The disintegration of our Pittsburgh Penguins has begun. By my unofficial time table, a season or two early.
It isn’t as much a prediction as a statement of fact. With a 1-5-1 record over the past seven games—including a pair of dismal losses to the Bruins—the Pens are hurtling toward the infernal regions of the NHL standings at breakneck spe [...]
From the moment he first skated onto an NHL rink as a callow 19-year-old, Marc-Andre Fleury flashed the extraordinary flexibility and cat-like reflexes that had pro scouts drooling. Attributes that encouraged then-Penguins GM Craig Patrick—seeking a franchise goalie—to trade up in the 2003 Entry Draft to take the Cape Breton marvel No. 1 over [...]
To everything there is a season.
While it may seem odd to open a blog post with a Bible verse (Ecclesiastes 3:1), it is appropriate. Everything in our world runs in cycles. The four seasons, for example. Winter, spring, summer, and fall. A time to plant and a time to harvest.
The same holds true for hockey teams. They run in cycles, too. Ther [...]
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford may be getting along in years. But he sure isn’t dull…or predictable.
In his latest surprise move of the summer, JR signed veteran forward Matt Cullen to a 1-year deal worth $800,000. The 38-year-old Virginia, Minnesota native—who won a Stanley Cup with Rutherford’s Hurricanes in 2005-06—can play center and left win [...]
A while back I read an article that downplayed the importance of building through the Entry Draft.
I beg to differ. Developing young talent is the life blood of any hockey team. Fail to do so, and eventually your team will collapse like a house of cards.
Ever since the Penguins won the Cup in 2009, they’ve used draft picks as fodder to trade [...]
I’ll never forget the day then-Penguins GM Craig Patrick chose defenseman Brooks Orpik with the 18th overall pick at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.
Having been fed a steady diet of Robert Domes, Milan Krafts, and Konstantin Koltsovs the selection of Orpik signaled an abrupt change in the Pens’ drafting philosophy.
“In the past, we haven’t emphasiz [...]
Somewhere Craig Patrick must be smiling. Not an arrogant, misery-loves-company smile. More of a rueful, knowing grin.
Aside from Mario Lemieux, no one did more to save the Pittsburgh Penguins than Patrick. He literally dragged the franchise from the gutter of mediocrity in the early 1990s and willed it onto a championship course. However, fol [...]
In nature everything runs in cycles. Seasons change from winter to spring to summer to fall, and back again. The same holds true in sports. Championship teams are cultivated and nurtured through a combination of drafts, trades and free-agent signings until they peak. Then they gradually diminish until they enter a rebuilding phase.
Only three [...]
As a member of the illustrious draft class of 1990 that included Penguins prodigy Jaromir Jagr, Robert Lang was projected to be a star. Indeed, the Teplice, Czechoslovakia native possessed all the tools. A smooth, powerful skater, the 6’3” 217-pounder had excellent vision and an exquisite touch, both for passing and shooting.
While Lang event [...]
It’s somehow fitting that former Penguins defenseman Jim Johnson played his college hockey for the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. Indeed, the undersized defenseman displayed bulldog tenacity while carving out a solid 13-year NHL career.
Although he enjoyed an outstanding collegiate career, Johnson was bypassed in the Entry Draft. Fo [...]