Cam Tucker

Penguins equipment manager surprises young girl with leukemia with Stanley Cup visit

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Here’s a heart-warming Stanley Cup story out of Pittsburgh.

Penguins equipment manager Danny Kroll had his day with the Stanley Cup on Saturday. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he decided to visit and bring the historic championship trophy to six-year-old Darran Dunlap, who is battling leukemia.

She was diagnosed in November at the age of five. Her father, Colin Dunlap, is a sports talk radio show host in Pittsburgh. He posted a video of the moment his daughter was surprised with the Stanley Cup at their doorstep.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Fast forward to Wednesday, the day of the Penguins parade. Kroll texted Dunlap, said he thought he’d have the Cup for a couple hours on Saturday. He instructed Dunlap to keep his schedule open.

Colin and Raina never told the kids. They simply said that dad’s friend Danny was stopping by the house.

Then Kroll picked up the Cup at PPG Paints Arena, sent Colin a text on his way and showed up, Cup in tow.

“She went crazy,” Colin said of his daughter.

Dad was pretty emotional, too.

Colin said he lost it. Tears started flowing.

“I haven’t cried a lot through all of this,” he explained. “Your kid looks up to you. In order for them to stay strong, you have to stay strong. The diagnosis was one thing. You think, ‘We can’t change this. Let’s see how we’re going to beat it.’

It’s always neat to catch up on how folks celebrate their day with the Stanley Cup. It was great to see such a special moment for the Dunlap family.

Report: Flames have left Brouwer unprotected in expansion draft

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Last July, Troy Brouwer cashed in, signing a four-year, $18 million deal with the Calgary Flames. Less than a full year later, it looks like he will indeed be left unprotected in the Vegas expansion draft.

This wouldn’t be too much of a surprise. The writing seemed to be on the wall for several weeks now, with reports in April the Flames were likely going to expose Brouwer in the expansion draft.

He turns 32 years old in August and comes with an annual $4.5 million cap hit.

According to Eric Francis of Sportsnet and Postmedia, here is the Flames’ reported protected list. The NHL has not announced any of the protected lists, which will be made public Sunday morning.

In his first season with the Flames, Brouwer scored 13 goals and 25 points — his lowest single-season point total since becoming a full-time NHLer in 2008-09 with Chicago — and missed eight games with a broken finger.

Sounds like Coyotes GM John Chayka isn’t done dealing

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The Arizona Coyotes have made a couple of notable trades in the past 24 hours, and while the league’s trade/waiver freeze is in effect until Thursday, they may not be done dealing over the next few days and weeks.

After acquiring Nick Cousins from Philadelphia on Friday (read about it here) and trading goalie Mike Smith to Calgary (read about it here), the Coyotes are reportedly one of a number of teams interested in Rangers’ center Derek Stepan, and general manager John Chayka suggested Saturday there could be more moves to come.

“Until we determine exactly what we can do with these newly allocated resources, it’s still to be determined what the real return is in this trade,” said Chayka of the Smith deal during a conference call.

“This move wasn’t made in isolation. It was made to set up other moves to improve our club.”

Read more: Coyotes reportedly have ‘serious interest’ in Rangers’ Stepan

The Coyotes retained 25 per cent of Smith’s salary in the deal, and they now have about $30 million in cap space for next season — in addition to newly acquired prospects and assets from these most recent trades.

One of the offseason needs now for the Coyotes will be to shore up their goaltending, which they can tend to through the trade market — there have been a number of notable goalie deals this offseason — or free agency.

They acquired the rights to pending unrestricted free agent Chad Johnson in the Smith trade, and already have 25-year-old Louis Domingue under contract for one more season at just over $1 million before he’s slated to become a restricted free agent.

“In terms of a void, I think there’s lots of options out there. It’s something we’re obviously very active in right now and hopefully we can get a good goaltender in there that can help our group next year,” said Chayka.

Does that include the newly acquired Chad Johnson?

“I think it’s a possibility, just like I think there’s a lot of good goaltenders out there and from year to year, the variance is quite high. Sometimes, good goalies have bad years and average goalies have exceptional years,” said Chayka.

“I think Chad had a good career for himself as a back-up, had an excellent year, last year, and there’s a chance he could be a starter in this league. Right now, we’re just sorting through all the different options and he’d be one of them.”

Penguins promote Mike Buckley to goaltending coach

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The Pittsburgh Penguins lost goaltending coach Mike Bales to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, but quickly filled the void by announcing the promotion of Mike Buckley.

Buckley goes from the Penguins’ goalie development coach, a position he held for the past four years to the goaltender coach in Mike Sullivan’s staff.

“We are excited to have Mike Buckley join the Pittsburgh staff,” said Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford in a statement.

“He has tutored our young goalies, especially Matt Murray, for a number of years, making this a seamless transition for our group. We certainly appreciate the contributions from Mike Bales throughout his time with our club. He was invaluable to our team, and especially our goaltenders, during our Stanley Cup runs the past two seasons.”

Now, new details are emerging about how Bales’ time in Pittsburgh ended.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Suffice to say, Mike Bales was surprised when Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford and coach Mike Sullivan pulled him into an office this past Thursday, the day after the team’s Stanley Cup parade, and told Bales he was out as the team’s goaltending coach.

“I wasn’t expecting that coming off two Cups in a row,” Bales explained in a phone interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Saturday night.

Interesting times for the Penguins as it concerns to their goaltending.

Werenski has started summer training after season-ending facial fracture

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Zach Werenski‘s postseason came to a premature end due to a facial fracture suffered during the opening round versus Pittsburgh.

However, there is good news concerning the Calder Trophy finalist.

Werenski told NHL.com that he received medical clearance two weeks ago and has resumed his offseason on-ice and off-ice workouts.

“I sat around four to five weeks (after being injured),” Werenski said. “That was a little bit different but that’s what the trainers were telling me, ‘just take more time off this year, you played a lot of games.’ So it worked out well that I had a reason to sit home and do nothing.

“I’ve started doing my workout program. I was itching to get back at it, so I had to get out on the ice too and work on some things. I’ve hopped out there quite a bit just working on some skills, shooting, doing some stick handling. Nothing too crazy.”

Werenski took a puck to the face in Game 3 against the Penguins, resulting in a fractured orbital bone.

The 19-year-old defenseman shared a grisly photo of the bloodshed — stitches and a scar under his right eye, which was almost completely swollen shut and black — from his Twitter account, but ultimately couldn’t return to the series because of his injury.

That ended an impressive season for Werenski, who is a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie after scoring 11 goals and 47 points in 78 regular season games. He led all Columbus defensemen in points. He’s up for the award against Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine.