Olli Maatta

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Neal's Overtime Winner Ends Raleigh's Rally

Leading into the first game after the Christmas break, the top news was the confirmation of Pascal Dupuis' ACL injury and that surgery will be needed likely ending his season.  To fill his roster spot, the Penguins had recalled Harry Zolnierczyk to the fold. As well as seeing the return of defenseman Deryk Engelland from his five game suspension for his head hit on Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader.  

The first period was mostly controlled by the home side while both teams skated quite well for the first game back from a several day break. Passes for the Penguins were less crisp however and by the end of the first period the shots advantage was 16-7 in favor of the H...

Pens Win 6th Straight; Maatta's Exceptional Play Is Turning Heads

With ten regulars missing from the lineup…

Forget it; the Pittsburgh Penguins are not just overcoming injuries anymore. They aren’t just kids filling in for starters and coming away with a victory here and there. They are a deep team, a talented team, a team that is playing like they should.

With a 5-2 victory on home ice against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins firmly move into first place in the Eastern Conference. They are just two points behind league leading Chicago.

They have won six straight games, 11 of their past 12, and nine straight at home.

The team’s goals against average over the past 12 games is a miniscule 1...

Penguins Defense Deeper than Expected; How Current Call Ups Change Pittsburgh’s Defensive Game Plan

Over the past 4 seasons, Ray Shero has had a niche for finding quality defensemen in the draft and via trade. This pursuit of Ray’s had been criticized over the years, stating that Shero has neglected the winger position and the goaltender position, but those critics are tasting the sweet meat of crow right about now.

In 2009, the Penguins drafted two defensemen with their first two selections. First round selection Simon Despres has played sparingly over the course of two years and was recalled from WBS Baby Penguins nine games ago. The Penguins second selection in 2009 was defenseman Phillip Samuelsson. Samuelsson will make his NHL debut on Monday, December 16 against the To...

Kris Letang to IR: Penguins Blue Line Missing Four Top Defenders, Recall Son of Ulf

On Saturday, while in Detroit, Kris Letang injured himself in warm-ups. There were no further comments on his status until Monday morning when Letang was placed on IR in order to make room for two roster moves.

With Kris Letang being moved to IR, the Penguins were able to make room for call ups Phillip Samuelsson and Harry Zolnierczyk.
Letang joins three other Penguin defenders on IR, including Rob Scuderi (likely to return next week) Paul Martin, and Brooks Orpik. Unfortunately, that is all four of the Penguins top four defensemen. With Deryk Engelland certain to be suspended for his hit to the head of Justin Abdlkader, the Penguins had no other choice but to make the call ups...

Isles Fall In OT To Visiting Pens

Tonight, the Islanders led most of the game. As is the norm, it was the first line of John Tavares, Thomas Vanek and Kyle Okposo who led the way.

After defenseman Thomas Hickey forced a turnover with the Pens skating into the Islanders’ zone, the Isles top line skates into the Pittsburgh zone. Tavares hits Okposo with a pass and the forward skates up the left wing. Okposo then backhands the puck on net where it ricochets off of Pitt defender Olli Maatta and past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Penguins Drop Two Straight; Looking for Healthy Returns to Provide Consistency

The Penguins have now dropped two straight and are just 5-5 in their last ten games. Their offense has been struggling as of late and the defense has found little consistency following the injury to Rob Scuderi. So the question is, what can the Penguins do find success?

On the Defensive Side – With Rob Scuderi out of the lineup, the Penguins have been forced to alter their defensive pairings. Unfortunately, now Paul Martin is considered day to day and will most likely miss his second straight game on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers. With all of that in mind, the Penguins do not have too many options other than to alter their pairings.

The first Penguins pairing...

Two Week Recap; Defensive Edition

After six games the Pittsburgh Penguins currently stand atop the newly formed Metropolitan division with a record of 5-1-0. So far they have not played a truly difficult schedule, beating just one team that has a record .500 or better and have faced three teams on the second night of a back to back series. Despite this, the Penguins are taking advantage of their schedule early on and creating a multitude of storylines for the NHL.

He Isn’t Going Back – After putting together an incredible performance in training camp, Olli Maatta has clearly demonstrated that his talents are NHL ready. Maatta currently ranks third on the Penguins defense in defensive zone draws. His ice ...

Under the Cap?

The Pittsburgh Penguins have made some very interesting moves on deadline day and not all of them should be taken at face value.

Derrick Pouliot sent back to Portland Winterhawks – It is not a surprising move in the least, even I predicted this one to come to fruition. Pouliot was simply not ready for the NHL and needed to work on his game at a level in which he was comfortable. This is the best move for his growth as a player and should not spark any controversy about his future with the Penguins.

Beau Bennett sent to Wheeling Nailers – This is nothing more than a cap circumventing move for the Penguins and it likely means that Chuck Kobasew has successfully earne...

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...

Prospect Week

As free agency continues, it's becoming clear that the Pittsburgh Penguins are not going to be signing any big-name free agents. 

The Penguins are going to be developing talent in their system. They're going to find opportunities and no longer search for answers.  This is prospect week for the  Penguins and 34 young guns are ready to showcase their skills in hopes of reaching the NHL.

This new set of prospects is once again something to behold.  Pittsburgh heads into the prospect camp a little short this season as Eric Tangradi wasn't invited.

Tangradi's omission may show that Pittsburgh is ready for him as a full-time player and no lo...