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Monday, June 30, 2014

Challenging My Penguin Loyalty by @ChicksDigHockey

9:01:00 AM 5

I’m a very loyal person; to a fault. Once you’ve found a place in my life, I have a hard time letting you go. This is why I’m having a hard time with the Penguins offseason. Never before have I faced such sweeping changes as a fan. 

I remember when Max Talbot left in 2011. Max was a favorite for his attitude on the ice. His skills my not have been on par with top six forwards but he could ‘Muck and Grind’ with the best. Anytime he came over the boards the personality on the ice changed; it got bigger and a bit tougher. And who will ever forget “Shhhh….”?

Many of my friends were furious at Talbot’s departure to Philly but the Pens made it easy for him to go; they offered him nothing to stay. Who could blame him for wanting his payday? Apparently everyone.  I remember thinking “Anywhere but Philly, Max.” My loyal heart was broken when I first saw him in Flyer Orange.

The same feelings surfaced when Ray Shero was fired. I know nothing about being a General Manager of a hockey team but in recent years Twitter was polluted with #InSheroWeTrust. His acquisitions read like a hockey’s ‘Who’s Who’.  While one could make an argument as to whether the ’09 cup was won solely under Dan Bylsma’s influence, there’s no arguing that was the team that Shero built. 

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Rumors: Pens One of Six Teams Interested In Martin Brodeur, Pens Just Say No

9:17:00 PM 1

Let's be honest for a minute, people love nostalgia. People love to reminisce about the glory days, especially when it comes to famous people, like the sports stars of yesterday for example. Hence the big reason why the majority of Pittsburgh Penguins' fans were so excited a few years ago when #Jagrwatch took place, when it seemed as though former Pens' winger Jaromir Jagr was coming back to end his career where it started. As you know, the ending of that story is very bad. Jagr signed with the Philadelphia Flyers and it tarnished his legacy even more with much of the Penguins' fan-base. 
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Video: Jim Rutherford Talks About Trading James Neal

11:22:00 PM 0

Video and quotes courtesy of Greg Wyshynski from Yahoo.com and Puck Daddy. You here Rutherford talk about the trade that sent James Neal to Nashville for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. 
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Pittsburgh Penguins Draft Kasperi Kapanen 22nd Overall

9:50:00 PM 0

The Pittsburgh Penguins actually held on to their first round pick in this year's NHL draft, selecting Kasperi Kaspenen 22nd overall. Kaspenen was considered the best Eurpopean forward in the draft by many outlets, and is considered really good value for the 22nd pick. Multiple draft sites had Kaspenen going in the top-15 picks, some even in the top-10. That's great value for the Pens which takes a little less sting off of the James Neal trade as well as the fact that the Pens do not have picks in the second and third rounds. 
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The PIttsburgh Penguins Just Traded James Neal to Nashville

8:39:00 PM 0

Yikes. The first trade of the Jim Rutherford era in Pittsburgh is off to a rough start. After losing out on his top candidates in the vacant coaching search, Rutherford traded F James Neal to the Nashville Predators for forwards Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spalling. Ouch.  Neal, who has his flaws, is still a 40-goal scorer, is under 28 years-old, and has an extremely friendly AAV of $5 million.  Obviously Neal hasn't played to well in the postseason during his time with the Pens, and he's been in trouble for dirty hits more than once or twice as well. Neal may have some character issues but his contract is worth more than what the Pens were able to get in return. 
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Penguins Name Mike Johnston Head Coach

9:26:00 AM 1
After a long, exhaustive (and exhausting) search the Pittsburgh Penguins have named a new coach.  Connected to the team since early in the week Mike Johnston, the head coach and general manage of the WHL's Portland Winterhawks, will replace Dan Bylsma as coach.

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Drafting Penguins With Some Experts by @ChicksDigHockey

9:00:00 AM 2

It’s NHL draft time; The last bit of league business before free agency and summer break. It’s a time of great anxiety for hockey hopefuls and a time of anticipation for the 30 NHL teams.
I admit, as intrigued as I am with the draft process and the overall selection strategy, I don’t know much about the candidates themselves. What do you do when you want to be prepared for something like the draft but have no time to research it? 

You go to the experts. 

That’s exactly what I did. I asked five friends who I consider to be great hockey minds to help me. Since this is the first test of the Penguins’ administrative team (with or without a head coach), I thought my friends could offer a little help by weighing in on who they would like to see our new GM pick. More accurately, who would be their first three picks if they were at the Pens' table. 

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Crosby Lands the Hart, Capping off NHL Awards Show Hat Trick

9:00:00 PM 0

Six years is a long wait for the "best player in the world" to be recognized as his league's MVP. But, as expected, Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby landed his third award of the night, the coveted Hart Memorial Trophy as just that. The honor is awarded to the "player judged most valuable to his team" in the National Hockey League and is voted upon by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

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Sidney Crosby Lands Ted Lindsay Award at NHL Awards Show

7:24:00 PM 0
Crosby landed the Ted Lindsay Award as the League's "most outstanding player," his second straight year doing so.

In the 2013-14 season, Crosby finished with 36 goals (7th in the NHL) and 68 assists (1st in the NHL) for 104 points, also locking in his second Art Ross Trophy since entering the League in 2005.

Fellow Lindsay Finalists Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Claude Giroux of that other Pennsylvania team had respectable seasons as well.

Getzlaf finished second in the scoring race with 87 points. His 56 assists were the 5th best in the league and Getz remained one of the most responsible defensive forwards in the game.

Claude Giroux was the barometer for the team from Philly. As he went so did the Flyers. Giroux finished third in the scoring race, notching 86 points with 28 goals and 58 assists, despite an abysmal October.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

SOURCES: Penguins Assistant Coaches Already Hired

7:25:00 PM 6
Huge rumor coming from an unnamed source within the Penguins themselves regarding the Penguins coaching search.  Click "Read More" for the info.

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2 Minutes For Being A Sissy Boy by @ChicksDigHockey

9:00:00 AM 1

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I’ve come to you today to talk about a problem that has become a black fuzzy growth on the face of hockey. A problem that stood out as an ugly embarrassment in the playoffs this year. No, I’m not talking about Pierre’s ice-side interviews,  I’m talking about embellishment : Grown men diving and flopping to entice the referees into calling penalties,

It’s shameful behavior beneath a professional athlete. Equally shameful is the on ice official who buys the embellishment. Don’t know who I blame more for it refs or players. It’s out of control. Something needs to be done.

The embellishment rule 64.1 reads:

  64.1 Diving / Embellishment – Any player who blatantly dives,
 embellishes a fall or a reaction, or who feigns an injury shall be penalized with a minor   penalty under this rule.
 A goalkeeper who deliberately initiates contact with an attacking player other than to establish position in the crease, or who otherwise acts to create the appearance of other than incidental contact with an attacking player, is subject to the assessment of a minor penalty for diving/embellishment.

The current system of calling an embellishment is all wrong. In the NHL, officials typically only call a diving penalty when they also call a minor penalty against the other team for tripping or hooking or some other infraction that results in a player being pulled down.

The scenario usually looks something like this: Player A has his stick questionably placed as to appear to hook player B. Player B feels the stick, drops his arm to trap the stick against his body, suddenly begins to convulse and falls dramatically to the ice. The referee sees this performance and calls player A for hooking. The linesman, however has seen this show before and calls embellishment. So, what the league is saying is, yes, there was a hook on this play, but since the victim embellished or exaggerated the affects of the hook, both players will be sent to the penalty box for minor penalties and the teams will skate 4-on-4. 
What came first…..the embellishment or the hook?

The first thing I think the NHL should do is change the name of the act from Embellishment to something more humiliating.  To embellish means primarily to “make (something) more attractive by the addition of decorative details or features”. That sounds perfectly honorable.  One time I was going to get rid of a lamp but I embellished it by adding some beads to the shade and a little spray paint. Still have it. Nothing wrong with embellishment. 

I vote that the infraction be changed to "Sissy Boy" as in “Brad Marchand 2 minutes for being a Sissy Boy”  AND if you’re in the box for being a sissy boy, the area should be lit up pink. Also, the chubby dude who sits in the box with the clipboard (same guy every game every team, right?)  should assist the embellisher to apply mandatory red lipstick. 

It should hurt to embellish. 

The next thing I’d do is make it a more expensive penalty. I’m not talking dollars, I’m talking minutes. As it is, embellishment is a 2 minute penalty as are most of the infractions that incite it. Making it a double minor would still penalize the initial offender for hooking or tripping, but would have the added benefit of putting the diver’s team on the penalty kill, creating a major diving deterrent.  This rule change would be even more effective in the situations when an initial penalty doesn’t prompt the dive, putting the diver’s team on a four-minute penalty kill.   

I loved that Eddie Olczyk had enough of it and called out Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban after Game 4 between the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers It’s the playoffs! Enough with the drama, have some respect for the game. It’s distracting and offensive to true fans. 

Referees are calling the game on a real-time basis and, more often than not, are calling based on the result of a given play rather than the action itself.The diving penalty is extremely subjective, but is made more obvious on replays.  Guys who play dirty are labeled “repeat offenders”. Label repeat divers. Dirty players get heftier fines and longer suspensions…..do the same for serial embellishers. It's rumored that such a list exists warning officials of certain player's propensity to dive. If the league is that aware of who the bozos are treat them the same as 'dirty players'. First time offenders should be dealt with on the ice. Beyond that, I’m in favor of a punishment scale that has a predetermined fine that increases in amount with each offense. The team should be fined double what the player is. If you want embellishment to stop, get serious about it. But I'll leave this for the next CBA

 I give you The Embellishment Hall of Shame:

P.K. Subban dives so much it was rumored the Habs had to install a hyperbaric chamber after he joined the team. During the playoffs this season in game 4 versus NYR,  Subban jumped up in the air and lifted his skates off the ice to sell an otherwise legitimate high-sticking call against Rick Nash. Subban has skills, no denying that but for such a dirty player he sure works hard to try to get other guys sent to the box.

Brad Marchand needs a lifetime ban for his diving/embellishment antics. Looking like someone that was shot by a .50 caliber round over a slight crosscheck to the back (and we don’t need an Oliver Stone-esque breakdown of the man on the grassy knoll. Back and to the left. Back and to the left) is definitely worthy of a time to sit down and feel shame.

Alex Burrows is one of the best divers and embellishment guys in the NHL. He even bit Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup final.

Daniel Carcello is another guy who plays on the dirty edge but shamelessly flops and flails to draw a penalty. Pierre McGuire called this play "complete and utter fraudulent behavior"

It pains me to include Kris Letang. However, on more than one occasion, he has resembled a fish out of water. 

Brayden Schenn dives so well I understand he's been invited to the next Olympic trials. He's a good player but is as irritating as a wedgie in public when he dives.

Ryan Kesler; with all the acting that pretty boy does you’d think someone would have cast him in a movie by now.  He was once named was named the NHL's worst diver according to a report by TSN Insider Darren Dreger.

Martin Brodeur is one of the NHL's most decorated goaltenders, but he also has a reputation of flopping down to the ice. Whenever a player encroaches ever so slightly on Brodeur's crease, he seems to fall to the ice. 
Mike Ribeiro has made a career out of diving. If you didn’t know better, one might think he had an invisible force field around him that causes him to fall to the ice when an opponent is near. 

Dustin Brown is a hardworking player who loves to hit everyone in his sight, but he is also a player that  falls down very easily. 

Yes, Sidney Crosby is absent from the list. The busted jaw and multiple concussions balanced  out the drama infractions.

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