Good morning everyone,
Here we are. Season opens tomorrow, and the Pens are meant to have the roster down to 23 players and the payroll under the $64.3M cap by 5 pm today. Chris Conner and Andrew Ebbett were placed on waivers yesterday and, if not claimed by noon today, are expected to be assigned to WBS. Without them but counting injured players and winger Chuck Kobasew, who attended training camp on a PTO, the roster stands at 26 and we are at least $1 million over the cap. There will be updates throughout the day.
As you all know, the team has just completed a three-day visit to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. There was a lot of team building, touch football, target practices, hiking while carrying large rocks, with some hockey practices interspersed throughout. Check out Penguins Report for every tiny detail. Basically it couldn't have been too hard since Pens TV crews documented every drop of sweat even when they reached the hilltop. Everyone seemed to have fun except Kris Letang, who somehow managed to sustain a knee injury, was shut down and will be further evaluated today. A lot of the roster and cap decisions will hinge on that evaluation, I daresay.
And since we managed to go the whole summer without linking to a Rob Rossi article, here's a gem for you. A sap story of Geno who feels he let the Pens down again and spent the summer haunted in Russia. Well, I follow Geno on Instagram and his summer was not haunted. He had a nice and relaxing summer, just like everyone else on the team, and is happy to be back and ready to go.
In other news, Paul Bissonnette managed to get his automatic 10-game suspension reduced to 3 games due to insufficient video evidence. League claimed he left the bench to fight, he claimed he stepped on the ice to relieve teammate Max Domi on a legal line change. In this case, he is lucky to play in a market whose minimal hockey coverage is of poor video quality.
This one surprised me but maybe it shouldn't have. Andrew Ference was named captain of the Edmonton Oilers. I kind of thought it would be Nugent-Hopkins or one of their other young stars, but maybe they didn't want to single out one young stud over the others. Makes sense, kinda. Go with the veteran until one of the younger guys clearly separates himself as the leader for the future.
Hold off on those Calder votes. Jonathan Drouin, #3 pick in the 2013 NHL draft, was sent back to Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. So much for that EA Sports’ NHL 2013-14 season simulation that also told us, among other things, that the Blues are to win the Cup. Okey dokey then.
The Florida Panthers have already signed Tim Thomas, Brad Boyes and defenseman Tom Gilbert to contracts after bringing each of them in on professional tryouts. Today they added Ryan Whitney, after he was cut by the St. Louis Blues. The contract is for 1 year, $900K.
And with everyone tossing out predictions left and right, over at Grantland we have the best long-shot bets for NHL awards.
A little something from hockey fans overseas. Ze Hockey Guys in Germany (who apparently are Flyers fans so one would need to question their sanity but hey) have rated all 30 NHL goal songs. They have the Pens at #9, which was kind of surprising and took me a bit of scrolling to find because naturally I started looking for us at the end. The only complaint about the Penguins goal song was that one hears it too often. Works for me. #1 is a tie between the Blackhawks (whose song blows, it's the absolute worst) and the Flyers (who actually have a great song but I hate it anyway). Hey Hey Hockeytown is at #17, which I get because it's easy to dislike the fact that the Wings have their own song, but it's a good one.
Happy Monday. Stay tuned for roster news.