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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Transformation Tuesday: Patric Horqvist

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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.  Today's post: The very last draft pick, Patric Hornqvist


We're used to seeing the burly Swede with his bushy beard but this baby faced goalie bully first took the ice with Nashville and had the softest face.  Drafted last in 2004, making him the perfect book end for Sidney Crosby, the Game 6 hero found his home in Pittsburgh after a swap that sent James Neal going the other way.  Everyone was better for it.






Stupid sexy Swedes.

Join us again next week for Transformation Tuesday.
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Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Flashback: Stanley Cup #2

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Summer gives us time to look back and reflect on the hockey season.  It gives us time to remember years gone by.  It's time to go back and remember some of the most memorable moments in team history.  This week it's time for Sir Stanley's second trip to Pittsburgh.


The Penguins learned how hard it would be to win the Cup in 1991.  They knew, based on the year before, that changes would be made to the team to get them there.  The moves that would do it seemed bold and surprising at the time, but would prove to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Starting with trade Paul Coffey to the Los Angeles Kings, they would then trade young gun Mark Recchi to hated rival Philadelphia for Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson, and Ken Wregget.  These moves helped shake up and form a team that came in to the playoffs in third place but would look to repeat as champions.

First came the Washington Capitals.  Six games is all it took to break them.  Next up?  The Rangers and The Slash.  A slash to the hand of Mario Lemieux by Adam Graves broke 66's hand and left him sidelined for five games as the Penguins went on to close the Rangers out in five games with Graves missing the remaining three of the series with a suspension from his slash.

The Penguins played with a new poise and purpose after seeing Mario go down.  From that point on they would not lose a game.  Three in a row against the Rangers led to a four game sweep of the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Their next opponent in the Cup?  The Chicago Blackhawks.  Only four wins stood between the Penguins and their second second straight up and it would take them just four games to reach that mark.



11 straight wins to close out the playoffs, a total domination of the NHL's best from the second round on.  It was the hallmark of the second Cup for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The perfect way to close out two in a row, the second of what seemed like many more to come.  Unfortunately the league chose another option.

The trap, injuries, and an escalating salary structure would harm the Penguins best chances at any more Cups in the Lemieux/Jagr era.  As a result we're all left with a sense of "what if" and "what could have been" that will never truly be resolved.

Join us next week for Friday Flashback.
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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Transformation Tuesday: Olli Maatta

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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.  This week we look at Olli Maatta.



Maatta, an NHL veteran, turns 23 today.  What better way to celebrate than to look back ALLLLL the way back to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, where the Penguins took Maatta 22nd overall.




Aw damn it, he doesn't look any different.  Happy birthday, Olli.  Enjoy your balcony responsibly.

Join us again next week for Transformation Tuesday.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Flashback: Stanley Cup #1

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Summer gives us time to look back and reflect on the hockey season.  It gives us time to remember years gone by.  It's time to go back and remember some of the most memorable moments in team history.  This week it's back to 1991 as the Penguins beat the Minnesota North Stars to capture their first Stanley Cup.


Mario had been in Pittsburgh since 1984 and while regular season success hadn't been an issue, amassing MVPs and scoring titles, the post season was different.  It was a beast he could not conquer as the team around him just couldn't keep up with Super Mario.

That all changed in 1991 as a series of moves by Craig Patrick added the pop needed to elevate the Penguins to the next level.  The additions of Larry Murphy from Minnesota (whoops) as well as Ron Francis and Ulf Samuelsson from Hartford deepened the Penguins in a way the franchise had never seen.

Once in the playoffs the 16 wins they needed would come as they battled through New Jersey (with the help of The Save), Washington, Boston and eventually the North Stars.  Finally in Game 6 the unthinkable happened: Lord Stanley came to Pittsburgh.


The top of the mountain was finally there for Mario.  Little did he know the next peak was right around the corner.

Join us next week for Friday Flashback.
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Transformation Tuesday: Justin Schultz

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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.  Today's victim: Justin Schultz


Schultz was drafted 43rd overall by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft out of the University of Wisconsin but caused a stir when he refused to sign with them, instead opting for free agency and signing with the Edmonton Oilers.  A trade to the Penguins late in the 2015-16 season gave his career new life and here we are now!  Looking back on his baby face!




He still didn't have all of his teeth, even back then.

Join us again next week for Transformation Tuesday.
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Phil! Does It Again with Instagram

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"Breaking the internet" is a term as cliche as the people it generally applies to but one Pittsburgh Penguin has done a fine job of putting cracks in it over the past few years and sure enough, Phil Kessel's done it again.  This time with an Instagram post.


Two Time Stanley Cup Champion Phil Kessel (now his given name) took to Instagram to post about his day with the Cup and he proves why he's such a beaut.



When you've won the Cup twice, and you were invaluable to winning both times, the world is your oyster and the Cup is your sandwich holder.  Eat up, Phil.  You're a gem.

Follow Phil on Instagram here to let him know how much you love the photo.  And him.


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Friday, August 11, 2017

The Phil - 040 - The Goose is Cooked by @ryank_119

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Had to do something special for Sid, even though it's a bit late!
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Friday Flashback: Mario Returns from Cancer Treatment

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Summer gives us time to look back and reflect on the hockey season.  It gives us time to remember years gone by.  It's time to go back and remember some of the most memorable moments in team history.  Today we look at Mario's biggest comeback: from cancer


On January 12th, 1993, Mario Lemieux dropped a bomb that shocked the sporting world: he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer that starts in the white blood cells.  He had to stop playing immediately to begin treatment as the hockey, and sporting, world watched one of its biggest stars deal with something earth shattering.

On the morning of March 2nd, 1993, Mario finished his final treatment.  Undeterred he hopped on a plane and flew to Philadelphia, dead set on playing that night after missing 23 straight games.  That night he made his return in front of a usually hostile Flyers crowd.  That night would be different.

Before puck drop Mario took the ice.  As he skated out prior to the anthem an usual sound came from the Flyers faithful in the crowd: cheers.  Loud, bountiful cheers welcomed back the best player in the NHL.


The Penguins would go on to lose 5-4 that night but with a goal Mario truly won.  Not looking like he'd missed a beat, Mario returned from fighting cancer to play a total of 60 games that year and register a mind numbing 161 points.  Super Mario proved super once again and defeated his greatest foe to date in doing so.

Join us next week for Flashback Friday.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Transformation Tuesday: Jim Rutherford

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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.  Today we look at the man who does the drafting: Jim Rutherford


Before he was a three time Cup winning general manager, Jim Rutherford was a goalie.  Taken 10th overall in the 1969 (nice) NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, GMJR saw action with the Red Wings, Penguins, Maple Leafs, and Kings before he became the guy in charge of things.




At least he wore a mask.

Join us next week for Transformation Tuesday.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Flashback: The 2005 NHL Draft Lottery

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Summer gives us time to look back and reflect on the hockey season.  It gives us time to remember years gone by.  It's time to go back and remember some of the most memorable moments in team history.  This edition remembers the 2005 NHL Draft Lottery.



The 2005 NHL Entry Draft was an odd one.  On the tail end of a lockout that cost the entire 2004-05 NHL season, it would be held as a true lottery.  Any team had a shot at the #1 overall pick that year, no matter how good or bad they were.  There were weights to the draft.  Most losing seasons, least times choosing #1 overall, crab rangoon, things of that nature.

By far the worst team in the NHL the season before, the Pittsburgh Penguins, tanked hard to stay financially afloat but with the hope of landing high draft picks.  They missed out on the sure fire #1 overall pick that season, Alex Ovechkin, just to settle on some guy named Evgeni Malkin.  Oddly enough, this "unfortunate" situation would give the Penguins one extra lottery ball.  That extra ball would be enough to start a dynasty.

For thirty heart pounding minutes Penguins fans watched the Draft Lottery.  No Penguins in the picks 30-20.  They weren't called 20-10.  Nothing in 10-6.  Pick #5?  The Canadiens (Carey Price) The 4th?    The Minnesota Wild (Benoit Pouliot)  Third overall?  The Carolina Hurricanes (Jack Johnson).

It came to the top two and the Penguins were in the hunt with the Ducks.  Then things changed.  The next name pulled would belong to the lottery winner.  And that winner was... well...


Let's look back at the moment Sid was taken.


How do you like us now, NHL?

Join us next week for a new Friday Flashback.
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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Former RMU Colonial and Hobey Baker Finalist Inks AHL Deal

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All the hard work could pay off for Wydo
Early Wednesday morning on August 2 ,2017, the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Penguins announced that they has signed Cody Wydo to an AHL contract for the 2017-18 season.

Who is Cody Wydo?

Wydo is the player who almost single handily put the Robert Morris University hockey name on the map of teams to watch for.

In 2011, the Robert Morris University hockey team was basically still unknown. The program was only in its seventh official NCAA season and hadn't boasted any fantastic achievements since it's inception in 2004.

Then Cody Wydo showed up.

A native of Southgate, Michigan, Wydo would go on to letter all four years he played for the Colonials and serve as Captain his senior year. At nearly a point-per-game throughout his college playing career, he would put up 150 points in 151 games played. He was an integral part of the Colonials 7-4 victory in the 2014-15 Atlantic Hockey Tournament championship where he was named to the All-Tournament Team as well as awarded tournament MVP.

Those stats would lead to Wydo being named as a Hobey Baker finalist- a first in school history.

As an undrafted forward, Wydo would get a shot at playing professional hockey after signing with the Wheeling Nailers in 2014, the ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. In his two years as a Nailer, Wydo would put up impressive numbers: 116 points (54G-62A) in 138 games played. He would help lead the team to the Kelly Cup championship series in 2016 (the Nailers would lose the series four games to two to the Allen Americans).

Last season, being the leader of the Nailers team with 30 goals and 60 points, Wydo would join the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins on a PTO (professional try out agreement) on April 7, 2017 and play in three total games for the club. He would tally his first AHL goal the following day, April 8, versus the Providence Bruins.

The WBS Penguins, a team that includes a slew of other former Wheeling Nailers, open their season Oct. 7 2017 versus the Charlotte Checkers at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.


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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Transformation Tuesday: Mike Sullivan

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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 switch it up today and look at Mike Sullivan


Before he was coach of the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions, Mike Sullivan was an NHL player with stops in Calgary, San Jose, and Phoenix/Arizona where he yelled at people on the ice.




He really doesn't look any different, does he?

Join us next week for Transformation Tuesday.
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