Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel

Matthew Barnaby has heard that Crosby and Lemieux had a ‘big falling out’


Every day there seems to be another “thing” about the Pittsburgh Penguins.

We say “thing,” because we’re not really sure how to categorize it. It’s never anything concrete. It’s smoke, without definitive proof of a fire.

But whether it’s Evgeni Malkin saying the Penguins are “mad at each other”…or Guy Lafleur wondering if Sidney Crosby should try and find a new team…or a prominent NHL reporter like Elliotte Friedman talking about the “very tense environment” in the organization…

The clear insinuation is that all is not well in Pittsburgh.

The latest “thing”?

Ex-Penguin Matthew Barnaby has “looked into it” and what’s he’s heard is that Crosby and co-owner Mario Lemieux have had a “big falling out.”

“Now whether that pushes them to move him at some point? Whether he wants to move? That I don’t know,” Barnaby said today on SiriusXM, via Puck Daddy.

Again, it’s all just scuttlebutt at this point. After Malkin’s “mad at each other” remark, the players insisted that that wasn’t true. Malkin said he didn’t mean it that way.

So choose for yourself what to believe.

But despite the winning record, unless this team starts playing the way it was designed to play — i.e. scoring a lot of goals, not the 26th-most in the NHL — don’t be surprised if you hear more “things.”

The Penguins host St. Louis tonight.

Another frustrating night for Crosby (and this time Penguins lose)


Brandon Dubinsky was absent from the Columbus Blue Jackets’ lineup, but that didn’t stop that team from accomplishing the unofficial goal of getting under the Pittsburgh Penguins’ skin.

They frustrated Pittsburgh often in this one, as could be seen in the rocky night for Sidney Crosby (not to mention Patric Hornqvist‘s frustrations late in the game).

Hornqvist channeled some of that energy into a goal and a near-tying-tally that was rightfully waved off, yet the Blue Jackets ultimately scored a 2-1 win on Friday.

Beyond that, um, “exchange” with Fedor Tyutin, Crosby didn’t have a good night. He finished without a point to continue a terrible start – at least by his lofty standards – and also seemed to nearly get injured.

The Penguins have a chance to really soak up some points if they can get things together.

After tomorrow’s road game against the New Jersey Devils, they play four straight in Pittsburgh and five of six at home.

That argues for a positive span, although it could be a curse disguised as a blessing if this offensive funk translates to more defeats.

Meanwhile, Columbus isn’t setting the world on fire with John Tortorella, although they are 5-4-0 in the past nine games … and they can still be a thorn in the side of the Penguins.

Crosby disagrees with Babcock on bigger nets, but wants goalie gear reduced

Marc-Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby doesn’t like Mike Babcock’s idea to make NHL nets bigger. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ superstar does think there’s a way to increase goal-scoring.

“I’m kind of a traditionalist,” Crosby told PHT on Wednesday. “I would rather see the goalies get smaller equipment before the nets get bigger. I’d rather try that. But I’m all for more goals. However you want to do it.”

Reducing the size of goalie equipment is, of course, not a new idea. In fact, the NHL has made changes before.

But even Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury concedes more could be done.

“I think there’s some stuff in the goalie gear they could maybe round up so guys aren’t so boxy and big,” he said.

Fleury, not surprisingly, agrees with Crosby on keeping the nets the same size.

“I think the nets have been the same for so many years,” he said. “Growing up in the same nets, same angles. It would be a little weird to change that.”

Yesterday, Babcock reiterated his argument that the nets should be made bigger to counteract the increasing size of goalies.

“It’s impossible to score,” he said. “All you gotta do is a math equation. You go to 1980 when the puck went in the net. You got the average size of the goalies in the NHL and the average size of the net. You keep growing the net bigger, that would make the game the same. We change the game every year because we don’t want to change the game. The net’s too small for the size of the goalies. Period.”

The NHL has not given any indication that it’s seriously concerned about goal-scoring. In March, commissioner Gary Bettman said that fans “should continue to enjoy the game principally the way it’s being played.”

Penguins just keep winning (and this time, Crosby scored)


The Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t always looked so hot … but the standings argue to the contrary.

Pittsburgh saw a 3-0 lead evaporate into a tense 3-2 situation against the Vancouver Canucks, but they managed to hold on nonetheless.

With that, the Penguins are now on a five-game winning streak, even with four of five on the road.

Going a little further, Pittsburgh has wins in eight of nine.

One big relief comes in Sidney Crosby scoring one of Pittsburgh’s goals, which prompted many to make jokes about “big boy pants.”

Honestly, Marc-Andre Fleury has been the go-to guy for the Penguins more than anyone else, and he had some strong moments in this one (albeit with the rare hiccup).

Let’s also face the fact that Eric Fehr‘s game-winner was the beauty of the game, which you can see above the headline.

Is everything perfect for the Penguins? Not necessarily.

Even so, it’s early, so the Penguins have time to work out their perceived issues. They have to be happy piling up points in the process.

Quick note: Daniel Sedin seemed shaken up late in the contest, so that’s something to monitor.

Orpik says Crosby, Ovechkin are ‘opposites’

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin

For a decade now, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby have been subject to sometimes breathless comparisons.

That’s what happens when you’re the two biggest scoring sensations in your sport, but there have been times in which people have jumped to some strange conclusions about each star.

Brooks Orpik is one of the only people who could probably provide a credible account of what the two forwards are like, especially off the ice.

Those hoping to drum up differences between the two might be heartened to hear his thoughts about just how much they contrast, as’s Chuck Gormley reports.

“They couldn’t be any more different,” Orpik said. “They are two of the bigger names in the game, but in terms of the way they carry themselves off the ice they couldn’t be more opposites.”

Orpik said that Crosby displays a serious demeanor “90 percent of the time” and is something of a student of the game. Meanwhile, Ovechkin isn’t necessarily all-hockey, all-the-time in the same way.

(Cue certain people making the same conclusions as always, then?)

Anyway, for all the eye-rolling this induces for some, it’s interesting to get some more insight from the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Perhaps it might get you a little more revved up for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN?

Related: Teams excited for playoff atmosphere in October.