Pittsburgh Penguins Preseason: Pens Make Cuts, Put Sidney Crosby On Injured Reserve

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Sidney Crosby Injury Update: Penguins Star Says Last Few Weeks Have Been Symptom-Free

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby spoke to the media a bit today after Penguins practice. "The last few weeks for me have been great. Couldn't ask for more," Crosby told reporters after practice. The star player is recovering from a concussion that has kept him out for quite a while and is the reason he's starting the season on injured reserve. Crosby noted that he's been symptom-free for a little less than a month, but he's unsure of a date to return to the ice despite feeling what he described as "great."

Even though Crosby has been placed on injured reserve to start the 2011 season, he does not fall under the 7-Day rule because he was on injured reserve last season. This means that Crosby can come back at any time, but he's not expected back within the next week, regardless. Head injuries in all sports are becoming a big issue and Crosby is a big proponent of head injury awareness and safety. You can bet he's not going to come back until he's ready.

For more on the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sidney Crosby check out PensBurgh, SB Nation's Penguins blog.


Sidney Crosby Endorses Ban On Hits To Head

The AP has a good report on the NHL's efforts to crack down on hits to the head. In it, Sidney Crosby, whose battle with the aftereffects of a concussion have given the problem a very high-profile face, says the NHL should ban all hits to the head.

"We're not talking about a lot. The game's not going to change," he said, citing statistics that showed that only 50 of the 50,000 hits in hockey last year were to the head. "Whether it's accidental or not accidental, you've got to be responsible out there. At the end of the day, you can do a lot more good than what it's going to take away from the game."

This preseason, the NHL has been aggressive in suspending players who have delivered dangerous hits.

It's still unclear when Crosby will return. There have been positive signs for him in training camp, but he still hasn't been cleared for contact, and he'll need to spend some time getting ready even after he is cleared.

For more on the Penguins, check out PensBurgh.


Sidney Crosby Not Subject To Seven-Day Rule; Penguins Considered Keeping Joe Morrow

Rob Rossi has a few more notes on the Penguins’ moves to set their roster Monday.

First, Sidney Crosby has been placed on injured reserve, but the seven-day rule that typically applies to players on injured reserve does not apply to Crosby, since he was also on injured reserve last season. This doesn’t really matter much, of course; Crosby wasn’t going to play in the first week of the season, either way.

Also, the Penguins did consider keeping Joe Morrow on the roster, but they would not have kept him for more than nine games.

Morrow, if nothing else, jumped to head of the class regarding the organization’s top prospects. He is now ahead of D Simon Despres, though the Penguins still see Despres as a likely impact player in the NHL. They see both Morrow and Despres as impact players, actually – and pending their respective developments this season, that could make next summer interesting, but that discussion is a long way off.

It’s looking like the Penguins’ choice of Morrow in the first round of the draft may end up paying off, and earlier than expected.


Sidney Crosby Injury: Penguins Star On Injured Reserve

As Stephen Catanese noted earlier, the Pittsburgh Penguins made their final roster moves of the preseason on Monday, which included their placing star forward Sidney Crosby on injured reserve.

Crosby, the NHL's active leader with a 1.39 points per game average, hasn't played since January due to a concussion, and we knew his return wasn't imminent, so this move comes as no surprise. That the Crosby decision is appearing in its own news articles is a testament to Crosby's popularity and his importance to the team, and not really an indication of any change to his status. We still don't know when he's coming back.

What we do now know the Penguins' season-opening roster. The most pressing issue now is the date of Crosby's return. Though the Pens went a respectable 24-13-5 after their star's injury last season, they still suffered a first-round playoff defeat against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and will look to rebound once the 2011/12 season begins.


Penguins Reduce Roster To 23, Send Morrow To Juniors

The Penguins reduced their active roster to 23 today, just before heading to Vancouver for their season opener against the Canucks on Thursday.

Defenseman Joseph Morrow, the Penguins’ 2011 first round pick, was sent back to his junior hockey club, the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, following an impressive preseason campaign that lead many to speculate he would start the season with the Penguins.

Justin Williams, Alexandre Picard and Brian Strait were all assigned to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. Williams and Picard will need to pass through waivers.

Along with the demotions and reassignments, Sidney Crosby, Dustin Jeffrey, Nick Peterson, Robert Bortuzzo and Boris Valabik were placed on injured reserve.

The moves mean that Richard Park, Joe Vitale and Mark Letestu, three players battling for one of the few forward spots remaining, will open the season with the club. Crosby’s return is still indefinite, but Jeffrey could return sooner rather than later, and once that happens, the Penguins will be forced to make another decision.

One minor surprise was Brooks Orpik not being assigned to injured reserve. Orpik, recovering from off-season surgery, did not feature for the Penguins in the preseason. Many speculated that Morrow, would start with the Penguins while Orpik recovered, but apparently that was not the case.


Penguins Vs. Blackhawks: Pens 5-0 In Preseason After 4-2 Win

The Pittsburgh Penguins are now 5-0 in NHL preseason action after knocking off the Blackhawks Saturday in Chicago, 4-2.

Steve Sullivan scored a power-play goal on a slapshot late in the first period to put the Penguins up, 1-0.

Then Matt Cooke scored a shorthanded goal in the second period when he got the puck in the middle of the ice and caught Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery skating way too far from the goal.

Joe Vitale scored for the Penguins a few minutes later. Brandon Pirri got the Blackhawks back into the game with a power-play goal at the tail end of the second period and an even-strength goal halfway through the third, but Evgeni Malkin scored an empty-netter with less than a minute left to clinch the game for the Pens.

Brent Johnson played the entire game and had 35 saves for the Pens.

For more on the Penguins, check out PensBurgh.


A Day Of Penguins Practice Through The Eyes Of Twitter

The rise of the tweet has led to a more interesting training camp than one would find in typical years.

Rob Rossi, Dejan Kovacevic and Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (with a major tip of the hat to LetsGoPens.com’s Eric Majeski) have provided a constant stream of updates from the Consol Energy Center, doing everything from sharing the most banal of minutia, to providing rumor control directly from the source.

A prime example, yesterday, Evgeni Malkin, Twitter’s man of the hour (a total fish out of water and seriously welcome source of humor) tweeted that Sid had participated in a full-contact practice.

Mass hysteria ensued. People retweeted his post, friends were shooting me text messages. It was a great day to be a Penguins fan. Except, it didn’t happen, and Molinari made it known pretty quickly.

@MolinariPG: To clarify: There is no indication that what Crosby did today constitutes being cleared for contact. He still wore no-contact white helmet.

@MolinariPG: Crosby got bumped and jostled as much as anyone during today’s scrimmage, but it wasn’t close to game-caliber hitting.

A short while later, we learned that Malkin was just pulling a prank (“Just jokes I bump Sid in faceoff today…”), but it showed the power of the medium when used right.

With all of this in mind, I thought I’d provide an update on today’s camp, plucked solely from the Tweets of those men whom cover the Penguins on a daily basis.

First, in the “HA!” category…

@RobRossi_Trib: #Pens Orpik returning to practice, still a little stiff #morningskategags yfrog.com/khpanxej

And then, the real stuff. Like power play work..

@Dejan_Kovacevic: #Pens umbrella power play here now: Letang center point, Malkin and Sullivan outer points, Kennedy and Neal low.

…practicing draws…

@Dejan_Kovacevic: Lots of faceoff work for #Pens this morning. Not the set plays. Just the actual draws. http://yfrog.com/hsb9mhqj

…Sid’s status…

@Dejan_Kovacevic: Sid not with this group, obviously, as it’s morning skate for game tonight in Chicago.


…Malkin praise, which we should all be adept at at this point…


@Dejan_Kovacevic: One last thing before interview session: I’ve never seen Malkin move with such strength/energy. #Pens


…another Sid update…


@Dejan_Kovacevic: Sid heading out to ice now for practice, white helmet donned, smiling and joking with teammates. #Pens


…and tonight’s starting goaltender.


@Dejan_Kovacevic: Bylsma: Brent Johnson will play whole game tonight in Chicago. More of usual lines, special teams starting tonight. #Pens

It’s all short and precise. Brevity is the key, and only option. But, it also shows how the newspaper industry can keep up with the ever-changing landscape of online media, and use it to their advantage.

Providing constant updates and inside tidbits makes fans follow. Share a link with them every now-and-then that further expounds upon something tweeted earlier, and you’ll attract some solid hits to the paper’s website. It all supports each other.

Tonight’s game in Chicago is not televised. Unless you wouldn’t mind sitting by the radio to hear play-by-play (and to be honest, with Mike Lange on the call that’s never a bad option), Twitter may be your best source for up-to-the-minute information on the Penguins game as it happens against the Blackhawks.


Minnesota Wild Claims Nick Johnson Off Waivers From Pittsburgh Penguins

The Minnesota Wild have claimed forward Nick Johnson off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins, according to Bob McKenzie. The 25-year-old, whom the Penguins selected No. 67 overall in the 2004 NHL Draft, appeared in just 10 games over two seasons at the NHL level. As Seth Rorabaugh points out, former Penguins assistant Mike Yeo serves as the Wild's head coach, so Johnson will have the opportunity to with a familiar face in his new surroundings.

At Pensburgh, Hooks Orpik writes the move should benefit Johnson, as Minnesota "can use big forwards." But if the Wild isn't impressed with Johnson and decides to waive him, the Penguins can re-claim him "and throw him immediately in Wilkes-Barre if they so choose."

Johnson appeared in 169 games for the Wilkes-Barre Penguins of the American Hockey League from 2007 to 2011, tallying 114 points. With the NHL's Penguins, Johnson recorded two goals and three assists over 10 games.


Sidney Crosby Practicing, But Still No Contact

So in terms of Pittsburgh Penguins training camp, what do you want first, the good news or the bad news? I'll pick. The good news is that Sidney Crosby is still on the ice practicing with his squad. The bad news is that he is still wearing that dreaded white helmet, according to Rob Rossi.

#Crosby still donning WHITE helmet at #Pens practice #tribpens
Sep 29 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

In case you haven't been following Training Camp this year, that means that the other guys on the ice, the ones wearing black helmets, are not allowed to make contact with Crosby. So he's back and he's skating, but he isn't really playing hockey yet (depending on the semantic question of whether hockey without hard contact counts as "real hockey"). In other words, nothing has really changed about Crosby's status, although the "white helmet" thing is making the rounds on Twitter today.


Sidney Crosby Continues Improvement, Morrow Impresses, And More Penguins Preseason Notes

A potpourri of Penguins this and that to wrap up your Wednesday...

· Sidney Crosby continues to improve, and believes that he is nearing contact drills.

"Obviously, the more good days you have, the nearer you get, and, hopefully, we'll get there shortly," said Crosby, who is recovering from a concussion that occurred more than eight months ago.

Thus concludes your daily update on Crosby's status.

· While Simon Despres and a handful of other Penguins prospects have been sent to the minor leagues, one player who has managed to stick with the Penguins has been 2011 first-round pick Joe Morrow.

Morrow, still only 18, has impressed during camp, particularly in the skating category. While it's hard to imagine the Penguins will burn a year of his eligibility immediately, especially considering the blue line depth the club boasts, it's now at the point that it's hard to imagine Morrow not getting his nine-game maximum taste of the NHL before being sent back to juniors.

· Brooks Orpik continues to miss practice due to offseason surgery, and there appears to be some uncertainty as to whether the Penguins' blue line leader will be ready for the start of the regular season or not. The less likely Orpik is to be ready, the more likely it is Morrow will stick around for the start of the regular season.

· Dan Bylsma seems to be pleased with the progress James Neal has made since being moved to right wing at the start of training camp.

Neal was switched from his natural left side to the right at the start of the preseason in hopes of providing a boost to the sluggish numbers he posted after coming to the Pittsburgh from Dallas last year. Though he has played at both wings during camp and exhibition games, it's clear that Bylsma would prefer Neal establish himself on the right side.


Pittsburgh Penguins Preseason: Nick Johnson, Eric Tangradi Among Penguins Training Camp Cuts

The Penguins reduced their training camp roster by seven today when they demoted Eric Tangradi, Ryan Craig, Nick Johnson, Colin McDonald, Scott Munroe, Brad Thiessen and Scott Harrington.

Everyone but Harrington, who was returned to his junior hockey club, was sent to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. Craig, Johnson, McDonald and Munroe will have to clear waivers.

Tangradi and Johnson were both seen as having legitimate shots of making the Penguins roster out of camp.

Fans and coaches alike have been hoping for Tangradi, 22, to stake a claim to an NHL spot for the last couple of seasons, but the flashes of talent he has shown haven’t been enough to set himself apart from his competition. Tangradi scored three points in 15 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins and 33 points in 42 games with the WBS Penguins during an injury-shortened 2010-11 season.

Johnson, 25, was viewed as more of an outside shot, and his demotion comes of little surprise considering how congested the bottom of the Penguins depth chart is. Johnson scored three points in four games with the Pittsburgh Penguins and 39 points in 49 games with the WBS Penguins last season.


Pittsburgh Penguins Preseason: Who Was Kansas City Trying To Impress?

The Penguins defeated the Los Angeles Kings in a meaningless exhibition game last night. Those are the basics. What makes the game stand out is that it was played in Kansas City, MO., a city that was once very actively courting the Penguins for relocation.

That obviously didn't happen.

Kansas City, ever the hard-worker, is still hoping to show its viability as an NHL city, thus, exhibition contests like yesterday's. The question then becomes: who were they trying to impress? The game was available in exactly zero television markets. Not Pittsburgh, not Los Angeles and not even Kansas City.

The game was announced as a sell-out, and kudos to them for selling 17,000-plus tickets. But the Trib's Josh Yohe, who was at the game, tweeted that, while it was a late arriving crowd, there were still a heaping portion of empty seats at the venue.

If Phoenix, or whoever else is the relocation flavor of the month, wanted to play in a market that featured anonymity and poor television coverage, why bother moving all the way to Kansas City? 


Penguins Vs. Kings: Pens Win In Shootout Before Big Crowd In Kansas City

In NHL preseason action, the Penguins defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in a shootout before a packed house (well, by the numbers, at least) in Kansas City Tuesday night.

The Kings took a 1-0 lead into the third period thanks to a first-period goal by Jarret Stoll. But Deryk Engelland scored early in the third period for the Pens, and Chris Kunitz followed up a few minutes later to put the Pens in the lead.

A tripping penalty by Joe Vitale led to a Kings power-play goal by Alec Martinez with six minutes left in the game.

That led to a shootout. Evgeni Malkin made his shot early on, but Stoll responded with one of his own. After a long series of misses by both teams, Matt Niskanen made the winning shot for Pittsburgh.

Marc-Andre Fleury played the entire game and had 19 saves for the Pens.

For more on the Penguins, be sure to check out PensBurgh.


Kings Vs. Penguins Game In Kansas City Sells Out

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings will make NHL history Tuesday night in their preseason matchup at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The Kings, the designated home team in this neutral-site game, announced Monday evening the game is sold out. The Sprint Center seats 17,544 for hockey, meaning Tuesday's contest "will set the attendance mark for 2011 NHL pre-season games played at neutral site, non-NHL venues in North America," according to the Kings.

As I said: NHL history!

Even without superstar Sidney Crosby, who's recovering from a concussion suffered in January, the Pens own an unblemished 3-0 mark this preseason. Evgeni Malkin, with two goals and three assists to date, may be returning to Beast Mode. In contrast, Los Angeles has been anything but beastly, with a 1-1-1 record following a loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.

Keep checking this StoryStream for complete coverage of this and every other Penguins preseason game. Pensburgh is your source for all things Pittsburgh hockey. To get the enemy's perspective, visit Jewels From The Crown, SB Nation's L.A. Kings blog.


Penguins Vs. Kings Preview: Pittsburgh Travels To Kansas City For A Matchup With The Kings

The Pittsburgh Penguins will head West tonight to take on the Los Angeles Kings in a preseason game. But not all the way West to Los Angeles, the game will be played in Kansas City.

The Penguins are coming off a 4-1 victory over the Wild on Sunday, with all four goals coming on the power play. They looked pretty impressive in all facets of the game, even going 9-9 when they had to deal with the power play themselves.

The Kings are coming off of a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks. They've now lost two preseason games in a row after winning their first.

We'll have more on this game as it happens, and reaction after, in this StoryStream. If you want to read more on the Penguins, head over to SB Nation's Penguins blog Pensburgh. For more on the Los Angeles Kings, head over to Jewels From The Crown.


Sidney Crosby Gives Positive Update

Sidney Crosby participated in a short scrimmage recently and, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Shelly Anderson, all signs were positive for the Pens captain.

Everything’s been really good," he said. “I haven’t run into any issues so far. It’s been pretty smooth. A day at a time, but it’s been a lot of fun being out there and getting back to doing the things you’re used to doing every day as a hockey player.”

Crosby, who is still only cleared to participate in non-contact practice drills, unsurprisingly gave no definitive timetable for his return.

The words “cautious” and “optimistic” have been thrown around a lot recently regarding Crosby’s post-concussion symptoms, and rightly so.

He is progressing, but at a very slow, deliberate pace.

For more on the Penguins, check out PensBurgh.


Wild Vs. Penguins Score: Evgeni Malkin, Pens Cash In On Power Play, Win 4-1

The Penguins defeated the Minnesota Wild on Saturday with four goals, all of which came on the power play, as the Pens converted four of six power-play opportunities.

Pens first-round draft pick Joe Morrow scored his first professional goal on a 5-on-3 after a series of penalties to Marco Scandella. About a minute and a half later, Pascal Dupuis added a power-play goal of his own. Then there was a power-play goal by Brian Strait a few minutes after that.

After a boarding penalty against Warren Peters in the third period, Evgeni Malkin scored his second goal of the preseason to make it 4-0. Eric Nykstrom scored the Wild’s only goal a couple minutes later.

Brad Thiessen had 16 saves for the Penguins.

Malkin had two assists in addition to his goal, and Morrow had one. Kris Letang also had two assists.

For more on the Penguins, please check out PensBurgh.


Blackhawks Vs. Penguins: Jordan Staal Scores Twice In Four-Goal Third Period To Lead Pens

The Penguins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 in NHL preseason action on Thursday, with Jordan Staal picking up two goals for the Pens.

The Blackhawks scored first, when Brent Johnson failed to glove a shot be Michael Frolik midway through the second period.

The third period, though, was all Penguins. Tyler Kennedy knocked a shot off the post for Staal to knock in, and it was 1-0. Nine minutes later, Craig Adams took a shot that glanced off the stick of Tyler Kennedy, and the Pens were up by two. Kennedy followed with a goal of his own, and then Staal added a second goal as time ran out.

Johnson had nine saves in two periods for the Pens, and Scott Munroe had six saves in one period.

The Penguins will go on to face the Minnesota Wild on Saturday at 3:00 at CONSOL Energy Center.

For more on the Penguins, check out PensBurgh.


Penguins Defeat Red Wings 3-2 In Preseason Opener

Goals from Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin and Matt Niskanen paced the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at the Consol Energy Center on Wednesday night.

Kunitz opened the scoring on a feed from Malkin just after the midway point of the first period. Nicklas Kronwall leveled things for the visitors, scoring off of a Pavel Datsyuk feed. The assist was one of two for Datsyuk on the night.

Malkin gave the Penguins’ lead once again in the second period and less than three minutes later Niskanen added an insurance goal, making the score 3-1. Jiri Hudler would pull one back in the third period, but it wouldn’t be enough.

Marc-Andre Fleury got the win for the Penguins, making 15 saves on 16 shots in two periods of play. Backup Brad Thiessen played the third for the Penguins and also made 15 saves on 16 shots.

The Penguins host the Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night where the remainder of the Pens training camp roster will be in action. Most, if not all, of those who played against the Red Wings will be given the night off.


Penguins Open Preseason With Visit From Detroit Red Wings

The Penguins open their preseason schedule tonight, hosting the Detroit Red Wings at the Consol Energy Center at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Root Sports Pittsburgh.

The Penguins will be led by Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang while the Red Wings will have Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstromm in uniform. You can take a look at the rest of the Penguins’ and Red Wings’ lineups here.

Notable absentees for the Penguins include Steve Sullivan, Brooks Orpik, Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy. None of this is alarming, however, as preseason lineups are constantly juggled to allow fringe and minor league players a chance to prove themselves in a game situation.

The player to watch for the Penguins tonight could be Richard Park. A former second-round pick of the Pens in 1994, the 35-year-old native of Seoul, South Korea could prove to be a boost on the Penguins’ fourth line and penalty kill in the absence of Max Talbot.

Park has had a strong training camp thus far and looks to have a strong chance of making the Penguins opening day roster.

“Obviously, it’s exciting. It’s a great opportunity for myself,” Park said. “It’s a privilege to play among these guys, proven winners. I look forward to the opportunity.”


Penguins Training Camp Weekend Roundup: Crosby Skates Through Traffic, Malkin-Kennedy-Sullivan Line Impresses

With the first weekend of camp in the books, here's where we're at:

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