My Spin on the Pens

All of you guys seem, like many of us, to be confused by what the Penguins are doing. I can understand why you feel that way, but the Penguins are doing the best they can with what they have. Mario Lemieux has said that in 2007 the Penguins are a “free agent”, when their lease is up with the Mellon Arena. So, they need a new arena. One way to get a new arena is to have a recognizable and popular face behind the bench, so they can get more public funding. That man is Eddie Olczyk, or “Edzo”.

Edzo has been calling Pens games for two years with Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Mike Lange. Fans have absolutely adored Edzo over that time, and he will more than likely sell tickets now that he’s behind the bench. I think the Penguins may have rushed their decision by a little bit, but since they have about 30-60 days to get the deal for the arena hammered out something had to be done.

I also like how the Penguins are marketing their young players such as Rico Fata, Ramzi Abid, Tomas Surovy, Mathias Johansson, Guillame Lefebvre, Dan Focht, Sebastian Caron and more. The Penguins will most definitely trade Martin Straka. In fact, he could be used to help the Penguins move up to the Number 1 spot in the Entry Draft. Rumor has it they absolutely covet goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury out of the QMJHL. Johan Hedberg is also probably on the market, but nothing has been reported. Some others who could probably be dealt are Jamie Pushor, Shawn Heins, Hans Jonsson, and Steve McKenna.

I also think Mario is going to come back because they need to have somebody who can draw a crowd. I don’t think this will happen, but a guy who I’d like to see the Penguins try and sign is Luc Robitaille. He’s played here before, and is pretty popular with the fans, if they could get him cheap I think they should. I think somebody needs to step up this season, perhaps Fata, Abid, or Mikael Samuelsson, for them to even think about being successful.

Finally, Aleksey Morozov needs to turn into a superstar this season, or he will be gone come the trade deadline.

7 Responses to My Spin on the Pens

  1. Bishop7979 says:

    I feel like I’m one of the few people that thinks that the Eddie O signing was a good move. Not only do I think that its good for PR but I think its good for the team. He is a great teacher, a good communicator, and he knows not only the players in the pens organization, but he knows hockey inside and out. But the big thing in my mind is that Olcyzk is a blackhawk tried and true. to me that means something. He grew up in chicago, was drafted by chicago, began and finished his carreer in chicago and there is a attitude that goes with chicago and hockey and I’m hoping to see him bring that to the Pens.

    Of the players you mentioned many of them are fast and mean. These are qualities that I think of when i think of classic Blackhawk hockey. Take young aggressive guys like Fata, Meloche, Abid, Lefebve, Nieminen, Beech, Surovy, Foct, Orpik, Melichar ect ect and give them to a charismatic motivated, hungry coach and, although they may not win as many games as they lose they will at least it might be exciting hockey.

    as for Fleury, I know how Luongo turned out, He looks good, always has, but for the most part how many goalies taken in the first round fair any more then those taken in the 4th? Craig Hillier was a 1st round draft pick of the pens and he got cut by an ECHL this past season if I’m not mistaken.

    Goalies are a crap shoot, always have always will be. id rather stick with caron, trade hedberg, and draft staal or zhevdeh (spelling?) The penguins need a scorer this draft not anouther goalie.

    Finally of the guys mentioned, Pushor hasnt been offered a new contract, neither has Heins or Jonsson and all three aren’t expected back. McKenna has been named an A, and I got to interview him shortly before the end of the season and he said hed been signed to an extention and expects to stay in pittsburgh for at least next season, hes not only a mentor to the young guys (some of the players expressed this opinion to me) but he is also the physcial pressence that keeps them safe.

    Hedberg I can still see going to Vancover, as both backup and competition with Cloutier. Just a gut judgment I havent heard anything concrete.

    Mario, I’d love to see him back, He’s an once in a lifetime talent and I feel privalaged to see him skate, but i dont see him coming back. The local papers are saying the pens are looking at a payroll of around 17 million and Mario with his 5.5 million dollar paycheck just doesnt fit into that.

    The long term future of the team looks bad, I hate to say it but it looks really bad. the economy is poor in pittsburgh right now and the gov and local officals are fighting enough over the convention center contract details. I just dont see them getting it together to actually build a new arena in time to save the franchise.

    Morozov will still be around, people fear that he will become the next Naslund. Once upon a time in a league far far away players got time to develop in a magical land called the minors. In the minors players got to frolick and play and learn all the skills needed to survive in the real world. But expantion reared its ugly head and created a world where players are shunned for not being superstars at the age of 23.

    Now I know Morozov is 26 but alot of players dont really hit their prime till they are in their mid to late 20’s. He gets better every year, and maybe he will never be the next Jagr or Kovie but he will contribute and he will help the team. (I cant believe I just typed that, I always disliked Morozov)

    As for Lucky Luc. I just dont see it happening. He was never all that happy playing in the east from what i understand. He perfers playing out west and it would suprise me if he signed with the Panthers, the Pens or any other team east of St.Louis.

    anyways just alot of thoughts

  2. phatrabbit says:

    I would love to see this team draw atleast some sort of a crowd but if they can’t they could be moved to Hamilton or Saint John, New Brunswick. As for signing Luc Robtaille I doubt that would happen any time soon.

  3. OldNord says:

    St-John can’t keep an AHL team so forget it and they don’t need one anyway.

  4. jon95616 says:

    In regards to Robitaille:

    Luc Robitaille, perhaps the most popular player in club history, is in talks with the Kings about returning to the team, Robitaille and a King source said Wednesday.

    The 37-year-old left wing and his agent, Pat Brisson, have met with General Manager Dave Taylor in recent weeks and Robitaille also has spoken with club President Tim Leiweke.

    Said a King source of the talks, “There’s mutual interest.”

    Tuesday over lunch in El Segundo, the second-leading scorer in club history sat down with Taylor and Coach Andy Murray to discuss how he might be used next season as the Kings try to improve upon a disappointing, injury-racked season in which they finished 14 points out of the playoffs.

    “We had a real good talk,” said Robitaille, who was released last month by the Detroit Red Wings after scoring only 11 goals last season, the least productive of his 17 NHL seasons, and will be an unrestricted free agent July 1. “I came out of there real positive.”

    Robitaille said he also has talked with three other Western Conference teams, but the Kings would seem the most logical fit. In two stints with the club he has scored 520 of his 631 goals, a league record for left wings, and 1,079 of his 1,319 points. And he still lives in Holmby Hills.

    Signed as a free agent by the Red Wings two summers ago, Robitaille scored 30 goals during the 2001-02 season, his 12th 30-goal season, and helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup championship. But he slumped last season as his playing time was cut, and in January was benched for the first time in his career.

    “I want to go to a situation where I can play,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping a team a lot more than I did in Detroit because I know I can still contribute. I know I can still be one of the top guys.”

    (Los Angeles Times)

  5. guinsfan4life says:

    Go Penguins!

    I agree with what you are explaining, however isn’t every team in the league trying to do the same? It is just the matter of the fact that the penguins have less than everyone else, therefore they have less to work with in order to do the “best they can with what they have”.

    My theory in hiring a new coach would have went like this:

    First I hire a big name coach, allow him to bring in all of his own assistants. I was saying maybe Ted Nolan.

    As a result of this, fan expectations would increase due to Nolan’s reputation of winning with next to nothing. Fan expectations increase, and more tickets are sold. To compound that, if Mario comes back, fans get the disillusion that the penguins are a playoff team because of what Nolan brings to the table and what Mario can do.

    I think that would have been the way to go. You have to get your fan base to believe that you are better than you are, Nolan would have helped us all believe that notion. Not only that, he would have been more recognizable in the city who is working on how to find funding to build a new arena. A city that already includes a big name coach-Bill Cowher.

    Patrick would have never let this happen, though. Patrick is in a fog that has hung over him since he was inducted into the hockey hall of fame. Patrick has become a power hungry general manager–he is afraid to lose power or be challenged by any decision he makes. He clearly has put his neck on the chopping block by naming Olyczk. How was the interview process conducted? How, with a list of 40 candidates could have Edzo been the best with no experience? These are all questions he has to answer. This is the fifth coach in five years he has hired. Next time, he should be the one to go.

    ON the need for a new arena…I believe the city of pgh has about 60-90 days to put funding in place for a new arena. If it ain’t done by that, I think Mario puts them up for sale even before the season begins. An investor with tons of cash from a city that already has an arena that is workable will be the destination. I am about 75% certain the penguins have very little time left in pgh–their bags are about packed and they are close to being gone.

    The Draft….

    I would be totally shocked if they trade up and get Fluery. First of all, they don’t have the cash to sign a first overall pick. Secondly, that pick is a goalie, which doesn’t bode well for them. They don’t have success grooming high pick goaltenders. History has shown that you can get a quality goalie in the later rounds. Lastly, I would stay where I was or trade up to draft Zherdev, or Staal. Staal is close to playing in the NHL, Zherdev would have to wait a year.

    Lastly, Robitaille isn’t a good idea..he’d want to much and is too old to put any kind of money into. Mario is going to stay retired. He needs to focus all his time and energy on a new arena for this team.

  6. guinsfan4life says:

    Hillier quit playing hockey because he was battling alcoholism.

  7. AVS4NYR says:

    It would be nice to see Morozov turn into a superstar. He has been progressing every year.

    But remember that this season he has really turned his game up because he was playing on the same line with No66 and No27 which will not be the case next season. It will be interesting to see what will happen to him. He can definately get he ice time that he needs to be sucessful.

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