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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pens/Flyers Go Outside... Again by @Nick422

5:16:00 PM 0
Stop us if you've heard this but the Penguins are playing in an outdoor game!

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Giving Thanks...Hockey Style by @MedinaMarie_PI

12:00:00 PM 0
(Photo credit- Pittsburgh Penguins \Twitter)
Ah, Thanksgiving.

That time of year where we gather around the table with our families (most of which we don't like) and give thanks for the blessings we have been bestowed in our lives. We stuff ourselves silly with all the turkey, stuffing and pie we can handle, and then, just as fast, many will make their ways to the stores and some of the worst portrayals of humanity will be on full display as Black Thursday/ Friday shopping ensues.

As hockey fans, especially here in Pittsburgh, we have much to be thankful for. Admittedly we have become a little spoiled and, at times, can forget just how different things could have been had fortune not favoured the bold....and the lucky.

So let's give some thanks shall we?

Give thanks to the city of Pittsburgh. You showed the NHL that the city could support a professional hockey team and have been rewarded handsomely.

Give thanks to the past, those teams that struggled to keep the team relevant.

Give thanks to the likes of Eddie Johnston and "Badger" Bob Johnson for their tireless efforts to make the club better.

Give thanks for Mario Lemieux. For his career, his vision, and for keeping the team right where it belongs. Give thanks for Jaromir Jagr and his epic flow, and his charismatic goal scoring.

Give thanks for the characters, that bring life to a team. For Phil Bourque, Chris Kunitz, Matt Cullen and Asst. Coach Mark Recchi. For Marc Andre Fleury and his pranks, Hal Gill for his chirps, and Matt Cooke with his... colorful nature.

Give thanks for Pascal Dupuis, who showed us that sometimes being brave means giving up something you love and that family comes before anything.

Be thankful for the raffle, and for lady luck. She brought us Sidney Crosby, and we can't thank her enough (have I made a rhyme?)

Be thankful for charity, and all the good the organization does for others. The smiles they bring to children, both healthy and less so. For the warm clothing and meals they provide to those in need, and the respect they give to our many veterans.

Be thankful for postseasons, some teams will never see them. Be thankful for June, and game sixes on the road.

Be thankful for 1991, 1992, 2009, 2016 and 2017 and even the years in between. Out of the darkness comes light, and the Pens are one of the brightest beacons of the NHL.

Be thankful for Wilkes and for Wheeling. Without them, there are no call ups. Without them, there may not have been back to back Cup championships.

Be thankful for the old as well as the new. For bygone eras and the outlook of the future.

Finally, be thankful for yourselves, the fans. Be thankful that you have this team. Be thankful that you aren't Flyers fans. Be thankful for all that the Penguins have been, for all that they are, and for all that they will be.

From all of us at Pens Initiative, may you and yours have a fun and safe Thanksgiving holiday. Let's Go Pens

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Rebuilding Jarred Tinordi by @disgruntledbill

1:23:00 PM 0
Tinordi wears 24....which is strange. 

This past summer the Penguins signed defenseman Jarred Tinordi to a two way contract worth $500,000 at the NHL level. Jared Tinordi is one of those names of players that sticks in the head for some reason, but why? Sure, Tinordi was Captain of the London Knights when they won the 2012 Ontario Hockey League title, but again who cares about major junior?
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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chemistry: Not Just for High Schoolers by @MedinaMarie_PI

12:00:00 PM 2

Could overall lack of team chemistry be a discerning factor on the Penguins bench?
(Photo Credit: USA Today/ SB Nation.com)
It is no secret that the Pittsburgh Penguins are suffering right now. Be it from starting the season with a daunting and abhorrent schedule, the fatigue of playing in back-to-back championships, and lack luster off season roster moves. Ineffective play and scoring droughts by key stars have also lead to the Penguins under performing in mid-November.

As much as media and fans alike would like to pin point their performance (or lack thereof) on one key factor, it just isn't possible. All of the components listed above have come together to effect one another, and effect each player, differently. Sum it all up and you have one sloppy and disjointed show.
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The Phil - 3-014 Cashing In by @ryank_119

8:00:00 AM 0

The injury gnomes are up to no good and neither is Ryan Reaves!
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Phil 3-013 A Mostly Negative Comic by @ryank_119

8:00:00 AM 0

Sullivan lays into the Penguins after a disastrous Western Canadian road trip, but like everyone else he gets distracted by some beauty flow.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What's Next for Jarry? by @disgruntledbill

9:02:00 AM 0
Tristian Jarry is up....for now 

Jim Rutherford said the plan all along was to call up DeSmith for one game against the Jets on October 29th.  This allowed Jarry to play the 27th against Hershey and the 28th in Bridgeport. Jarry was then later recalled before Pittsburgh went on their western Canada road trip. Jarry got the start against Calgary, while Murray started against the Oilers and the Canucks.

The Penguins likely are in the market for a more veteran NHL backup. Looking forward through November’s games , it doesn’t appear that there are many starts that will be heading Jarry’s way. Especially if you believe the company line that Jarry needs to play, not ride the bench the rest of the month.

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Phil - 012 Goncho the Clown by @ryank_119

2:00:00 PM 0

Busy week so it was tough getting this one out! You can see a replay of the livestream where I ink this strip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oINa1zL-qew&t=2s

We will be livestreaming the strip (hopefully) every week this year!  Follow me on Twitter so you don't miss the next one!
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Conor Sheary's Stunning Secret by @Nick422

9:49:00 AM 0
Overnight shocking news from Conor Sheary dropped by silently.  It's a revelation so surprising it'll shock you to your very core!

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

5 Tricks, 5 Treats from the Early Season by @Nick422

3:00:00 PM 0
The Penguins season has been... well... hooooo boy.  Where do we start?  However it's Halloween and things aren't all bad!  We go trick or treating with the back-to-back Stanley Cup champs!

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Too Early to Panic? by @MedinaMarie_PI

10:00:00 AM 0
"What is the meaning of October hockey...?"
(Photo credit: The Express)

The Penguins finished out the first month of the NHL regular season with a record of 7-5-1. Not too shabby but coming off yet another set of back to back games which showcased another abysmal performance and overall throttling, this one coming from the Winnipeg Jets, it's becoming clear that "Stanley Cup Hangover" is the least of whatever problem there may be.
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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Niemi Gone and DeSmith Up by @disgruntledbill

3:02:00 PM 0

Image result for antti niemi penguins
Pittsburgh Post Gazette 

Antti Niemi has played 3 games this season. Simply put he has not been good in any of those games.  Currently his GAA Is an absurd 7.49. and his save percentage is 0.797 Both marks are good enough for worst in the league.
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Monday, October 23, 2017

New Life for Kuhnhackl by @MedinaMarie_PI

2:56:00 PM 0

Around this time in 2016, my article "Kuhnhackl in the (Time Out) Corner" was published. It told of the struggles the young forward was having early on in the 2016-2017 season, his lack of playing time, and his subsequent benching that had fans and media alike scratching their heads. The 25 year old winger didn't even see much playing time during the Stanley Cup Playoffs or in the Finals due to a nagging and lingering injury.

This allowed fellow forward Scott Wilson to raise his game and put into question if Kuhnhackl, who has never been the flashiest of players, would be used as possible trade bait in the coming off season.
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Thursday, October 19, 2017

More Thrills than Phil by @Nick422

12:00:00 PM 0
Tuesday's 5-4 come from behind victory against the Rangers was a thrill ride of emotion.  With stars stepping up big and toppling a division rival in impressive fashion, the Penguins are proving to be a high octane, fun team.  And eventually that will be a problem.

Say what you will about advanced stats or deep dives into pools of data but the fact remains that outshooting your opponent is your best chance at winning.  While the Penguins have pumped 106 shots on net over the past three games (good for 35 shots per game) they're not doing so hot when it comes to shot suppression.

While the numbers aren't overwhelming in the favor of the away team, 112 shots on net against Matt Murray and Antti Niemi (good for 37 per game) isn't what you want to see as a coach or player on the stat sheet.

The 2015-16 Cup was won by overwhelming the opposition and shot suppression.  It's what made the end result so unsurprising.  The inverse was true for the 2016-17 Cup team.  They lived on the edge needing timely goals, clutch goaltending and some luck from a flailing Pekka Rinne to lift Lord Stanley.  It worked once, the odds of it working again are slim.

The regular season is a time to iron out wrinkles, that's a given.  And the Penguins had turn over like that of a typical team, not one that was perfectly placed to win back-to-back Cups with few new additions and fewer subtractions.  It's all the reason why there's little need for concern.

However the nail biting 5-4 finals, which the Penguins have seen three times this year, as well as the odd 4-3 tally (seen once) will need to be fewer than regular in order for the Penguins to see the same success they saw in the past two years as they look for a three-peat.

It's far too soon to worry or gnash your teeth in concern.  For now it's fun and fine to sit back, relax (lol jk how's your heart?), and enjoy some 1980s era fire wagon hockey.  If this continues into the new year, and past time any additions are made to shore up and third line and defense missing pieces, then we should worry.

For now let's put a three-peat on hold.  Let's put entertainment first.  We have Sid, Geno, Phil, and Tanger for a reason.  Let them shine and enjoy the ride.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Three on Three: Three Thoughts on Three Games in Three Days by @disgruntledbill

12:00:00 PM 0
The “three in three” is a uniquely American Hockey League event.  While the most recent CBA has kept teams out of action in the NHL on three nights in a row, many weekends turn into an all you can eat hockey buffet for AHL fans.  This reporter, a fan of both buffets and a hockey, gladly lived out of his car and made it to all three games in person this weekend.

Birddogging it with the scouts all weekend long. 

This past weekend WBS hosted the Phantoms on Friday (winning 5-0), then braved turnpike construction and went on the road to Allentown (losing 3-2), and finally finished up the weekend hosting the Syracuse Crunch with a 6-1 win. 
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Friday, October 13, 2017

Hornqvist: The Heartbeat of the Penguins Lineup by @MedinaMarie_PI

12:30:00 PM 1
(Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post Gazette).
It didn't matter how fans enjoyed Wednesday October 10th's game versus the Washington Capitals- be it in person at the Capital One Center, watching on television or listening on the radio- the fact that Patric Hornqvist was back on the bench and ready to finally start the season made everyone feel...different.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Now Let's Play by @Nick422

5:21:00 PM 0
The day everyone either awaited or feared arrived.  The Penguins were going to meet with Donald Trump in the White House.  It was a polarizing moment that, sexist comment about Amanda Kessel aside, went about as smoothly as it could have gone.

It was a controversy weeks in the making.  Everyone had an opinion.  You were either "stick to sports" or "don't normalize this behavior."  Externally the lock room was committed to the company line, "It's not about politics" as we further delved in to a world where "not about politics" no longer became an option.

But banner raisings, blow out losses, and finally victories kept pushing aside the fact that the Penguins, really, just wanted to play hockey.  Tone deaf or just not wanting to rock the boat, it's hard to say.  Hockey, by nature, is a game of the upper crust.  The cost of equipment makes it hard for anyone but those with a desire, and money to burn, to become a player and become accepted.

It spun narratives, one way or the next, as these situations are wont to do.  "Sidney Crosby is a racist."  seemed to be a popular overture, a new take on "Sidney Crosby is a whiner" that really isn't much better or factual.

Finally it came to a head.  As Trump complimented Crosby, Malkin, Kessel (ugh), and even brought up NAFTA to Ron Burkle, the Penguins escaped without any scrapes.  While faces can tell a story (take time to read everyone's face in the photo above) there were no signs of boats rocking, with the only potential "Actually" coming from Mike Sullivan after the fact:

Fortunate to escape being used as pawns as the NBA and the NFL have been by the current administration (perhaps the "this isn't political" comments were made to dull that possibility) the Penguins now move on to hockey and a three-peat.

Gone is the controversy.  Gone is the fear that they'll be tainted.  Vanished is the worry that they'll unwittingly partake in some sick endeavor brought up by what ever thought enters the mind of someone at a mic.

All that's left is sport.  And thank God for that.  It's a great day for hockey, now let's play.
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Friday, October 6, 2017

Every Blackhawks Goal Set to Yakety Sax by @nick422

3:30:00 PM 0
The Penguins lost last night.  Badly.  There's really no other way to put it.  When you're beaten that badly all you can do is laugh, unless you're the Penguins I suppose.

Let's all laugh.

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Dealing With Loss: 5 Positives to Take From That Drubbing by @ToonsBrian

11:20:00 AM 0

Things don't always go your way in life, love, war or sport. Exhibit A would be Thursday night's beat down of the Pittsburgh Penguins handed out by the Chicago Blackhawks. Any rationally-thinking human adult realizes this and acts accordingly.

For Blackhawks fans, this was a perfect game. For our fellow Pens fans, not so much.

For those of you who may simply find yourself struggling with dealing with the atrocious performance of our Penguins, allow me to offer 5 positives things we can all (well, most of us) take away from last night's game.
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Pouliot: He Didn’t Waive Good Bye by @disgruntledbill

12:00:00 PM 0
All of the pressure was on Derrick Pouliot. He was taken in the first round, chosen 8th overall. He was picked by the Pittsburgh Penguins at a draft in Pittsburgh. Oli Maatta (taken 22nd) and Matt Murray (taken 83rd) were both drafted after Pouliot in his draft year.  Given his higher draft spot, Pouliot was expected to be better than those two players. He was expected to have carved out a roster spot in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, these lofty expectations for Pouliot left many fans very disappointed.
It's weird not to see Mike Johnston in this photo. 

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The Phil - 007 Scratch That by @ryank_119

8:00:00 AM 1
Raise it up! Raise it up to the rafters and make room for another one!

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Penguins Trade Derrick Pouliot

1:53:00 PM 0
We all kind of waited for this moment and finally it came as the Penguins shipped woe begotten defender Derrick Pouliot to hockey Siberia and the Vancouver Canucks.

In return the Penguins pick up a 4th round pick in the 2018 draft and 24 year old, 6'5" 213 lbs defender Andrey Pedan.  Let's take a look at some Pouliot highlights.







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The Phil - 006 Friends To The End by @ryank_119

8:00:00 AM 0
Bozie to the rescue, proving that ketchup indeed is the best way to douse a toaster oven fire!
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Monday, October 2, 2017

#JagrWatch Ends, former Pens great signs with Flames

12:19:00 PM 0
All smiles from 68...he is back for another year..but not in Pittsburgh
With just days before the start of the 2017-2018 NHL regular season, and the Penguins still on the search for a reliable third line center, all eyes were on former Penguin, Jaromir Jagr. Hope abounded throughout the Penguins fan base that General Manager, Jim Rutherford, would finally pull the trigger to bring number 68 home once again.

I hate to be "that guy" but Jagr is officially not coming to Pittsburgh.

Per NHL correspondent Elliote Friedman, the Calgary Flames announced in the late morning hours of October 2nd that they had struck a deal with the 45 year old veteran in the terms of a one year contract worth $1 million dollars plus $1 million in bonuses.

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The Phil - 005 Coach's Weakness by @ryank_119

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Phil - 002 Phil Down by @ryank_119

8:00:00 AM 0
I hear it's not good to drop these new phones... or own one for more than a year.
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Phil - 001 Walking Tall by @ryank_119

8:00:00 AM 0

We're back and better than ever! The Phil is out and about the town this week and something doesn't seem right with that sports store employee. 

Come back again tomorrow for another strip. And the next day for another. And another the next day... 6 days of The Phil to start the season!
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Dark Shadow in the Great White North by @MedinaMarie_PI

12:30:00 PM 0

Hockey Principle number eight: "We believe programs should provide a safe, positive and INCLUSIVE environment for players and families regardless of race, color, RELIGION, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economical status. Simply put HOCKEY IS FOR EVERYONE."

It is with this principle in mind, as well as the following tweet, that brings me to writing this piece. (Note: obscene language)
Talha Javaid is a 21-year old former hockey player out of Windsor, Canada, who is beloved by his friends, family, and even his Twitter followers. He jokes, he chirps his former team mates in tweet form any chance he gets, and idolizes Senators defenseman, Erik Karlsson. He loves the game and though he hung up the skates in March after suffering a severe concussion, Javaid still likes to get out on the ice from time to time.

He also happens to be Muslim.

Since the tragic events that unfolded in America on 9/11, the prejudice, profiling, and fear of anyone of middle eastern decent has risen to astronomical heights. That mind-set seems to have flooded over the northern most border more than once thought.

On the evening of Sunday September 24, 2017, after leaving his local rink, Javiad found the note pictured above on his car. What is even more shocking is the sad truth that he expected something like this it to happen sooner than when it did.

I spoke with Javaid regarding the incident and he had this to say regarding his initial reaction:
"Honestly, it was weird. Like, a part of me of me was like 'wow, that took longer than I thought it would.' Expected it happen way sooner."

Javaid later tweeted to a friend that he contemplating buying a dash camera in order to try and capture any other incidents.

Though it may be an isolated incident by possibly a jealous opponent, it once again brings the issue of racial profiling to the forefront in a sport that claims to be open and welcoming to all. The NHL, the governing body of professional hockey that began in Canada, the foundation of on which dreams of hockey glory are built, developed and implemented their "Declaration of Principles" earlier in September 2017 in the hopes to make the game of hockey a safe place for all who want to be involved in the game at any level: from beer league to bantam all the way to the pros and everything in between. It is this writers belief and profound opinion that those found to be in breech of these principles, and are caught, should face severe punishment. It's not just words...it's hate speech. There is no room for that at any time.

Thankfully, Javaid has had nothing but an outpouring of love and support for friends and fellow hockey players both in person and online. He refuses to let the incident effect him or his life  and continues to hold his head high.

So what would he say to anyone else who has or may have a run in such as this?
"Honestly, just try to ignore it. And yeah that's hard but there really isn't much you can do about it. Take the high road and kill them with kindness because I promise you it's a hell of a lot more effective. Don't give the person who did it the satisfaction of getting you riled up."

In addition, I would like to add that the world is full of enough darkness. There is no law saying we all have to get along, but at the very least, we should respect each other regardless of differences. Whether we are a fan, writer, player, coach, whatever, we are one hockey family. It's our job to support one another in the game we love and in everyday life rather than tear each other down.

Hockey is for everyone.....principle number eight.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Penguins Going to White House is a Mistake by @Nick422

2:04:00 PM 14
“Stick to Sports” is dead.

There is no more debating this.  The moment the 45th president of the United States called for the firing of athletes exercising their Constitutional right to silently protest police brutality, going so far as to call the leader of the movement Colin Kaepernick a “son of a bitch”,  and remaining argument of “Stick to Sports” ended.

It’s what made the Penguins noon time release, done in the middle of an NFL news cycle debating whether more players would join the Ravens and Jaguars lead from this morning’s NFL game in kneeling and standing in unity, all the more tone deaf and pointless.

Done in the manner of the old time 5pm Friday news dump, the Penguins announced they would be accepting Donald Trump’s invitation to the White House to celebrate their second consecutive championship.  This after Trump disinvited Steph Curry from the Golden State Warriors’ visit (a day after Curry said he would not be attending).

Their release cited their visits to George H. W. Bush and Barrack Obama as their bipartisan acceptance of prior celebrations.  What they ignore in doing so is that these presidents did not actively seek to turn a nation against each other.  What they ignore in doing so is gloss over the President’s vicious attack on his citizen’s first amendment rights while gleefully praising white supremacy that was responsible for a murder.  What they ignore in doing so is that silence or acceptance of this administration, one that has from the start fed on bigotry, mysogeny, anti-semetism, and racism while doing all they can to silence and squash anyone not rich or white.

What they’ve done by continuing to accept the invitation to normalize an administration bent on harming this country at every possible term for anyone not rich and white.  By placing the honus on their players as to whether they want to attend, and do the right thing, they’ve put targets on individual players backs.

The best course of action for the Penguins is to decline a visit like the Warriors and UNC Tar Heels.  Playing both fields and straddling the fence while trying not to be political is now political with Trump’s words.  Silence is acceptance.  Acceptance is complicity.
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Transformation Tuesday: Mario Lemieux

12:00:00 PM 1
It's the summer and that means it's time for some fun.  Throughout the summer we'll be running Transformation Tuesday.  We take a look at current Pittsburgh Penguins now and back at the time of their draft.  We end the summer with the King Penguin himself, Mario Lemieux.

Before he saved the Penguins, he was the savior of the Penguins.  Drafted #1 overall in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, he came as a fresh face out of Montreal.  Expectations were huge on his shoulders, but no one expected how far they'd be exceeded.

Thank you, Mario.  Without you this blog isn't possible, let alone the past 30+ years of memories.

Thank you for following Transformation Tuesday all summer.  Tonight the preseason begins for the 2017-2018 season.  Stay with us as we have you covered on the Penguins trek on the three-peat.
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