Sidney Crosby, Evegeni Malkin

Penguins GM says Malkin might draw team’s highest salary


The Pittsburgh Penguins made a massive investment by signing Sidney Crosby to a 12-year, $104.4 million deal, but re-signing Evgeni Malkin might even be more expensive. At least on average.

Penguins GM Ray Shero admitted to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he “discussed the likelihood” of Malkin becoming the team’s highest-paid player with Crosby during their June 2012 contract discussions.

Making that happen won’t be easy; both Malkin’s and Kris Letang’s contracts expire after the 2014-15 campaign.

“I did not anticipate what the salary-cap number would be, but I‘ve said over the years that you had to anticipate the (last labor contract) was ending,” Shero said. “And I wanted to be in a position to sign (captain Sidney) Crosby, Malkin and (defenseman Kris) Letang.”

Shero didn’t explain how he could pull that off, however.

It remains to be seen if Malkin’s annual cap hit climbs from his current one, which matches Crosby’s $8.7 million mark. Letang should expect a massive bump from his $3.5 million rate, on the other hand.

Could that mean a buyout for someone who had a disappointing season for his price like $5 million defenseman Paul Martin? That’s unclear, but here’s what Shero had to say about him:

“He‘s embarrassed by the year he had,” Shero said. “He‘s promised to be the player we know he is, but it‘s up to Paul to bounce back.”

And then it will be up to Shero to decide who comes back, in the long run.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: