Pending UFA Dupuis ‘absolutely’ wants to re-up with Pittsburgh

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If Pascal Dupuis has it his way, he’ll be sticking with the Penguins.

That’s the word out of Pittsburgh, anyway, as the veteran winger — who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer — recently spoke with the Tribune-Review about his future.

“Yes,” Dupuis responded when asked if he wanted to re-sign. “That is absolutely what I want.”

Dupuis will be an interesting case to follow. Despite the fact he turns 34 next month and is closing in on 800 career games, the case could be made that he’s getting better with age.

Dupuis posted a career-high 25 goals last year (the most he scored since he was 23), has developed chemistry with Pens captain Sidney Crosby and is averaging over 17 minutes this season — 2:17 of that shorthanded — while sitting tied for third on the team in goals, with seven.

Based on that resume, it’s hard to imagine Pittsburgh wouldn’t want him back.

And considering Dupuis’ already made his intentions known, the discussion will likely turn to dollars and term.

He’s in the final season of a two-year, $3 million deal, one of the league’s better bargains considering his production.

The problem, of course, is that Pittsburgh’s projected cap payroll is at $53 million next year (with the cap ceiling at $64.3) — leaving about $10 million in spending money.

GM Ray Shero has decisions to make on other UFAs as well (Matt Cooke, Craig Adams, Mark Eaton) and a quartet of RFAs (Tyler Kennedy, Zach Boychuk, Dustin Jeffrey, Robert Bortuzzo).

Dupuis’ agent, Allan Walsh, said he isn’t looking to start negotiations with Shero now, but did note that he and Dupuis would be open to listening if Pittsburgh had anything to offer.

Shero admitted he admires what Dupuis brings as a player.

“He’s in great shape,” Shero told the Tribune-Review. “He can really shoot the puck. He’s solid defensively. There’s a lot of trust to his game, from his linemates to the coaching staff.

“He’s certainly matured as a player.”

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.