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2014 NHL playoffs preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

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The Blue Jackets will have a hard time shutting down Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Blue Jackets will have a hard time shutting down Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By Sarah Kwak

Regular season recaps

Nov. 1: Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 2

Nov. 2: Penguins 3, Blue Jackets 0

Dec. 9: Penguins 2, Blue Jackets 1

Dec. 29: Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 3

March 28: Penguins 2, Blue Jackets 1

Notable injuries

Penguins: C Marcel Goc (ankle, day-to-day); C Evgeni Malkin (foot, IR); LW Pascal Dupuis (torn ACL, IR)

Blue Jackets: RW Nathan Horton (lower body, day-to-day); LW R.J. Umberger (upper body, day-to-day); LW Nick Foligno (lower-body, day-to-day)

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  • Published On Apr 15, 2014
  • Jussi Jokinen beats Red Wings with odd goal, but Detroit clinches playoff spot

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    (3/3) Jussi Jokinen shootout goal slowed down. #Penguins #NHL on Twitpic

    By Nick Stoico

    Riley Sheahan of the Detroit Red Wings had forced overtime, thanks to his goal with just 75 seconds left in regulation, but the Penguins’ Jussi Jokinen later put away the lone tally in the shootout to seal a 4-3 win for Pittsburgh.

    As Jokinen closed in on the net, Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson lunged to poke the puck away. He was successful, but not enough to satisfy the hockey gods. The puck flew off his stick and arced into the back of the net.

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  • Published On Apr 09, 2014
  • Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returning to action after stroke

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    Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins

    The puck-moving skills of Kris Letang (58) may be just the thing to spark the Penguins. (Andrew Dieb/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    Kris Letang says he’ll be nervous, but not scared, when he returns to action tonight against the Red Wings only 10 weeks after suffering a stroke.

    “I’m nervous because I haven’t played in a while,” the Penguins defenseman said. “But [scared] about my situation, not at all.”

    Letang has been practicing with Pittsburgh since March 17, but a return to action this season was never a sure thing. It was just over a week ago that he said he was still having good days and bad days. “I can be really dizzy,” he said. “Sometimes I have trouble walking, like, in a straight line … I have some vision things. Lights would bother me, stuff like that.”

    That didn’t sound promising, but in a press conference this morning, Penguins GM Ray Shero said that Letang had been cleared by doctors, and that it was the player’s call as to when he would return. “He’s been bugging me about it for a while,” Shero said, adding that hockey didn’t cause Letang’s stroke and that the team wasn’t concerned about the risk of another incident. “He’s at no further risk to suffer a stroke playing hockey than going to grocery store.”

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  • Published On Apr 09, 2014
  • GIF: Sidney Crosby of Penguins smacked in the face by linesman

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    Sidney Crosby

    By Amy Lilek

    Though the number of injured players keeps piling up for the Pittsburgh Penguins this season, captain Sidney Crosby has fortunately not been one of them.

    Crosby has taken his lumps, notably on Tuesday night when he was accidentally hit in the face by a linesman during a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

    The slap clearly took Crosby by surprise as he fell toward the ice, but it didn’t seem to affect his play at all. Shortly afterward, he  recorded an assist on a Chris Kuntiz goal that gave Crosby 100 points for the season, the fifth time he has reached that mark during his NHL career.


  • Published On Apr 01, 2014
  • Evgeni Malkin of Penguins out with foot injury

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    Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins

    Evgeni Malkin played hurt during a frustrating 1-0 loss to the Blues on Sunday. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    The Penguins announced this morning that Evgeni Malkin will be lost for two to three weeks with a foot injury. According to coach Dan Bylsma, the big center was hurt on his first shift in a 1-0 loss to St. Louis over the weekend, but continued to play through it. No further details were offered.

    There’s never a good time for a team to lose a superstar to injury but, all things considered, now’s as good a time as any for the Pens.

    Pittsburgh has a nearly insurmountable 13-point lead over the second-place Rangers in the Metropolitan Division and trails Boston by seven points for the Eastern Conference title. Barring a complete collapse — or an epic run — they’re essentially locked into position heading into the postseason. And the time frame for being out of action puts Malkin back in the lineup right around the beginning of the playoffs. And maybe while that foot is healing, the various bumps and bruises he’s been dealing with might take care of themselves, too.

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  • Published On Mar 25, 2014
  • NHL fines Penguins’ Neal and Red Wings’ Legwand $5,000 apiece

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    By Nick Stoico

    Fines have been dealt out to Detroit forward David Legwand and Pittsburgh forward James Neal for violations in Thursday night’s game between the Red Wings and the Penguins. Both players were charged with $5,000 fines by the NHL Department of Player Safety.

    At 5:19 of the second period, James Neal threw a high cross-check on Red Wings forward Luke Glendening. Neal’s stick connected with Glendening on the side of his helmet and the Pens forward was assessed a minor penalty for cross-checking.

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  • Published On Mar 22, 2014
  • Watch: Flyers unveil statue of former coach Fred Shero

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    By Darian Somers

    Before the bitter on-ice rivalry between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh began on Saturday, the two teams were brought together outdoors as the Flyers unveiled a statue of their hall of fame coach Fred Shero. The late Shero’s son, Ray, is the current general manager of the Penguins and watched as construction workers lifted the curtain on the eight-foot tall statue of his father outside of the Wells Fargo Center’s XFINITY Live, where the Spectrum once stood.

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  • Published On Mar 15, 2014
  • Blackhawks topple Penguins in Soldier Field’s wintry wonderland

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    The Stadium Series game will go a long way in redefining Jonathan Toews' 'Captain Serious' persona, while also exposing the Pens' defensive issues. (David E. Klutho/SI)

    The Stadium Series win will help redefine Jonathan Toews’ ‘Captain Serious’ persona. (David E. Klutho/SI)

    By Allan Muir

    Here are nine quick thoughts after Chicago’s 5-1 win over Pittsburgh in the finale of the 2013-14 NHL Stadium Series:

    • When NHL execs pitched an expanded outdoor schedule for this season and planted a Pittsburgh-Chicago match at Soldier Field less than a week after the Olympics, their expectations couldn’t possibly have exceeded the reality these two teams delivered tonight.

    If there was a bounce to be generated after Sochi, this event delivered everything that might hook the casual fan. From the magical snow-globe images to the marquee teams to 17 Olympic heroes, including Team Canada captains Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews, this was as thrilling as a 5-1 rout can be.

    I’ll admit the lousy conditions took me right out of this year’s Winter Classic but the challenges of inch-deep snow that coated the sheet at Soldier Field seemed more charming, or at least more visually appealing, than the hard, bouncy ice that plagued the big game at the Big House. Passes left a wake like a cruise ship and skidded to an early halt like that high-tech puck in the Bridgestone ads. Every hard stop sent a sheet of snow cascading into the air. Even the sound of the blades chittering across the ice was different, somehow more exotic. This, finally, was real pond hockey. The elements were an additional player, not an impediment, and the game was better for them.

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  • Published On Mar 02, 2014
  • Penguins’ Fleury honors Pittsburgh Steelers with Stadium Series mask

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    Marc-Andre Fleury will don this Steelers-inspired mask for a Stadium Series clash with the Blackhawks.

    Marc-Andre Fleury will don a Steelers-inspired mask for a Stadium Series game. (Photo courtesy Stephane Bergeron)

    By Allan Muir

    Marc-Andre Fleury sure knows how to play up to Pittsburgh sports fans. The Penguins netminder drove them crazy by donning a Steelers helmet for some post-game shenanigans during that team’s most recent Super Bowl run. But now he’s prepared to take his support for the club to a whole new level.

    When the Penguins visit Soldier Field this Saturday for a Stadium Series clash with the Blackhawks, Fleury will debut a one-off mask designed to mimic a Steelers helmet.

    The mask was painted by Fleury’s long-time collaborator, Stephane Bergeron of Griff Airbrush.

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  • Published On Feb 25, 2014
  • Stroke sidelines Pittsburgh Penguins’ All-Star defenseman Kris Letang

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    Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins

    Kris Letang had complained of dizziness and nausea before his stroke was diagnosed. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    The Penguins have finally revealed the nature of the ailment that has sidelined Kris Letang for the past week … and it’s scary serious.

    The All-Star defenseman will miss at least the next six weeks after suffering a stroke. Letang will be treated with blood thinners and, at this point, it’s believed that his career is in jeopardy.

    “This can happen to anybody,” said Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma. “[Letang] is a pro athlete and one of the finest-tuned athletes we have. It’s scary.”

    After Letang complained of dizziness and nausea, doctors conducting tests discovered a small hole in the wall of his heart. The hole is present in all children at birth, but it typically closes up and seals over time. It didn’t in Letang’s case, and it’s possible that the hole is what led to his stroke.

    “Kris had one brief episode of dizziness and nausea last week,” Penguins GM Ray Shero said. “We held him out of the Los Angeles game [last] Thursday night, and when he continued to feel ill, tests conducted in Phoenix on Saturday gave us the first indication of his condition. Further testing then was conducted when he returned to Pittsburgh, and he continued to undergo a battery of tests here this week.

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  • Published On Feb 07, 2014


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