Pittsburgh Penguins announce their all-time team, surprise no one with selections

penguinsalltimers.jpgIn an effort to help get fans in Pittsburgh excited about the upcoming season and opening of their new CONSOL Energy Center, the Penguins have announced the Penguins All-Time team. As you might expect, the team is loaded with players from their back-to-back Stanley Cup teams of the early 1990s.

Mario Lemieux

Ron Francis

Jaromir Jagr

Kevin Stevens

Rick Kehoe

Jean Pronovost

Paul Coffey

Larry Murphy

Ulf Samuelsson

Tom Barrasso

Joe Mullen

Syl Apps

Dave Burrows

Les Binkley

Pierre Larouche

Nine of those 15 players were all members of at least one of the Penguins Stanley Cup teams of the 90s. Success can help fill out memories of the past pretty clearly. While this team is likely to add a few members in about 20 years time, this group as it is pretty amazing to see when you reflect back on those championship teams.

Lemieux, Francis and Jagr all speak for themselves. Kevin Stevens was the power forward hired gun that worked along side Lemieux adding extra muscle down low to allow Lemieux the extra room to maneuver on the ice. What Coffey and Murphy did on defense is incredible considering Coffey was coming over from Edmonton where he’d already won three Cups. Winning one more with Pittsburgh helped cement his legacy. Larry Murphy was part of both Penguins Cup winners, meanwhile Ulf Samuelsson cemented his own legacy as one of the most vicious defensemen in the league.Tom Barrasso was the ornery goaltender who backstopped both of those championship teams and Joe Mullen was the unsung American winger that provided extra goal-scoring punch working alongside Ron Francis.

It’s a solid list and while there’s no doubt that we’ll see the likes of Crosby, Malkin and Gonchar on such a list in years to come, you’ve got to wonder who would coach this team based on the Penguins past. Would it be “Badger” Bob Johnson who coached the 1991 team? How about Scotty Bowman who coached the 1992? Do you give it to Dan Bylsma just because he’s the new guy on the scene? Perhaps just giving it to Rick Kehoe since he made it as a player on this list would be most fun. You don’t see player-coaches anymore so why not do it for a fun list instead.

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    Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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    The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

    San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

    The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

    Here’s the goal:

    Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

    Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

    Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

    Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

    The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

    Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

    The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

    Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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    It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

    After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

    In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

    You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

    Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

    It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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    You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

    After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

    “Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

    “I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

    After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

    “We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

    And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

    Related:

    Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

    Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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    Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

    Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

    Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

    “Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

    To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

    This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.