, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            I definitely would like to see Yakupov in a Pens jersey!

            • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
              July 3, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

              Hey all,

              Funny, but Yakupov’s career in Edmonton mirrored that of Justin Schultz. Eerily so. Strong rookie season, followed by a pretty steady decline and corresponding drop in production.

              I wonder if, in the right environment, he could experience a similar revival.

              Heck, I’d settle for a 75 percent revival. This guy had to have something to be a No. 1 overall pick.


            • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
              July 3, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

              Hey Rick,
              Call me crazy but I like Yakupov. If you could sign him for one year at 1.2 million per year with an option for 2 more years at the same pay scale I would take the gamble. His past salary was 2.5 million per year.
              He is listed at 195 #, 5’11” but when he played in Edmonton he was 205 #.
              Maybe the boy needs a strength coach ??
              Truthfully I think he really needs a Russian mentor to harness his talent and find his game again. The boy has the talent, but he needs to know how to apply it. Justin Schultz ???
              Hoping for a miracle Rick. !!

        • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
          July 3, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          HI Phil
          You are spot on about the high prices being paid for lesser talent. There is much discussion going on about the McDavid offer for 13.5 million a year, and how it will impact the league moving forward. That is what happens when Gretzky is your agent. But in the long term this will only drive contracts upward.
          With Radulov he indeed had issues in Nashville but surprisingly in Montreal with all their intense media scrutiny he has matured they say.
          My problem is he wants a 6 year deal at 6.5 million a year minimum reports say and I think that would be a disaster for anyone to sign him that long.Two things in our favor Phil.
          1.His ego. He wants to play on a Cup winner.
          2.Quebec has the highest taxes in all of the 50 states and 9 other provinces.Quebec is a great place to visit but it is expensive to live there.
          He may be persuaded to come for a 3 year deal at 5.75 million,his former salary last year but the big difference in taxes and cost of living would be much better in Pittsburgh. Just a thought.
          Where do we get our center Phil…any ideas.?

          • July 3, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

            Hey Jim,

            I hear what you’re saying about Radulov. At the same time I heard of locker room problems in Montreal and a coach getting fired mid season when the team had 31 wins & 19 losses. Every player wants to play on a cup winner and the way contracts are going right now, I’m sure he’s looking to be crazily paid. I would bet he’s ten time more concerned about money than anything else.

            As for who I think the Pens are going after? I think they are still trying to work out the Duchene deal. If you remember correctly, the Pens weren’t even mentioned with all of the Kessel trade rumors.

            The Penguins need to sign Dumoulin. I highly doubt that Letang/Maatta/Dumoulin or Shultz or even Cole get moved in the Duchene deal. Especially since all Sakic is trying to do is cut salary & get prospects & picks. Plus the time difference and JR’s early bed time isn’t helping negotiations. 🙂

            I see Dumoulin coming in at around $4 mil a year easily. Sheary should get $1.5 mil tops.

            I have also heard Defenseman Jason Demers mentioned. That would round out the defense nice.

            If those two fail, look for a multi player trade with Vegas for Luca Sbisa & Marcus Kruger. Probably not JR’s first choices, but they will fill needs.

          • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
            July 3, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

            Hey Jim,

            The money being thrown around will either have to stop or it will cause a huge despairty in money given to top 6 players and bottom 6 players. If high end players like McDavid spiral, under a cap, they can only go up with a concurrent downward spiral on the other end. The Bonino’s of the world will never again be able to get more than $1mil per year.

            However, what is more likely to happen with the contracts being handed out this year, team like Montreal and Washington to name a couple will find themselves in the same boat as TB when they basically center way too much money in Lecavailer and Stamkos. Price, McDavid, Kuznetsov will never be able to have a team around him, at most they will have 1 line of skaters and a goalie of NHL calibre and the rest of their line up will have to be AHLers, unless the rest of the league gets just as stupid.

          • July 3, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

            No need to debate Radulov any longer. Dallas $6.25 for 5 years

            • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
              July 3, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

              What is going on in Dallas.?
              Somebody is spending lots of money.

  6. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    July 2, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Great job, Jim!

    Thanks, so much, for sharing your thoughts and recollections with us!


    • James Arthurs's Gravatar James Arthurs
      July 2, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Rick…
      Still nervous though .


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