Malkin Gonchar

Report: Penguins GM interested in getting Gonchar back after lockout


Over the course of the lockout, Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin have been reunited while playing for the KHL’s Magnitogorsk Metallurg. This might not be the last time the two play together before Gonchar hangs up his skates.

Gonchar is in the last campaign of his three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Ottawa Senators, but Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero is interested in getting him back, according to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun’s league sources.

Of course, when this lockout ends and what Gonchar’s status is when it’s all over will be key determining factors. It’s possible that Shero will end up pursuing Gonchar as an unrestricted free agent.

Gonchar’s tenure with the Ottawa Senators didn’t start on a high note, but he did bounce back last season with 37 points in 74 games. He also averaged 22:15 minutes per contest and was a significant contributor for the Senators with the man advantage.

Getting Gonchar should be a plus for the Penguins from a leadership perspective. He’s a veteran voice that many member of the Penguins are already familiar with thanks to his last stint with the club. Malkin in particular would be thrilled after thanking Sergei Gonchar in particular during his Hart Trophy acceptance speech.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
1 Comment

Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
1 Comment

Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen