Tag: Mark Eaton

Ray Shero

Shero on Malkin, Letang: ‘They’re not going anywhere’


For Penguins general manager Ray Shero, what promises to be a busy summer started with today’s announcement that head coach Dan Bylsma had been granted a two-year contract extension.

Now that the coaching question is out of the way, it’s time to focus on the players. And there are plenty of tough decisions to make on that front.

“This team is going to change,” said Shero. “It happens every year with free agency, salary cap, trades. Change is sometimes good and sometimes hard.”

Pending unrestricted free agents that may or may not be back include Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, Mark Eaton and Douglas Murray. Those eligible to sign extensions include Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz, Brooks Orpik, and Matt Niskanen.

Speaking of Malkin and Letang…

“They’re both under contract for next year,” said Shero. “They’re not going anywhere.”

And the goaltending?

“I’m not getting rid of Marc-Andre Fleury,” said Shero, “provided he wants to be part of it here and come back.”

The Penguins also have Tomas Vokoun under contract next season. Fleury has two years remaining on his deal.

Shero said he’s already received calls from other general managers. He can probably expect a lot more as the June 30 draft approaches. Free agency starts on July 5.

Related: Would the Penguins really consider trading Malkin?

Would the Penguins really consider trading Malkin?

Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins poses after winning the Ted Lindsay Award, the Art Ross Trophy and the Hart Trophy during the 2012 NHL Awards at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas on June 20, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(June 19, 2012 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

We only ask, because this is what TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted last night:

Malkin, 26, has one year remaining on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. According to CapGeek, he has a no-movement clause for the 2013-14 season.

The reasons for not trading Malkin aren’t hard to list:

—- He’s one of the best players in the world.

—- Centers are hard enough to come by in the NHL, let alone world-class centers.

—- He’s still young. Which is to say, this isn’t like the Joe Thornton debate in San Jose, where you’re talking about a guy on the wrong side of 30.

That being said, it all depends what the Penguins could get in return, and also what they could acquire with the cap space they’d gain. Because in case you haven’t been watching, there are big question marks about the quality of Pittsburgh’s defense and goaltending.

Speaking of which, what’s Kris Letang’s future with the Pens? Like Malkin, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season. While Letang’s point production has been impressive in the playoffs, his defensive play has been suspect, particularly against the Bruins.

Struggling goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is another face of the franchise the Penguins will have to make a decision on. He’s got two years left on his contract before he’s free to go wherever.

For general manager Ray Shero, this summer promises to be one full of tough calls. Pending UFAs include Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Matt Cooke, Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams, Mark Eaton and Douglas Murray. Those eligible to sign extensions include Malkin, Letang, Chris Kunitz, Brooks Orpik, and Matt Niskanen.

The Penguins aren’t done yet. They could still make it a series with a win tomorrow in Boston. But down 3-0, their chances of coming all the way back are slim.

Bylsma: There will be lineup changes for Game 3


With his team behind 0-2 in the Eastern Conference finals and facing a virtual must-win in Boston, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said there would be changes to his roster and forward lines for Game 3.

“We have to get back to playing good defensive hockey, we have to get back to playing get away from the puck, and that’s got to happen throughout our lineup,” he explained.

“I think you’ll see some changes in our lines and a few guys being added to the lineup to do so.”

What those changes are remain to be seen.

Of the healthy scratches from Game 2, Beau Bennett, Simon Despres, Mark Eaton, Tanner Glass and Tyler Kennedy have all played at least once this postseason, with Kennedy (2G-3A-5PTS in eight games) being the most productive of the lot.

As for who might come out?

Jussi Jokinen (7:46 TOI), Joe Vitale (11:03) and Craig Adams (11:14) had the least amount of ice time among the forwards in Game 2, and one has to wonder if Douglas Murray could be in danger of getting parked after a rough outing (minus-2 and just 12:45 TOI, the lowest among all the defensemen).

Bylsma also wouldn’t confirm which of his goalies — Tomas Vokoun or Marc-Andre Fleury — would start in Game 3.

Vokoun was yanked for the first time this postseason in Monday’s 6-1 loss after allowing three goals on 12 shots to start the game. Fleury came in and wasn’t much more effective, allowing three goals on 17 shots.

Bylsma sounded like he was leaning towards using Vokoun in Game 3.

“He’s certainly won a lot of hockey games, had a lot of success in that net for us,” Bylsma said. “He didn’t have that last night, but that’s not going to play into the decision.”

Vitale, Engelland replace Kennedy, Eaton for Pens in Game 2


If you believe the findings of one college professor, the Pittsburgh Penguins decided to make their MVP a healthy scratch for Monday’s Game 2 against the Boston Bruins.

Nope, it’s not Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. That guy isn’t Kris Letang, either.

Instead, it’s Tyler Kennedy. (Hey, don’t kill the messenger.) The team is going with Joe Vitale in Kennedy’s place while Deryk Engelland slides into Mark Eaton’s spot on defense.

While CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that some believed Kaspars Daugavins might draw into the lineup for Jaromir Jagr, it appears that the struggling veteran will play tonight.

The Morning Skate: Will Vokoun, Penguins rebound vs. Bruins?

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 14: Tomas Vokoun #92 of the Pittsburgh Penguins makes a save in the second period against the Ottawa Senators in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 14, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Senators 4-1. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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A quick look at the Eastern Conference finals and notes from Chicago’s impressive win against L.A., including Corey Crawford’s NHL first.

Game 2: No. 4 Boston Bruins at No. 1 Pittsburgh, 8 p.m. ET (on NBCSN and live online) – Bruins lead series, 1-0

After a surprisingly dominant performance in Game 1, the Bruins will look to take a firm grip of their Eastern Conference Final series when they meet the Penguins tonight at Consol Energy Center.

In the series opener, David Krejci scored two goals (his first two since posting a hat trick in Game 4 of the Bruins’ Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series vs. the Maple Leafs), linemate Nathan Horton added another, and Tuukka Rask stopped all 29 Penguins shots for his first-career postseason shutout. The Penguins got nine shots on goal combined from top centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but the team as a whole appeared unfocused and largely frustrated by the Bruins for the last two periods. The captain told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the gameplan shouldn’t change too much in Game 2: “We have to do a lot of the same things. If anything, just eliminate a couple of mistakes and make sure our focus is in the right place.”

Coach Dan Bylsma was coy in his off-day press conference yesterday when referencing his starting goaltender. Tomas Vokoun was shaky at times in Game 1, allowing three goals on 30 shots, but there is no indication that Marc-Andre Fleury (the backup since Game 5 of the first round) will step in. Vokoun won two of the three regular-season meetings vs. the Bruins.

Despite not getting a goal from a defenseman for the first time in seven games, the performance of the Bruins’ defensive unit was exceptional in Game 1. The blueline corps, already boasting depth, was bolstered by the return of veteran Andrew Ference, who logged 17:27 after missing seven games with a foot injury.


Only one team, the 1944-45 Detroit Red Wings, have lost Games 1 & 2 at home in a NHL semifinal or conference final, and gone on to win the series. The Wings’ opponent that postseason was the Boston Bruins.


Mention Bruins trade acquisitions from Toronto, and most people will think of the first-round draft picks that became Tyler Seguin (2010) and Dougie Hamilton (2011), in exchange for Phil Kessel. Even more valuable during the Bruins’ 2013 playoff run, however, has been #1 goaltender Tuukka Rask, who was acquired from Leafs Nation in 2006 for fellow goalie Andrew Raycroft. This postseason, Rask is 9-4, with a 2.06 GAA, .933 save % and his first-ever playoff shutout in the Eastern Conference Final opener.

Rask served as the Bruins’ backup to Tim Thomas in 2011, and got his “Day with the Cup” in his hometown of Savonlinna, Finland, a town best known regionally for its abundance of lakes and annual summer opera festival. The 26-year-old netminder assumed the starting gig in 2012 when Thomas decided to take a leave of absence. During the lockout, he went to the Czech Republic and suited up for eventual Extraliga champions HC Plzeň, making it a possibility that he plays for two champions in one season.

In his off-day press conference yesterday, Bruins coach Claude Julien used the words “stable” and “normal” to describe Rask, as opposed to Thomas the “battler.” Judging by the meaning of his last name in the official languages of his home country, the 6’3”, 169-lb. goalie can be characterized in other ways. Rask means “quick” in Swedish, and raskas means “heavy” in Finnish. He has done some heavy lifting this postseason.


Chicago 4, Los Angeles 2 (Blackhawks lead series, 2-0)

The Blackhawks jumped out to a 4-0 lead on goals by Andrew Shaw, Brent Seabrook, Bryan Bickell and Michal Handzus, and cruised to a 4-2 win over the Kings in Game 2 to take a two-games-to-none series lead. Defending Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick was pulled for only the second time in 47 career postseason appearances after giving up all four goals in the first 29:20 of the game. Quick had gone an NHL-record 34 straight playoff games (since April 25, 2011) without allowing more than three goals before tonight. On the other side of the ice, Corey Crawford made 29 saves to become this postseason’s first 10-game winner.

The Kings’ leading scorer, Mike Richards (10 points), was scratched after pregame warmups with an upper-body injury sustained late in Game 1 on a hit by the Blackhawks’ Dave Bolland. Richards was replaced by rookie Tyler Toffoli, who contributed with a goal and an assist in the loss.

The series moves to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Tuesday evening, on NBCSN. The Kings are a perfect 7-0 at Staples Center this postseason, outscoring their opponents, 18-8.

Player Team


Last goal

Rob Scuderi Penguins/Kings


2009 ECQF, Game 3 (April 19, 2009) w/PIT
Shawn Thornton Bruins


2009 ECQF, Game 3 (April 20, 2009)
Michal Rozsival Rangers/Coyotes/Blackhawks


2008 ECQF, Game 5 (April 18, 2008) w/NYR
Niklas Hjalmarsson Blackhawks


2010 WCQF, Game 5 (April 24, 2010)
Mark Eaton Penguins


2009 ECSF, Game 6 (May 11, 2009)
Jarret Stoll Kings


2012 WCQF, Game 5 (April 22, 2012)
Matt Cooke Penguins


2010 ECSF, Game 2 (May 2, 2010)
Viktor Stalberg Blackhawks


2011 WCQF, Game 2 (April 15, 2011)


  • Matt Cooke faces the music for his hit on Adam McQuaid [CBC]
  • Angry birds crash in series opener [Postmedia News]
  • Penguins need to control emotions, faceoffs [Globe and Mail]
  • Corey Crawford adds new role in Game 2 win [CSN Chicago]