Still no word on Gonchar - that unnerves me. Flattering as Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang were on the blue line last night, not having Gonchar back there for a power shot is really critical. Let's hope it's something "minor", like a bruised shoulder, or in the case of injury minor dislocation or...something.
The whole Lightning/Penguins series must've brought back some rough memories for Ryan Malone, because he's already starting with his whole "I never wanted to leave" stories. Here is your typical case of GM/player negotiations. GM comes out and says, "[insert name here] was a huge asset to our team. Not having him/her around definitely left a hole to fill, but we wish [insert name here] all the best as we each go our separate ways."
Malone, however, claims the negotiations were one-sided...
"I don't think Ray knows how much (playing for the Penguins) meant to (me) and the other guys there I have a good relationship with. I think they didn't want to go to a certain (salary) range, but they never really gave me a serious offer to consider. If they had me slotted in for whatever and I exceeded that, I guess that's my fault. But it was a lot easier to leave because it wasn't a close negotiation."
I think it's safe to say Shero knew how important Pittsburgh was to Malone. At the time, Shero also knew how important Hossa was to Pittsburgh. In a situation like this it's always unfortunate that you can't have the best of both worlds, but so be it. Pitt lost out on both chances and that's just the way it goes. Besides, a 7-year deal for $31.5 mil is about as good an offer as you can get for Malone's numbers nowadays. No, Tampa won't build a team around him, but Malone will contribute to whatever team they build in the way only a clutch player can.
It's right around this time I say something cliche like "I wish Ryan the best" so as to avoid making an outlandish statement.
I wish Ryan the best.
The Post-Gazette did a solid feature on newly acquired agitator Matt Cooke. It's definitely a good read for those interested in what he brings to the team. Many, including myself, figured he would fill in the Jarkko Ruutu spot. This is true, to only an extent:
"I don't go out and stick [opponents] after the whistle and yap and do all those types of things. I try to play in between the whistles. It's a completely different approach [than Ruutu's]. I'm going to try to get guys off their game and get guys to worry about me, but not by sticking them in the back of the legs or punching after the whistle, that kind of stuff. I'm a guy who goes in and creates space for our team, because on the forecheck, every time I go in, I'm going to finish my check"
Therrien has already said he's considering suiting up Cooke for the remaining three exhibition games. If he plays along side Boogaard and Paul Bissonnette, we may see penalty minutes higher than the Dow Jones (not hard nowadays, but still plentiful).