James Neal

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What You Need to Know, Penguins Versus Jackets Team Breakdown

Breakdown: Team Analysis

Penguins – The Penguins are the more talented team in this match up and it isn’t all that close. Pittsburgh is a very lucky team in terms of talent.

They will have a healthy Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, something questioned last season with Crosby coming off a broken jaw. Pittsburgh has a legitimate top six on the back end this season. It currently looks like the only player that will miss significant time in the playoffs is Marcel Goc and his return can be as early as next week.

(Disclaimer, this is not including Pascal Dupuis who is out from ACL surgery in February, there is no possible way he can return this season)

The q...

Breaking: Letang To Return To Penguins Lineup Tonight

In a brief and sudden press conference on Wednesday morning, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero announced that defenseman Kris Letang will be returning to the lineup.

Letang, 26, suffered a stroke in January while the Penguins were on a road trip out west. It is important to note that once Letang had successfully underwent treatment, including blood thinners; he would be medically cleared to play.

“He's at no further risk to suffer a stroke playing hockey than going to grocery store.” Said Ray Shero at the press conference

He is correct in saying so. Letang has a heart condition that doesn’t change with elevated heart rates, unlike the heart condition...

Blackhawks extend losing streak to 3 after loss to Penguins

Both the Blackhawks and Penguins talked about needing to win Sunday night's match prior to the game; both teams had lost their last two games.

Pittsburgh just sold what they were saying better in the first period, going up 2-0 halfway through the period with goals just 21 seconds apart by James Neal and Lee Stempniak.

Sheldon Brookbank got the Blackhawks on the board 11:10 into the second period.

But any elation that Chicago might have felt over finally scoring was punched in the gut a few minutes later when Brooks Orpik checked Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews hard into the boards. Though the hit was called legal on the ice, Toews hit the boards hard...

Peaking at the Proper Time; The Penguins Paradox of Finding Health and Consistent Play

Mediocrity, it is certainly one way to describe the Penguins play of late.

Their wins can be broken down into simply taking advantage of what is in front of you, while their losses have come from little effort and lack of dictating play. Some claim it is the toll of so many injuries finally taking its toll on the team, others quote from the book of a post Olympic slump, but either way the team is not improving.

Or are they?

While it is an argument that is destined to fall on deaf ears of aggravated fans, the Penguins are in a better position than they have been the past three seasons.

At 6-5-1 in March the Penguins are barely breaching the plateau of average. This ...

Peaking at the Proper Time; The Penguins Paradox of Finding Health and Consistent Play

Mediocrity, it is certainly one way to describe the Penguins play of late.

Their wins can be broken down into simply taking advantage of what is in front of you, while their losses have come from little effort and lack of dictating play. Some claim it is the toll of so many injuries finally taking its toll on the team, others quote from the book of a post Olympic slump, but either way the team is not improving.

Or are they?

While it is an argument that is destined to fall on deaf ears of aggravated fans, the Penguins are in a better position than they have been the past three seasons.

At 6-5-1 in March the Penguins are barely breaching the plateau of average. This ...

Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight; Beat Up Penguins Get Thrashed By Surging Flyers

Fleury was strong despite allowing seven goals.

Yah, you read that correctly. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed seven goals in just four periods of hockey, but he was good. He was actually really good. In Sunday’s game, there were at least five amazing saves that stoned the Flyers, only to let them score shortly after from poor defensive coverage. Fleury never lost his cool. Something that shows a more mature, prepared Fleury. If he can have a strong bounce back week after this weekend, then all will be fine in the Steel City.

Taylor Pyatt should be back in the minors.

He is big. That is about all I can say when it comes to a proper scouting report.

Since coming to ...

Blackhawks snow the Penguins 5-1 in Stadium Series

The defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, versus the popular Pittsburgh Penguins. A powerhouse showcase at Soldier Field. Megastars Jonathan Toews versus Sidney Crosby, playing their very first game against one another despite both being in the league for seven seasons. A kid who grew up watching the Penguins but has now won a Cup with the Blackhawks. Players who were medal-winning teammates in Sochi a week ago now facing off across the ice.

Going into Saturday night's Stadium Series game in Chicago, the stage was set with storylines galore. You could hardly turn without bumping into one.

Ultimately, however, the story was about the weat...

Kesler Report Becomes Official; The Penguins Are Foolish To View This As A Fix

When the rumor came out of the woodwork just a few days back, I was taken by surprise. I figured the Penguins were more interested in acquiring winger depth than trying to reestablish the dominant three center model that won them a Stanley Cup.

But what do I know about building a competitive hockey team.

Pittsburgh is reported by just about every major outlet to be heavily interested in acquiring Kesler’s services. He would be an instant upgrade at the third line center position and has the ability to play wing when needed; however, there is a big problem with this.

For one, Kesler would join the Penguins at a time of depletion. With Pascal Dupuis and Beau Bennett ...

Hawks and Pens prepare to clash at Soldier Field

The Hawks have had a lot to be excited for this year, from an electrifying banner-raising opening night to sending ten athletes to the Olympics (bringing back six who medaled), and as Saturday night approaches, they’ll countine their season with one of the most anticipated games of the season-facing the Penguins in the final game of the NHL’s Stadium Series at Soldier Field.

 

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This is our House; Pens beat Jets and Rangers to Extend Home Win Streak to 12

Despite two wins over the weekend, the biggest headlines in Pittsburgh were the returns of Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and the 12 game home winning streak.

Malkin, who missed nine games due to a leg injury sustained in Detroit, returned Sunday against the Jets in glorious fashion.  Letang also returned on Sunday against the Jets, but will need further time on the ice in order to find his grove.

On Friday, Pittsburgh welcomed divisional for New York Rangers onto Consol ice. It was expected to be a rather close game considering the beat down the Rangers gave the Penguins at MSG just a few weeks back.

Someone forgot to tell Pittsburgh though.

At the 13:09 mark, C...