Matt Niskanen

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Training Camp Outlook; All About The Defense

It was brutal, demeaning, and downright pathetic. It was a four game beat down at the hands of the Boston Bruins that sent Pittsburgh packing to another relatively early exit.

The Pens had beefed up for the run, calling in ringers from around the league via trade. This caused the team to slow down drastically, reportedly in an attempt to be more difficult to play against. The result, however, was a drastic decline in speed and chemistry.

This season has the looks of something very different and the battles in camp should prove this to be true. Pittsburgh is staying in house this season and looking for a spark in terms of a youth movement.

Out with the old and in with the...

Penguin's Free Agency Updates

The anticlimactic Eastern Conference Finals left the fans of Pittsburgh with a plethora of questions. These questions particularly focused on the two major pieces of upcoming free agency, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. With both super star players heading into their final year of contractual status with the Penguins, it became top priority to sign both and work from that point on.

The Malkin Deal

Evgeni Malkin could have been a much richer man had he gone to UFA status or headed back to his native country of Russia, but Malkin insisted on staying in Pittsburgh. Malkin signed an eight year, 76 million dollar extension. His 9.5 million dollar AAV is the highest on the team and r...

The Islanders Restore Pride Despite Being Eliminated By Pens In Game Six

The New York Islanders lost 4-3 in overtime last night to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, thus ending their run in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins took the series in six games, winning the last battle on Coliseum ice in front of a sold out crowd of Islanders fans that continued to give their home team a standing ovation despite being eliminated.

"It's exciting to play in a building like this. It's a lot of fun. In my opinion, we're probably the loudest arena in the league now," said Matt Martin after the game.

"The fans were unbelievable through the end of the season there in the last five home games and all through the playoffs. They were a big factor in the way we played at home down the stretch. It makes a huge difference for us. People don't realize it but it gives you a little extra boost, a little extra energy when the crowd goes nuts like that. You definitely want to do something exciting."

Islanders Look To Carry Momentum Home For Game Three

Islanders look to carry home momentum for game 3

Kyle Okposo Sets The Tone For The Isles In Game Two

Fighting has been, and will continue to be a controversial topic of discussion for as long as it is in the game of hockey. There are those who are against it, and those who are in support of it (Photo Credit: bridgetds/Flickr).

There are those who enjoy seeing a good'ol scrap just for the fun. You know, the ones who say they went to a fight and suddenly a hockey game broke out.

But there are others who understand the role a fight can play in waking up a team; it's ability to provide a spark on the bench that can contribute to better defense, stronger goaltending and ultimately goals that can win hockey games.

That's exactly what Kyle Okposo provided last night.

Isles Rally In Pittsburgh To Even The Series 1-1

After being dismally shutout 5-0 in Pittsburgh for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals, the Islanders were headed in the same frightening direction last night during the first period of Game 2. The return of Sidney Crosby once again beset the Islanders after he scored his second goal of game to give the Pens a 3-1 lead after a period.

But a rejuvenated Isles team would show up the in the next frame and eventually shock the Penguins, in addition to just about everybody watching. The Islanders outplayed Pittsburgh for the rest of the game and scored three unanswered goals to even the series at 1-1. (Photo Credit: T.J. Corona/Flickr)

Examining The Acquisitions

When a team finds success in the NHL on a consistent basis, it is very difficult for GM’s to tinker with said success in order to find greater success. It is the easiest explanation as to how the NHL has witnessed such playoff parity. In the modern cap era it has become even more difficult to place a team on the ice that has a continued shot at a championship. So with all of this in perspective, is it possible that we see a Stanley Cup champion this season that has also won the cup within the past five seasons?

It is the question that seemingly everyone in the NHL is waiting to see. With Pittsburgh and Chicago pushing the boundaries of greatness, the NHL might finally witness ...

Kennedy's Snipe Ruins Stellar Game By Bryzgalov

For the second straight time the Flyers just couldn't hold a lead against the Penguins.

With 2:27 left in the over time period, Tyler Kennedy buried a wrister passed Ilya Bryzgalov to give the Penguins a 2-1 win. They rallied at the end of regulation to win their 12th straight game, stealing two points and a wash away an incredible effort by Ilya Bryzgalov.

Bryzgalov and Marc-Andre Fleury both put on a clinic, keeping the game scoreless through the first half of the game.

With 7:21 left on the clock in the second period the Flyers finally got their first power play opportunity. And with 5:51 left, Claude Giroux found the net to score the game's first goal.

(Pictured: Tyler Kennedy celebrates with Matt Niskanen after scoring the game-winner. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Vora-Trick: Jakub Voracek's Hat Trick Wins Game for the Flyers

It was Rival Night on NBC, and the Flyers and Penguins delivered.

Jakub Voracek's hat trick goal proved to be the game-winner in a wild 6-5 victory for the Flyers at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The game featured lead changes and blown leads,

The opening 10 minutes of the first period looked to be damning for the Flyers.

Playing completely flat-footed against a faster team almost spelled their early demise. Pittsburgh scored two quick goals, and possibly a third, jumping out to a 2-0 lead and 12-2 shot advantage.

(Pictured: Jakub Voracek celebrates with Braydon Coburn after scoring the winning goal late in the third. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Development of Despres

In 2009, after winning the Stanley Cup, the Pittsburgh Penguins held the 30th pick in the NHL Draft. With said pick the Penguins selected Simon Despres, a big bodied defensive prospect from the QMJHL. Standing at 6’4 and weighing in at 215 pounds, Despres wowed scouts with his excellent skating prowess and his offensive upside. While still very raw in his game, it was clear that Despres possessed the skill set and size to become an all situation defensemen in the NHL.

After being invited to training camp with the Penguins in 2009 and 2010, Despres showed how much his game needed to evolve. He would be sent back to his junior club in both seasons to progress. In the two seasons...