Print

Empty Netter Assists - 07-20-13

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Rangers signed former Penguins forward Lee Stempniak (above) to a one-year contract worth $900,000. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.5 million, Stempniak, 31, appeared in a total of 73 games last season and scored 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists). Acquired at the traded deadline last season, Stempniak played in 21 games for the Penguins and scored 11 points (four goals, seven assists).

-EN Says: Stempniak showed some flashes of his skill after joining the Penguins last season. He was an adequate fill-in on Sidney Crosby's line for the injured Pascal Dupuis but never seemed to fully lockdown a role on that line. Hardly a big, physical presence (5-foot-11, 196 pounds), Stempniak is a slick skater who can shoot the puck. Additionally, he can fill in on either special teams unit. This is a pretty good value for the Rangers.

-Troy Josephs, Matia Marcantuoni and Adam Payerl stood out as a line during yesterday's prospects scrimmage.

-Bill Guerin speaks:

-Kasperi Kapanen speaks:

Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division

-Capitals forward prospect Thomas DiPauli is trying to become the fourth Italian-born player in NHL history.

Atlantic Division

-The Bruins have too many defensemen.

Central Division

-The Jets re-signed restricted free agent forwards forwards Eric O’Dell, Patrice Cormier and John Albert to one-year two-way contracts.

Patrick Division

-Non-Hockey Note of the Day: The world - not just ours - changed 45 years ago today:

(Photos: Elsa/Getty Images and NASA/AFP/Getty Images)

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Empty Netter Assists - 07-19-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Penguins re-sign Simon Despres.

-The Penguins hired former right winger Mark Recchi (above) as a player development coach.

-There is no set timetable for forward prospect Oskar Sundqvist reaching the NHL.

-Tom Kuhnhackl hopes to join the other Germans on the Penguins' NHL roster.

-Assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald speaks:

-Former Penguins forward Matt D'Agostini has joined Genève-Servette of Switzerland's NLA.

-Happy 52nd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Craig Muni. Originally acquired from the Sabres in exchange for cash Oct. 3, 1986, Muni was traded to the Oilers three days later to complete a deal which brought Gilles Meloche to the Penguins. Muni came back to the Penguins as a free agent prior to the 1996-97 season. He would appear in 64 games that campaign and recorded four assists. In the 1997 offseason, he joined the Stars as a free agent.

-Happy 37th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin (right). A third-round pick in 1995, Aubin spent parts of six seasons with the Penguins. When Tom Barrasso struggled with injuries in 1998-99, Aubin made his NHL debut by appearing in 17 games and sporting a 4-3-6 record with a 2.22 goals against average, .908 save percentage and two shutouts. The 1999-2000 season was Aubin's finest in the NHL as he appeared in a team-high and career-high 51 games while going 23-21-3 with a 2.58 goals against average, .914 save percentage and two shutouts. During the team's memorable 2000-01 season, Aubin (right) platooned most of the campaign with Garth Snow as he played in 36 games and had a record of 20-14-1 with a 3.13 goals against average and .890 save percentage. Aubin was relegated to back-up duty behind new starter Johan Hedberg in 2001-02 as he only saw action in 21 games and had a dreadful 3-12-1 record with a 3.56 goals against average and .879 save percentage. Aubin served as the team's third goaltender in 2002-03 behind Hedberg and rookie Sebastien Caron appearing in 21 games with a 6-13-0 record, 3.13. goals against average .900 saver percentage and one shutouts. Aubin's final season with the Penguins was 2003-04. He played in 22 games and had a record of 7-9-0 with a 2.98 goals against average, .908 save percentage and one shutout. During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Aubin joined St. John's, Toronto's AHL affiliate. In 168 career games with the Penguins, Aubin had a record of 63-72-11, a 2.92 goals against average, .901 save percentage and six shutouts. His win and shutout marks are the fifth-best totals in franchise history. He is currently a member of Ducs d'Angers of France's Ligue Magnus.

Atlantic Division

-The Panthers re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (right) to a three-year contract worth a total of $13 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.5 million, Kulikov's new deal will have a cap hit of $4,333,333. Appearing in 81 games last season, Kulikov, 23, scored 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists).

-EN Says: Kulikov is a legit top-four defenseman who can play a fairly responsible 21 minutes a game and fill in on virtually every situation. A first-round pick in 2009, he hasn't truly reached his potential due in part to the constant turnover with Florida's management and coaching. This is a fair contract.

-The Bruins re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Zach Trotman to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.25 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $665,000, Trotman's new deal will have a cap hit of $625,000. Appearing in two NHL games last season, Trotman, 22, had no points.

-EN Says: Trotman is a puck-moving depth defenseman.

-The Bruins re-signed restricted free agent forward Craig Cunningham to a one-year two-way contract.

Central Division

-Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya (right) revealed he suffered a broken right foot during the Western Conference final against the Kings.

-How will free agent forward Brad Richards fit in with the Blackhawks?

Pacific Division

-Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller underwent a minor procedure for appendicitis.

-The Coyotes signed forward Brendan Perlini, a first-round pick in this year's draft, to a three-year entry-level contract.

(Photos: Steve Babineau/Allsport, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images and Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Penguins re-sign Despres - 07-18-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The Penguins have re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Simon Despres to a two-year contract worth a total of $1.8 million. Coming off an entry-level contract with a salary cap hit of $840,000, Despres' new deal will have a cap hit of $900,000.

Despres, 22, appeared in 34 NHL games last season and recorded five assists. In 36 AHL games, he scored 22 points (six goals, 16 assists).

A first-round pick in 2009, Despres has spent parts of three seasons at the NHL level for the Penguins. In 85 career games, he has 16 points (three goals, 13 assists).

With this signing, the Penguins' only remaining restricted free agents are forwards Nick Spaling and Brandon Sutter.

-EN Says: Are the Penguins finally committed to making Despres a full-time NHLer? This contract would certainly indicate a willingness to do that.

Beyond the slight pay raise this contract offers, the best thing which happened to Despres this offseason was the firing of Dan Bylsma. Bylsma simply didn't trust Despres a great deal. Whether that lack of trust was founded or not is debatable, but Despres rarely got a fair look at the NHL level under Bylsma. Granted, part of the reason Despres was usually marooned in the AHL was due to immunity to waivers under his old contract and that made it easier to move him between the AHL and NHL for the sake of making the team compliant with the salary cap and/or roster limitations but when given the choice of using Despres or a more veteran player, Bylsma more often than not turned to the latter.

With Bylsma's departure as well as the free agent losses of Deryk Engelland, Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik and a shoulder injury to Olli Maatta, Despres will never have a better chance at nailing down a full-time top-four role at the NHL level with the Penguins.

Despres has the skill. He showed that skill as well as a great deal of composure this past season when he was thrust into a top-four role as injuries ravaged the Penguins' blue line. A slick skater with ample size (6-foot-4, 217 pounds), the time is now for Simon Despres.

(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Hunter-Trapper safety courses, July 18 update

Written by John Hayes on .

From Pennsylvania Game Commission
Compiled by Anna Buttgereit

2014 PENNSYLVANIA HUNTER-TRAPPER EDUCATION COURSES

By law, all first-time hunters and trappers, regardless of age, must successfully complete a Hunter-Trapper Education course before they can buy a license. A training certificate, which is recognized throughout North America, is awarded at the end of a course. The training consists of two parts; online independent study and classroom training. Prior to attending a class, you must complete online independent study which will take approximately four hours. The classroom training sessions last six hours and you are required to pass a certification exam at the end of the class.

To register online for classes and to access the training log, go to www.pgc.state.pa.us and click on the Hunter-Trapper Education Classes link. Current scheduled classes are below.

Students must be at least 11 years old to attend this class.

Allegheny County

July 19 Bullcreek Rod and Gun Club, 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. Limit 40. 412-767-4780.

July 26 Springdale District Sportsmen’s Assn., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Limit 45.

Aug. 16 McKeesport Sportsman Association, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 50. 412-754-0512.

Aug. 16 Clairton Sportsman’s Club, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Limit 80. 412-650-8508.

Aug. 23 Logan’s Ferry Sportsman Club, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Limit 50. 412-795-5368.

Aug. 24 Logan’s Ferry Sportsman’s Club, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Limit 50. 412-795-5368.

Armstrong County

Aug. 9 Ford City Sportsman’s Association, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 25. 724-763-1748.

Aug. 23 Apollo Spring Church Sportsmen’s Club, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Limit 50. 724-478-1248.

Beaver County

Aug. 9 St. John Burry Church, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 60. 724-775-1997.

Aug. 23 Pine Run Sportsmen’s Club, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 40. 724-775-1997.

Fayette County

July 19 Nixon Gun Club, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Limit 40. 724-438-3249.

July 26 Turkeyfoot Rob and Gun Club, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Limit 50. 724-238-9523.

Aug. 16 Connellsville Sportsmen’s Assoc., 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Limit 40. 724-238-9523.

Greene County

Aug. 16 Greene County Fair Grounds 4-H Building, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 50. 724-451-8481.

Washington County

July 19 Canonsburg Sportsmen Club, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 60. 412-583-4186.

July 20 Charleroi Gun Club, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 40. 724-238-9523.

Aug. 9 Elrama Sportsmen’s Club, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Limit 40. 412-956-2712.

Aug. 16 Ellsworth Sportsmen’s Club, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Limit 40. 724-238-9523.

Aug. 23 Canonsburg Sportsmen’s Club, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Limit 32. 412-304-1907.

Aug. 23 Gander Mountain, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Limit 50. 724-238-9523.

Westmoreland County

July 19 Greensburg Sportsmen’s Association, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Limit 25. 724-771-5262.

July 19 Shaner Sportsman’s Club, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Limit 45. 724-872-8431.

July 26 Herminie No. 2 Game Association, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 25. 724-722-3395.

Aug. 2 Police Rod and Gun Club, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Limit 80. 412-817-1112.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Kuhnhackl hoping to join other Germans with Penguins - 07-18-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

 

Finding a San Jose Sharks fan in Landshut, Germany might seem like an odd endeavor. After all, there are just over 5873 miles separating the two cities.

But there was plenty of reasons for Tom Kuhnhackl and countless hockey fans in Germany to root for the California team. During the late 1990s and throughout the 2000s, the Sharks employed four of the country's better players in Marco Sturm, Marcel Goc, Thomas Greiss and Christian Ehrhoff.

Three of those players  - Goc, Greiss and Ehrhoff - are now members of the Penguins. Kuhnhackl is hoping he can join them some day.

The son of Erich Kuhnhackl, considered to be the "Wayne Gretzky of Germany," Tom Kuhnhackl will have to improve on the limited success he has experienced as a professional thus far if he hopes to reach the NHL. A fourth-round pick in 2010, Tom Kuhnhackl made his professional debut with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL in 2012-13 but was limited to 11 games and four points due to various injuries. During 2013-14, he was mostly healthy but bounced between AHL and ECHL due in part to a bloated lineup in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton full of established AHL veteran forwards.

With the Penguins not pursuing many AHL free agents this offseason, there would appear to be ample opportunity for Tom Kuhnhackl and other forward prospects to account for more playing time in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2013-14.

Kuhnhackl, 22, is attending the Penguins' prospect camp this week. Recently, he talked about his development.

You bounced between the AHL and ECHL last season. Was that difficult?

"I think it was a good thing. A really good experience for me, especially since I didn’t have a good couple of seasons before that with injuries and surgeries before that."

How important was it to simply be healthy for the most part after dealing with injuries in previous seasons?

"It felt great. It was just nice to be a part of the team the whole time. To go on road trips. Just to get to know [teammates] better. Because when you’re hurt, you’re mostly not going on the road trips."

How much of an adjustment has it been getting used to slimmer North American rinks versus wider European rinks these past few seasons?

"I like it. You don’t have as much time. You have to make quick decisions. Good decisions. You don’t have a much time so I like the smaller ice."

Are you trying to get bigger and stronger to play in North America?

"I’m trying to gain weight but you don’t want to be too heavy. I want to be a fast skater. If you’re too heavy, you can’t be fast, right?"

What was it like seeing Germany win the World Cup in soccer Sunday?

"Super excited. It was a great feeling. It’s been 24 years since [the last time] Germany won the World Cup. Unfortunately I couldn’t watch it. I was stuck at the airport. I followed it on Twitter. Obviously, it was a great feeling."

Did you play soccer in Germany?

"Yeah, obviously I’m from Germany. I didn’t have a choice so I played soccer."

How did you get involved in hockey? Through your father?

"Yeah. When you’re young, you just look around, you’re looking through drawers and you find videos and pictures of your dad. You’re wondering, ‘Really, my dad was a hockey player, not a soccer player?’ I asked him and he said ‘Yeah, I played hockey.’ So I decided to play hockey too."

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.