No viewing parties for Penguins playoff games - 04-13-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Due to construction on the site of the former Civic Arena, the Penguins will not be able to host viewing parties for playoff games as they have for the past seven years.

Development of the 28-acre site formally began March 23 has has eliminated approximately 1,000 parking spaces.

The Penguins first began hosting viewing parties at the front of Gate Three of the Civic Arena during the 2008 postseason. The gatherings were an instant hit as thousands of fans would bring lawn chairs (or in some cases, couches) and watch home as well as road games on a giant video board. Occasionally, the overflow crowd would force Washington Place, the road in front of the building, to be closed.

After the Penguins moved to Consol Energy Center in 2010, viewing parties for the 2011 postseason were held on a parking adjacent to the Civic Arena. In 2012, the parties were staged on a lawn adjacent to Consol Energy Center. For the past two seasons, the parties returned to the Civic Arena site.

"It became a staple and obviously we wish we could do it this year," said Penguins vice president of communications Tom McMillan. "There's just construction across the street which prevents it. In the future, looking forward as things [progress] over there, we think we'll be able to find spaces to do it. It's just the timing this year didn't work out. We're trying to do some other things. People really enjoyed coming down. We enjoyed having that."

The Penguins will stage a contest for 50 tickets in section 120 of Consol Energy Center for all home playoff games. An entry form for the contest can be found on the team's Web site.

Black and gold - Vegas gold, not Pittsburgh gold - towels will be distributed for every home game.

(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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Penguins-Rangers - Head to head - 04-13-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A look at the basis statistics of players on the active NHL roster of the Penguins and Rangers in head to head games this regular season.

Penguins skaters
Player, Position Games
Evgeni Malkin, C 4 2-1-3 2
Daniel Winnik, C 2 1-2-3 0
Nick Spaling, C 4 1-2-3 2
Blake Comeau, LW 3 1-1-2 0
David Perron, LW 3 1-1-2 2
Sidney Crosby, C 4 1-1-2 4
Steve Downie, RW 4 1-1-2 4
Kris Letang, D 3 0-2-2 4
Patric Hornqvist, RW 2 0-1-1 2
Brandon Sutter, C 4 0-1-1 0
Brian Dumoulin, D 1 0-0-0 0
Ben Lovejoy, D 1 0-0-0 0
Ian Cole, D 2 0-0-0 4
Pascal Dupuis, RW 2 0-0-0 0
Maxim Lapierre, C 2 0-0-0 2
Beau Bennett, RW 3 0-0-0 2
Chris Kunitz, LW 3 0-0-0 0
Craig Adams, RW 4 0-0-0 0
Christian Ehrhoff, D 4 0-0-0 4
Paul Martin, D 4 0-0-0 4
Taylor Chorney, D - - -
Scott Harrington, D - - -
Olli Maatta, D - - -
Derrick Pouliot, D - - -
Penguins goaltenders
Player Games
Record Goals
Marc-Andre Fleury 4 1-2-1 4.21 .866 0
Thomas Greiss 1 0-0-0 1.76 .866 0
Rangers skaters
Player, Position Games
Rick Nash, LW 4 4-3-7 0
Derick Brassard, C 4 2-3-5 0
Martin St. Louis, RW 4 2-3-5 2
Derek Stepan, C 4 2-2-4 2
Kevin Klein, D 4 2-1-3 0
Mats Zuccarello, RW 4 1-2-3 0
Kevin Hayes, RW 4 1-1-2 2
Chris Kreider, LW 3 0-2-2 2
Dan Girardi, D 4 0-2-2 4
Dominic Moore, C 4 0-2-2 0
Marc Staal, D 4 0-2-2 4
J.T. Miller, C 2 1-0-1 0
Ryan McDonagh, D 2 0-1-1 0
Carl Hagelin, LW 4 0-1-1 2
Dan Boyle, D 3 0-0-0 0
Tanner Glass, LW 3 0-0-0 2
Matt Hunwick, D 3 0-0-0 0
Jesper Fast, RW 4 4-0-0 0
James Sheppard, C - - -
Chris Summers, D - - -
Keith Yandle, D - - -
Rangers goaltenders
Player Games
Record Goals
Henrik Lundqvist
4 3-0-1 1.69 .950 1
Cam Talbot - - - - -

(Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Empty Netter Assists - Dumoulin, Harrington recalled - 04-13-15

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-The Penguins recalled defensemen Brian Dumoulin (right) and Scott Harrington from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-Their recalls mean the Penguins won't have to worry about playing with only five defensemen any longer.

-The Penguins won't have home-ice advantage in a postseason series for the first time since winning the 2009 Stanley Cup final in Detroit.

-Andrew Ebbett had a goal and an assist for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 3-1 win against the Portland Pirates. Jeff Zatkoff made 29 saves for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-“His stick position, tracking the puck when he doesn’t have it, stopping and starting, playing in the defensive zone — those are things he did a good job with. I think the team he came from did a real good job instilling those habits.” - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coach John Hynes on forward Kasperi Kapanen.

-Eric Hartzell made 31 saves for the Wheeling Nailers who finished their regular season with a 4-2 win against the Brampton Beast.

-The Nailers will face the Toledo Walleye in the division semifinals of the Kelly Cup playoffs. The schedule:

Game 1 – Thursday, April 16 at 8:15 p.m. ET at Toledo
Game 2 – Saturday, April 18 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 22 at 7:05 p.m. ET at Wheeling
Game 4 – Friday, April 24 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Wheeling
Game 5 – Saturday, April 25 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Wheeling-*
Game 6 – Tuesday, April 28 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo-*
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 29 at 7:35 p.m. ET at Toledo-*

*-If necessary

-Happy 52nd birthday to former Penguins forward Jim McGeough. Acquired at the 1985 trade deadeline in a deal which sent Mark Taylor the Capitals, McGeough spent parts of three seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1984-85 by appearing in 14 games for the Penguins and recording four assists. In 1985-86, McGeough played in 17 games and recorded five assists. He followed that up in 1986-87 by seeing action in 11 games and netting five points. In the 1987 offseason, he joined Klagenfurter AC in Austria.

-Happy 41st birthday to former all-star Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar (right). A free agent signing in the 2005 offseason, Gonchar spent five seasons with Penguins. Gonchar's debut season in Pittsburgh saw him appear in 75 games and record 58 points. His second campaign saw Gonchar play in all 82 games and match a career-high in points with 67. He appeared in five postseason games that spring and scored four points. In 2007-08, Gonchar as he netted 65 points in 78 games, earned an appearance in the All-Star Game. During that spring's postseason, Gonchar played in 20 games and contributed 14 points while helping the Penguins return to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 16 years. A preseason injury derailed his 2008-09 season as he only appeared in 25 games and scored 19 points. In 22 postseason games that spring, Gonchar appeared in 22 games and scored 14 points while helping the franchise earn its third Stanley Cup title. In 2009-10, Gonchar appeared in 62 games and record 50 points. He saw action in 13 postseason games in 2010 and contributeded 12 points. During the 2010 offseason, he joined the Senators as a free agent. In 322 games with the Penguin, "Sarge" recorded 259 points, 30th-most in franchise history. In 60 postseason games, he scored 44 points. He is currently a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

-Happy 37th birthday to former Penguins forward Arron Asham. A free agent signing in the 2010 offseason, Asham has spent the past two seasons with the Penguins. In 2010-11, Asham appeared in 44 games and scored 11 points. He saw action in seven postseason games last spring and collected four points. Last season, Asham saw action in 64 games and scored 16 points. He played in three postseason games last spring and had no points. In 108 career regular season games with the Penguins, Asham has scored 27 points. In 10 postseason games, he had four points. During the 2012 offseason, he joined the Rangers as a free agent.

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-The Rangers assigned forward Ryan Bourque to Hartford of the AHL.

-The Islanders recalled defenseman Griffin Reinhart from Bridgeport of the AHL and assigned goaltender Kevin Poulin to Bridgeport.

-The Capitals assigned forward Stanislav Galiev to Hershey of the AHL.

-The Devils assigned forwards Stefan Matteau and Reid Boucher to Albany of the AHL.

-The Hurricanes assigned defenseman Keegan Lowe to Charlotte of the AHL.

Atlantic Division

-The Sabres fired head coach Ted Nolan (right) as well as assistant coaches Bryan Trottier, Tom Coolen and Danny Flynn. In his second stint with the Sabres, Nolan had a 40-87-17 record over parts of two seasons. The Sabres finished with the worst overall record in the NHL this season at 23-51-8.

-The Lightning assigned forward Jonathan Marchessault to Syracuse of the AHL.

-The Canadiens signed defenseman Mark MacMillan, a fourth-round pick in 2010, to a two-year entry-level contract.

-In addition to firing general manager Dave Nonis and interim head coach Peter Horachek, the Maple Leafs fired assistant coaches Steve Spott, Chris Dennis, goaltending coach Rick St. Croix and the majority of the scouting department.

-The Maple Leafs assigned defenseman Andrew MacWilliam to Toronto of the AHL.

Central Division

-With a salary cap crunch looming this summer, it's now or never for this group of Blackhawks.

-The Blackhawks recalled goaltender Antti Raanta and defenseman Kyle Cumiskey from Rockford of the  AHL.

-The Avalanche assigned forwards Freddie Hamilton, Joey Hishon and defenseman Duncan Siemens to Lake Erie of the AHL.

-The Stars assigned defenseman Patrick Nemeth to Texas of the AHL.

Pacific Division

-The Canucks assigned forward Sven Baertschi to Utica of the AHL.

-The Flames assigned forwards Emile Poirier, David Wolf, defensemen Brett Kulak and John Ramage to Adirondack of the AHL.

-The Oilers assigned defensemen Martin Marincin, Brandon Davidson and David Musil to Oklahoma City of the AHL.

-Kings general manager Dean Lombardi admitted players locked head coach Darryl Sutter (right) out of the team's dressing room in order to hold a players only meeting after a win against the Lightning Feb. 7.

-The Kings assigned forward Jordan Weal to Manchester of the AHL.

-The Sharks assigned forwards Chris Tierney, Bryan Lerg, defensemen Taylor Fedun and Karl Stollery to Worcester of the AHL.

Smythe Division

-NBC will televise the draft lottery Saturday.

-Goaltender Devin Williams made 27 saves for the Erie Otters in a 4-1 win against the London Knights in Game 3 of their OHL second-round playoff series. Erie leads the best-of-seven series, 3-0.

(Photos: Al Bello/Getty Images, Harry How/Getty Images, Jamie Sabau/Getty Images and Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

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Spring practice notes: April 11

Written by Craig Meyer on .

wvu spring

West Virginia gathered for its second open spring practice in Morgantown for the upcoming 2015 season last Saturday. Prior to the practice, Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen met with the media to provide updates and share a few insights on how his team is progressing.

Below are some notes from that briefing, along with some observations from practice:

** The biggest piece of news to come from the event was that Daikiel Shorts has been moved from inside receiver, where he was listed on the pre-spring practice depth chart, to outside receiver. It's a move that was made partially out of necessity -- "We need outside receivers," Holgorsen said -- but it's also a testament to how he has looked in some of the team's early practices.

Shorts is taking the place of Vernon Davis, Jr., who was previously listed as one of the team's two starters at outside receiver. Shelton Gibson is the other, though this is all obviously subject to change.

"We need to find a wideout," Holgorsen said of Shorts. "He’s going through some growing pains with that right now, but he’s an experienced receiver who’s got good size and good speed. He’s right now our top guy at the outside."

** At a time of year when news is often in short supply, the arrest of defensive lineman Kyle Rose was one of the main stories surrounding the team last week. Holgorsen said Rose has been suspended all week and has "cleaned this entire weight room."

During the team's practice, he was walking and running stairs under the supervision of a staff member and was even cleaning garbage from the bleachers (though with it being April, I was wondering what kind of trash was actually in the stadium).

"That type of behavior is not going to be tolerated under any circumstances," Holgorsen said. "With that said, Kyle has been a four-year guy that has done the right thing on and off the field for four years.

"He has taken care of business academically and has played a lot of football. We’ll handle it internally, and he understands what is expected of him as a senior leader."

** Darrien Howard is "starting to come into his own a little bit" on the defensive line and is taking second-team reps, along with redshirt freshman Jaleel Fields.

** Depth is the biggest issue right now in the secondary, though with the confidence the staff has in the starters, it's not a pressing issue. Jaylon Myers, listed as a No. 2 cornerback on the pre-spring depth chart, has been hampered by an illness and did not practice Saturday. Malik Greaves, a No. 2 safety, has been hurt, as has Jarrod Harper.

** Each of the team's quarterbacks is smart and is doing a good job of absorbing everything thrown their way.

"They’re still a ways from where they need to be, but I’m going to start repping them for the rest of the spring," Holgorsen said.

For anyone who hasn't seen him live, freshman David Sills has kind of an awkward throwing motion that's a little hard to describe (here's a highlight video of him from 2013 if you want to see it).

When asked about it, Holgorsen said "I have to work on that. I have seen enough of him. The thing that impressed me so much the other day is what he did with his legs. He’s a real athletic kid, and he is real smart. He has to get the ball out a little bit quicker."

** When asked about quarterback Skyler Howard in the backfield, Holgorsen had an interesting quote about how he's pieced together this group of quarterbacks, which seems like more of a departure from a traditional pocket passer like he had last year with Clint Trickett.

"We talked about this a little bit, but we try to recruit more athletic guys," he said. "I’m not going to sacrifice the passing ability, but I will sacrifice probably some height and the arm strength for the athleticism. That’s what we started recruiting."

** Speaking of Howard, he looked the best of any of the quarterbacks I saw Saturday. Granted, the time that we saw them operating on offense was limited to the final 20-30 minutes of practice, but his passes seemed the most on point and you could clearly see that he has the most game experience of any player in the group. On the first play of the red-zone drills at the end, he connected with an open Gibson on a well-thrown pass for a 30-yard touchdown.

** Gibson had a couple of noticeable drops and looks like he still has a little work to do. Again, it's early, so these early struggles may just be that.

** When looking at the receivers, none were more impressive Saturday than Shorts. He caught pretty much any pass thrown his way and he displayed the kind of shiftiness, speed and agility that allowed him to get a good amount of yards after the catch, something the Mountaineers will likely need this season with a collection of inexperienced quarterbacks who will likely struggle early with their deep ball accuracy.

It doesn't take too long to watch him to understand why Holgorsen talks about Shorts like he's the team's top wide receiver. He certainly looks that way.


Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG

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Montour sophomore pitcher Vietmeier picks LSU

Written by Mike White on .

Trent Vietmeier is only a sophomore at Montour High School, but he already has decided where he wants to play college baseball - and it's at one of the top programs in the country.

Vietmeier, a 6-foot-3 1/2, 205-pound right-handed pitcher, made a verbal commitment to Louisiana State University Sunday. Vietmeier is ranked the No. 27 sophomore in the country by Perfect Game, a baseball scouting organization.

Vietmeier was already being recruited by a number of major colleges. He chose LSU over Pitt, Penn State, Louisville and Virginia. LSU is one of the top programs in the country and has won six NCAA championships, all since 1991.

In college baseball recruiting, it is pretty much unheard of for a high school player to get a full scholarship because Division I teams can only have a maximum of 11.7 scholarships. So they spread the scholarships out among their team. But schools recruiting Vietmeier were offering in the neighborhood of 80 percent scholarship, which is a lot for baseball..

"I thought he was leaning toward LSU," said Glenn Vietmeier, Trent's father and Montour's coach. "I never interfered with him. He said he wanted to make this decision on his own and he just thought LSU was the best and it really is a top program."

Trent Vietmeier is in his second year on the Montour varsity and has yet to give up a run. He has pitched 19 scoreless innings in two years, working mostly as a closer. He is 1-0 with one save and has pitched 6 2/3 innings this year. He will probably used as a starter more, possibly this week.

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