Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day extended weekend. We spent ours in Steel City, and the only thing that could have made it better was some playoff hockey.
On Monday the Washington Capitals announced that Barry Trotz was hired as the new head coach and that former assistant GM Brian MacLellan was promoted to the GM spot, capping weeks of GM and head coach uncertainty.
For days the speculation was that Ray Shero and Paul Fenton were the frontrunners for the GM job, but in the end they promoted from within. This means that at least at the start of the next season Ray Shero won't be a GM in the NHL, as every other position other than the one he lost has been filled.
So, the Pens are now the only NHL team without a GM. Will they follow Washington's lead and promote interim GM Jason Botterill to full-time, or will they opt for a fresh start with someone outside of the organization? And what about those who think that every day he isn't fired, Dan Bylsma is one day closer to being retained? Dave Molinari has his thoughts on where the winds might be blowing.
The New York Rangers are leading their ECF series 3-1, but they know that the Canadiens will be a very tough out, and that the 4th game will be the hardest one to win. Boy do we know that.
Similarly, the LA Kings find themselves up 3-1 on the Chicago Blackhawks. The only thing that was surprising to me about how this series is playing out is how truly, really dominant the Kings can be.
Some news from juniors. Pens prospect Derrick Pouliot, currently recovering from successful surgery for a torn labrum, was named CHL defenseman of the year.
Edmonton Oil Kings are the somewhat surprising winners of the Memorial Cup, having beaten Guelph Storm in the final. I followed this with even more interest than normally as their starting goaltender is Pens 2nd-round pick Tristan Jarry. Where does this kid with an ostensibly bright future fit into the Pens goaltending plans?
For the end, some food for thought. Given the timetables for Maatta and Pouliot recoveries, the myriad injuries to Letang and Martin seemingly every year, likely departures of Orpik and Engelland, will the Pens make a terrible mistake should they opt to let Niskanen go rather than overpay slightly?