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Jersey hunt - Hurricanes at Penguins - 01-17-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

The best jerseys at today's Penguins-Hurricanes game:

-Rick Tocchet has a fan:

-Speaking of assistant coaches with combative histories, ditto Joey Porter:

-Steve Downie:

-Matthew Barnaby:

-Darius Kasparaitis:

-This David Perron fan may have needed some consoling:

-There are quite a few Hurricanes fans on hand. Justin Faulk:

-Andrej Nestrasil has two fans on hand, including one fro his Grand Rapids Griffins days:

-Cam Ward:

-Bryan Rust's brother, former Wheeling Nailers forward Matt Rust has a fan here:

 

 

-Former Penguins/Hurricanes/Whalers defenseman Paul Coffey:

-Dan Quinn:

-Jersey of the Day: Former Penguins center and current Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis:

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Pregame thoughts - Hurricanes at Penguins - 01-17-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

First things first, defenseman Kris Letang (above) is out today due to an undisclosed injury. He appeared to jam his right arm or hand into the end boards due to a forecheck by Lightning right winger Ryan Callahan Friday.

Head coach Mike Sullivan said Letang will be a game-time decision for Monday's game in St. Louis.

Sullivan said he was unsure of who will replace Letang on the top power-play unit and suggested it might be a few players.

The Penguins are 19-9-6 with Letang in the lineup this season and 1-7-1 without him.

---

-Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will start.

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New left winger Carl Hagelin held court with reporters and team employees today. Here's a partial transcript of what he had to say:

Do you feel you're a good fit for how the Penguins want to play?

“I think so. It's a team that's straight forward. Use your legs. I feel the [defensemen] are trying get as many quick [passes up ice] as possible. That's probably one of the reasons they wanted to trade for me, for me to being my speed and play the way I can.”

Why didn't you produce many points in Anaheim?

"I wasn't feeling great in the beginning of the year and the team wasn't playing well either. That obviously was a part of it. I started to feel good after Christmas. I'm feeling the way I want to feel right now."

You had an "upper-body" injury in Anaheim during the preseason. Has that that lingered at all?

"No, nothing."

What was your approach to fighting through the scoring slump?

“You just keep working hard. Keep getting pucks to the net. Sooner or later it's going to go in for you. That's what I started doing there at the end."

What was your history with Sullivan when he was an assitant coach with the Rangers?

"I was a young guy that came up. He's a really good coach. I didn't play on the [power play]. He was a [power-play] coach in New York but at the same time, he was there for me when I needed him and he gave me some good advice."

What advice has he given to you for today's game?

"He said don't worry too much about systems or anything. Just play your game and do what you're good at."

You played on the first, second and third line in Anaheim this season. What's the difference in playing the three lines in general?

"Obviously, if you're on the top two [lines], you want to produce as much as possible. You want to play the game in the offensive zone. On the third line, it was more of a shutdown line in Anaheim. You just try to shut the other team down and play 0-0."

Sullivan suggested you would be someone who digs pucks free and creates turnovers on the second line playing with center Evgeni Malkin and right winger Phil Kessel.

"Yeah. I think so. Use my speed, create turnovers, win some battles in the corners and give those guys the pucks."

You're a left wing but can you play either side?

"More comfortable on the left but I can play the right."

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-Hagelin will be counted on to fill a role on the penalty kill. The Penguins have had trouble with the Hurricanes power play this season. Here's the top power-play units against the Penguins this season:

 

Team Games
Played
Power-Play
Goals/Chances
Success
Rate
Blues 1 1-2 50.0%
Hurricanes 2 3-7 42.8%
Lightning 1 2-5 40.0%
Stars 2 3-8 37.5%

(Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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About the Hurricanes - 01-17-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Hurricanes.

When and where: 3 p.m., EST, Consol Energy Center.

TV: Root Sports, Fox Sports Carolina.

Record: 20-18-8, 48 points. The Hurricanes are in fifth place in the Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division.

Leading Scorer: Defenseman Justin Faulk, 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists).

Last Game: 3-2 home loss to the Canucks Friday. Goaltender Cam Ward made 19 saves for the Hurricanes.

Last Game against the Penguins: 3-2 overtime home win Tuesday. Center Eric Staal and right winger Kris Versteeg (right) each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Center Eric Staal. He has 46 points in 44 career games against the Penguins.

Ex-Penguins on the Hurricanes: Pro scout Jeff Daniels, general manager Ron Francis, Jordan Staal.

Ex-Hurricanes on the Penguins: Center Matt Cullen, defenseman Brian Dumoulin (Doumoulin was a former Hurricanes draft pick but never played for the organization), vice president of hockey operations Jason Karmanos, player development coach Mark Recchi, general manager Jim Rutherford.

Useless Hurricanes Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: No Eastern Conference opponent has a better success rate on the power play against the Penguins this season than the Hurricanes. In two games, they have gone 3-for-7 on the power play vs. the Penguins (42.9%).

The last time the Penguins played the Hurricanes, this happened: 

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (15-11-5, 2.35 GAA, .923 SV%) or Jeff Zatkoff (3-4-1, 2.60 GAA, .926 SV%) for the Penguins. Eddie Lack (6-7-3, 2.84 GAA, .894 SV%) for the Hurricanes.

Injuries: For the Penguins, defenseman Kris Letang (right hand or arm) is questionable. Right wingers Beau Bennett ("upper body"), Pascal Dupuis (blood clots) and center Nick Bonino (hand) are on injured reserve. For the Hurricanes, defenseman Brett Pesce ("lower body") is doubtful. Defenseman James Wisniewski (knee) is on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: Neither team had a morning skate. Consider this a guess for the Penguins based off Friday's game against the Lightning: 

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 72 Patric Hornqvist
61 Carl Hagelin - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 81 Phil Kessel
34 Tom Kuhnhackl - 16 Eric Fehr 17 Bryan Rust
 11 Kevin Porter - 7 Matt Cullen - 43 Conor Sheary

58 Kris Letang - 3 Olli Maatta
8
 Brian Dumoulin - 12 Ben Lovejoy
6 Trevor Daley - 28 Ian Cole

-According to the team's Web site, the Hurricanes' lines and pairings are expected to be:

32 Kris Versteeg - 12 Eric Staal - 16 Elias Lindholm
42 Joakim Nordstrom - 11 Jordan Staal - 15 Andrej Nestrasil
53 Jeff Skinner - 49 Victor Rask - 20 Riley Nash
24 Brad Malone - 18 Jay McClement - 14 Nathan Gerbe

26 John-Michael Liles - 27 Justin Faulk
5 Noah Hanifin - 65 Ron Hainsey
47 Michal Jordan - 74 Jaccob Slavin

Notes:

-Left winger Carl Hagelin is expected to make his Penguins debut. He will be the first player in franchise history to wear No. 62.

-The Penguins are 19-9-6 when Letang is in the lineup this season and 1-7-1 without him.

-Defenseman Trevor Daley has played in 799 career games.

-Lack has played in 99 career games.

-Following the game, fans will be permitted to watch the remainder of the Steelers-Broncos AFC divisional playoff game on Consol Energy Center's video board.

-The referees are (No. 18) Greg Kimmerly and (No. 20) Tim Peel. The linesmen are (No. 50) Scott Cherey and (No. 93) Brian Murphy.

(Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

 

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Empty Netter Assists - Hagelin to debut - 01-17-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins 

-New left winger Carl Hagelin (above) is expected to make his Penguins debut today.

-"We've talked about him for a couple of months because we recognized early in the season that we wanted to improve our team speed." - General manager Jim Rutherford on trading for Hagelin.

-"He should be motivated. I think he definitely needed a change of scenery from Pittsburgh. I've seen him, we've all seen him get hot at times and we could use somebody to get really hot."- Ducks general manager Bob Murray on acquiring former Penguins left winger David Perron.

-Defenseman Kris Letang will be a game-time decision due to an undisclosed injury.

-How does head coach Mike Sullivan balance scheduling practice and recovery time for his players

-"He asked me, ‘Am I going to die?’ and I said, ‘No, you’re not going to die.’” - Team physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas on when he revealed to Letang that he had suffered a stroke in 2014. 

-Head coach Mike Sullivan speaks:

-Captain/center Sidney Crosby speaks:

-Goaltender Matt Murray made 18 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 4-2 loss to the Syracuse Crunch. The defeat snapped a seven-game winning streak.

-Highlights:

-Left winger Anton Zlobin had a goal and an assist for the Wheeling Nailers in a 4-3 loss to the Toledo Walleye.

-Happy 35th birthday to former Penguins center [the great] Mike Zigomanis. Acquired early in the 2008-09 season in a trade which sent future consideration to the Coyotes, Zigomanis' Penguins' career amounted to 22 games and six points that campaign. After getting his name on the Stanley Cup as part of the franchise's third championship, Zigomanis joined the AHL's Toronto Marlies early in the 2009-10 season.

-Happy 36th birthday to former Penguins center Milan Kraft. A first-round pick in 1998, Kraft spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 2000-01, Kraft appeared in 42 games and scored 14 points. He played in eight postseason games that spring and failed to record a point. He followed that up in 2001-02 by seeing action in 68 games and scoring 16 points. In 2002-03, Kraft played in 31 games and recorded 12 points. His final NHL season was 2003-04. He appeared in 66 games and scored 40 points. During the 2004-05 lockout, he joined HC Plzen of the Czech Extraliga in the Czech Republic. In 207 regular season games with the Penguins, Kraft scored 82 points.

-After the Jump: Anze Kopitar gets paid.

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Semi-rapid reaction: Duquesne 95, St. Bonaventure 88

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Duquesne won its second-consecutive game after a 0-3 start to Atlantic 10 play with a 95-88 victory against St. Bonaventure Saturday night at the Palumbo Center, the first-place Bonnies’ first loss in conference play this season.

Here’s what to take away from that showing.

Turning point: After an 11-2 St. Bonaventure run, Duquesne trailed, 61-57, with about 10 minutes remaining. Jim Ferry immediately called a timeout to get his team to regroup and they did just that – and more. The Dukes responded with a 20-5 run in which five different players scored to go up 77-66 with four minutes remaining. The Bonnies mounted a late and spirited effort, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Game ball: There are a ton of great and worthy candidates for this one. L.G. Gill had a career-high 12 rebounds to go along with 12 points and three assists. Eric James was his usual well-rounded self, getting 16 points and eight rebounds (I don’t think anyone racks up rebounds in such a quiet manner; I always look down at the box score and have to do a double take when I see some of James’ rebounding numbers). And Micah Mason was fantastic, playing through cramps in the second half to score a game-high 27 while looking like his fully normal self since spraining his ankle last month at Georgia Tech.

But I’m going with Derrick Colter. His 23 points are impressive, but he also matched a season-high with nine assists and pulled down seven rebounds, the latter of which is a pretty damn impressive feat for a 5-11 guard playing in a physical game. It’s rarely fair or accurate to say one player was the difference in a game, but he certainly played an integral role.

What it means: This game may be the most encouraging sign yet for people who (reasonably) wallowed in misery and concern during that brutal three-game stretch to open conference play in which the offense stagnated and downright disappointed. The Dukes pieced together one of their best offensive showings of the season against a solid defense in the win, averaging 1.2 points per possession and shooting 66.7 percent in the second half to get its highest point total in a non-OT A-10 game since 2010.

This is a group that looks much more comfortable playing together, a unit that’s come ridiculously far from that unsightly Dayton game. They connected on long passes in transition that moved through tight windows to hit players in stride for easy baskets. The ball moved much better, avoiding the kind of isolation sequences that can be hard to avoid when you have two reliable senior guards who can bail out an offense in tough spots. Based on what we’ve seen the past two games, it’s apparent those offensive struggles were due largely to a hobbled Mason and a team still reeling from Jeremiah Jones’ injury. It’s one thing to do it against Saint Louis, who is objectively bad, but it’s another to score at will against the Bonnies.

What’s next: A road date with VCU on Wednesday. KenPom gives Duquesne a 10 percent chance of winning, with a projected final score of 83-69.

Quotable: “It’s huge for us. We lost three in a row and played three of the toughest teams in our conference, but that didn’t define us. We came back and we got better. I think we proved that tonight.” – Micah Mason

“We’re working together as a team right now. We’re all communicating and I’m understanding my team a little better now.” – Derrick Colter

“It’s showing the growth and the character of the program. The experience of DC and Micah really stepped up. L.G. stepped up defensively. Like us, they’re a really difficult team to guard. They just spread you out. I thought we locked in and really focused and did a good job.” – Jim Ferry

“It’s another day of Micah being healthy, it’s another day of Eric in the starting role and it’s two more days of us having practice. That’s what we needed to happen. We needed that time to get back in sync and I think we’re starting to do that.” – Ferry

 

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

Duquesne won its second-consecutive game after a 0-3 start to Atlantic 10 play with a 95-88 victory against St. Bonaventure Saturday night at the Palumbo Center, the first-place Bonnies’ first loss in conference play this season.

Here’s what to take away from that showing.

Turning point: After an 11-2 St. Bonaventure run, Duquesne trailed, 61-57, with about 10 minutes remaining. Jim Ferry immediately called a timeout to get his team to regroup and they did just that – and more. The Dukes responded with a 20-5 run in which five different players scored to go up 77-66 with four minutes remaining. The Bonnies mounted a late and spirited effort, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Game ball: There are a ton of great and worthy candidates for this one. L.G. Gill had a career-high 12 rebounds to go along with 12 points and three assists. Eric James was his usual well-rounded self, getting 16 points and eight rebounds (I don’t think anyone racks up rebounds in such a quiet manner; I always look down at the box score and have to do a double take when I see some of James’ rebounding numbers). And Micah Mason was fantastic, playing through cramps in the second half to score a game-high 27 while looking like his fully normal self since spraining his ankle last month at Georgia Tech.

But I’m going with Derrick Colter. His 23 points are impressive, but he also matched a season-high with nine assists and pulled down seven rebounds, the latter of which is a pretty damn impressive feat for a 5-11 guard playing in a physical game. It’s rarely fair or accurate to say one player was the difference in a game, but he certainly played an integral role.

What it means: This game may be the most encouraging sign yet for people who (reasonably) wallowed in misery and concern during that brutal three-game stretch to open conference play in which the offense stagnated and downright disappointed. The Dukes pieced together one of their best offensive showings of the season against a solid defense in the win, averaging 1.2 points per possession and shooting 66.7 percent in the second half to get its highest point total in a non-OT A-10 game since 2010.

This is a group that looks much more comfortable playing together, a unit that’s come ridiculously far from that unsightly Dayton game. They connected on long passes in transition that moved through tight windows to hit players in stride for easy baskets. The ball moved much better, avoiding the kind of isolation sequences that can be hard to avoid when you have two reliable senior guards who can bail out an offense in tough spots. Based on what we’ve seen the past two games, it’s apparent those offensive struggles were due largely to a hobbled Mason and a team still reeling from Jeremiah Jones’ injury. It’s one thing to do it against Saint Louis, who is objectively bad, but it’s another to score at will against the Bonnies.

What’s next: A road date with VCU on Wednesday. KenPom gives Duquesne a 10 percent chance of winning, with a projected final score of 83-69.

Quotable: “It’s huge for us. We lost three in a row and played three of the toughest teams in our conference, but that didn’t define us. We came back and we got better. I think we proved that tonight.” – Micah Mason

“We’re working together as a team right now. We’re all communicating and I’m understanding my team a little better now.” – Derrick Colter

“It’s showing the growth and the character of the program. The experience of DC and Micah really stepped up. L.G. stepped up defensively. Like us, they’re a really difficult team to guard. They just spread you out. I thought we locked in and really focused and did a good job.” – Jim Ferry

“It’s another day of Micah being healthy, it’s another day of Eric in the starting role and it’s two more days of us having practice. That’s what we needed to happen. We needed that time to get back in sync and I think we’re starting to do that.” – Jim Ferry

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