After 18 seasons in the NHL, sniper and goal scorer extraordinaire Bill Guerin is retiring from the NHL.
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Guerin’s intentions in a news release this morning. Over Guerin’s 18 seasons, he scored 429 goals and racked up 427 assists over a career spent with eight different teams. Guerin was originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the first round of the 1989 NHL Draft as the fifth overall selection out of Boston College. Guerin was a member of the 1995 Devils team that won the Stanley Cup over Detroit. Guerin would again haunt the Red Wings in 2009 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins when they won the Cup in seven games.
It’s fitting to have Guerin retire as a Pittsburgh Penguin as that’s where he played his final two seasons and had his last bit of team success. Guerin did have a tryout with the Philadelphia Flyers during the preseason but did not make the cut as his skating speed isn’t what it used to be. The Penguins certainly aren’t holding it against him for trying to latch on with the Flyers. As for retirement, Guerin had this to say about finally hanging it up in Steel City.
“We were only here a short time but my family and I developed such a deep connection to the city, the team and the fans,” Guerin said. “It was amazing. From ownership and Ray Shero to the coaching staff and trainers, from my teammates to the arena workers to the people in the stands, they all treated us in such a first-class manner. It was an extremely positive experience. We all agree that retiring as a Pittsburgh Penguin is the perfect thing to do.”
The Penguins will honor Guerin before the start of tonight’s game against the Devils, a thoughtful nod to him to do it in front of the team that drafted him.
Guerin finishes his career sixth all time amongst American NHLers in goal scoring with 429 goals. If you’re curious how far behind fifth place he was, playing two or three more years at best may have gotten him to catch up to Pat LaFontaine at 468. For Guerin, it’s the end of a great career as a key contributor to many teams and serving as the captain of at least one of them (Islanders).
Coming up as a brash and even temperamental scorer in New Jersey and Boston and eventually mellowing out as a key veteran cog on Long Island and in Pittsburgh was key for Guerin to land on a Cup-winning team in Pittsburgh. Closing out his career the way he did scoring 21 goals and 24 assists last year is pretty impressive in its own right. Being the veteran presence in a very young Pittsburgh locker room that needed guidance will be the legacy many fans, new and old alike, will remember.
With their season on the line on Friday night the Philadelphia Flyers are making a change in goal.
Michal Neuvirth, who has played just 59 minutes of NHL hockey since Feb. 18, will get the Game 5 start in goal when they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Neuvirth replaced Brian Elliott in Philadelphia’s Game 4 loss on Wednesday night after Elliott gave up three goals on 17 shots, the second time he was benched in the first four games. The Flyers have already used three goalies in this series with Elliott, Neuvirth, and Petr Mrazek all getting playing time. None of them have played well.
Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers, William Karlsson of the Vegas Golden Knights, and Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres have been named as the three finalists for the 2018 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, the NHL announced on Friday. The award, voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, is given “to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
The winner will be announced during the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 20.
The Case for Aleksander Barkov: The Panthers center certainly has the “high standard of playing ability” part down with a season that saw him lead the team with 78 points and finish tied for third in goals with 27. Barkov played the fifth-most minutes (1,743:32) among NHL forwards and only picked up seven minor penalties. This is the second time he’s been named a finalist in the last three seasons.
The Case for William Karlsson: Karlsson had a monster of a season with 43 goals and 78 points during the Golden Knights’ historic first year. In playing 1,534:47, the 25-year-old forward racked up only 12 PIMs. Should Karlsson win, he would become the first player to win an end-of-season trophy for a team in its inaugural season since Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers won the Byng and Hart Trophy and in 1979-80.
The Case for Ryan O'Reilly: O’Reilly missed one game this season and logged 1,686:10 of ice time for the Sabres. He recorded only one penalty all season, way back on Oct. 24 versus Detroit, a slashing call. His one penalty is the fewest among NHL players who suited up for at least 41 games this season. He’s a previous winner having taken home the trophy in 2014 while a member of the Colorado Avalanche.