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FA09: Day 2: 5th update

FA Day 2: fifth update…

RAY SHERO RECAP: Let me do some tea-leaf reading into some points the Pens GM made during our around-8 p.m. chat Thursday:

• Shero: “We’d like to find a replacement for Rob (Scuderi)… maybe a trade at some point.”

Rossi: As I’ve pointed out all too often the Pens are quite short on cap room ($4.757 million, by my math), so it stands to reason that the only way they acquire a tested NHL defenseman – cost is going to be at least $1.5 million for one of those – is to move some players. RW Eric Godard is eating up $750,000 of cap room. I’m just saying …

*Shero: “We haven’t really engaged with Petr Sykora. We’re kind of letting is shake it out a little bit.”

Rossi: The Penguisn don’t think Sykora is done, but they also believe his value isn’t all that high on the market. The wait-and-see approach could work for both. If Sykora posts another 25-goal season on a one-year deal, he’ll be an attractive option for a veteran-deficient team next summer, when he could still hit the so-called “35 Rule,” because he’d be 34 and able to sign a long-term deal that, potentially, might not fully count against the cap if he retired after his 35th birthday.

Note: CBA is available at NHLPA web site. This “35 Rule” (not the official name) is detailed. For the truly interested: NHLPA/CBA

• Shero: “We have our list. We’ve made those calls.”

Rossi: He’s been saying (in some form) that the Penguins will be patient in this market, so I’m taking this particular quote to confirm that approach is playing out as planned. Shero is an honest guy. What the Penguins can’t afford right now is a mistake; not with precious little cap room. So, they’re being patient, knowing they still have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury, Brooks Orpik, Chris Kunitz, Bill Guerin, Max Talbot, Alex Goligoski, Kris Letang … really, do I need to continue? The guys they have coming back are championship-tested group. If they need an upgrade by the trade deadline, Shero has proven the last few years he can make that move. If not, it still comes down to somebody in the East stopping Nos. 87, 71, 11 and 29 in a seven-game series. With those four, Shero will take his chances – and he’ll be taking them the next four postseasons, as all are under contract.

FLEURY ON OLYMPIC CAMP: Exceprts from my Thursday afternoon chat with Fleury, who was invited to the Hockey Canada men’s ice hockey Olympic camp orientation …

• On hearing about the invite: “During the playoffs I got asked about it a couple of times. I was just like, ‘Whatever.’ I wanted to play and do my best to help us win the Cup. Now, it’s pretty cool to think about. Just to be invited is an honor and privilege.”

• On how Cup win has changed his chances to make the team: “There are some terrific goalies in Canada. Maybe people got to see me a little bit more because of the Cup runs by us. Until you do it people have doubt that you can. You can prove them wrong by doing it. Maybe I did that. If I play good in the first half, I have a shot, right?”

• On pressure facing Canada in international hockey competitions (especially at Olympics in Vancouver): “Everybody in Canada watches. I know a little about that. They all expect to win. I think that’s OK. It’s fine. It’s just pressure, you know? You can’t think about it. Hockey is pretty important in Canada, but if you play for Canada you just have to not think about that. It’s the same as the playoffs. You just play. Thinking is bad for you.”

• On his plans for his Cup day: “I may organize a meeting in my hometown so people can stop and take pictures with it by the water. I want to get some youth hockey kids a chance to see it. Mostly, I want to go to McDonald’s with it – the drive-thru, that’s my goal. I’ve always wanted to do that. It seems fun, like the thing to do. Also, I want to go on a double-deck bus around the city, then end with a party for my close family and friends.”

• On the three best saves from the Penguins’ playoff run: “Scuderi made the biggest, right? Game 6 of the Final. He saved my butt on that one. He did that a lot of times. We had that connection. The other two? The one on (Capitals LW Alex) Ovechkin in Game 7 of the second round was big, but we scored a lot of goals in that game – so maybe not as big now. We should have scored less goals, then it’s huge! The breakaway one in Game 6 of the Final was pretty good, but that one on (Red Wings D Nicklas) Lidstrom at the end of Game 7 was better, no? I don’t know, to be honest. I’m just happy to make enough save for us to win the Cup. I guess they were all big if I made them. What do you think?

I think Fleury is the Yogi Berra of this burgeoning Penguins dynasty. God bless him.

*OK, kiddies, I promise tomorrow to post a few of your comments. For now just please Do The Shero and be patient. As always, though, I’m interested to hear your thoughts regarding anything Pens-related: via e-mail.

Oh, yeah: A sincere thanks for reading …

TWEET SPOT

Chipped Ice is your spot for details, but for quick shots check me out at: Rossi_on_pens

Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi has covered the Penguins for parts of every season that Sidney Crosby has played in Pittsburgh. So, since 2005. He has led the Trib's NHL coverage since 2007, when he became the primary Penguins beat reporter. He joined the Tribune-Review in November 2002. Rossi, 35, is local chapter president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. He also dabbles in radio, as ClearChannel's "Penguins Insider," and TV, as "NHL Insider" for Root Sports Pittsburgh, and as a semi-regular contributor to The Final Word, a Sunday sports show that airs on WPXI. In 2012, Rossi was recognized nationally by Penn State's John Curley Center for Sports Journalism for his coverage of youth sports for a Trib series that investigated concussion protocol. In 2013, he teamed with Carl Prine for an investigative piece about athletes' charities what was honored regionally. A graduate of West Virginia University and Keystone Oaks High School, Rossi was raised in Crafton and Green Tree and currently resides in Brookline. He is currently working on the authorized biography of Evgeni Malkin. Follow him on Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib

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