Penguins on the verge of landing Alexei Ponikarovsky

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Poni.jpgView imageTSN’s Bob McKenzie just reported that the Pittsburgh Penguins have won the Alexei Ponikarovsky sweepstakes, though Pittsburgh still needs to cross the ts and dot the lower case j’s. That didn’t take long, did it?

“Sources tell TSN a deal is in place for forward Alexei Ponikarovsky to be traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for prospect Luca Caputi but at this point, Pittsburgh has to move a contract for salary cap reasons first.

Sources say the deal may be completed tonight.”
As I wrote in the last post, Ponikarovsky brings a solid mix of size, skill and two-way play at a reasonable cap hit. My guess is that he could be a decent fit alongside Evgeni Malkin, who is struggling a bit this season (if you call 65 points in 55 games “struggling” that is).
Toronto Maple Leafs fans might want a little more insight on prospect Luca Caputi. Since my analysis basically begins and ends with “funny name” I’ll leave it to the guys at Hockey’s Future.
“Caputi has all of the physical tools to develop into a power forward at the NHL level. At 6-2, 184 pounds, Caputi’s game is based upon paying a price physically. He scores a lot of his goals from in front of the net, and is more than willing to muck it up in the corners. One area where Caputi must improve is his skating, where his initial stride is not as quick as it needs to be.”

[Update at 11:10 pm EST] – The deal is official. The updated trade is Ponikarovsky for Caputi and Martin Skoula. As many have said, Skoula was traded mainly to clear salary cap space.

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…