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Pens Push: MSG renovations, strange going-ons w/Letang, and a headline Shanny might like.

Some quick, late-afternoon hits, prior to the Penguins playing the Rangers at what feels like brand new Madison Square Garden:

= Confession: MSG has always been my favorite US arena at which to cover a game. There is energy in this building that cannot be duplicated and the setup was unique. Used to be that the hallway outside the visitor’s dressing room had pictures of famous Garden performers ranging from Liberace to Triple H, and there was wicked cool photo of Mick Jagger from what this Stones fanatic presumes in the 1972 tour, which was reportedly their best. Anyway, the visiting room has moved, and though it’s nicer and bigger and more accessible, the hallway has lost some of its charm. That said, the inner bowl of the under-renovation arena looks spectacular, and the new media areas are dramatically improved. (Not that any reader cares about media areas.) My point is that the Garden appears to be getting the face lift a building with this much history deserves, and not a minute too soon.

= HC Dan Bylsma said G Marc-Andre Fleury would start tonight and that other lineup decisions would be “game-time decisions.” Seems he was being most coy about D Kris Letang, who was set to continue undergoing tests this afternoon. Unclear is whether Letang has passed a baseline concussion test since Saturday night or whether he even needs to, even though Letang has insinuated he needed to take the baseline test. (If this strikes you all as very confusion, well, welcome to my world.)

Here is what is known: Letang, whose nose is broken as a result of the headshot from Canadiens LW Max Pacioretty on Saturday night, practiced this morning at the Garden, but that doesn’t mean he will play tonight. Bylsma danced around what his options would be if Letang did not play, though the AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is close enough to Manhattan that a recall of another defenseman could be made in time for the game – except that Letang would have to be ruled out before pregame warm ups, unless the Penguins have one of those travel-by-map options used so effectively in the most recent Muppets movie.

= Bylsma said he wasn’t surprised that RW James Neal was fined $2,500 by the NHL for a not controlling his stick and clipping Canadiens D P.K. Subban on Saturday night – and, yes, most people with the Penguins organization have acknowledged that Subban slew-footed Neal before Neal’s stick flew up into Subban’s face. A player needs to control his stick, Bylsma suggested. Here is my suggestion: the NHL needs to control Subban, who is becoming a menace with these bush league antics.

= I have a lot of faith that the NHL will start clamping down on Subban based off the decision by head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan to suspend Pacioretty for three games because of the hit on Letang. Say what you want about the league’s previous discipline action, but Shanahan has proven firm and consistent, for the most part, since replacing Colin Campbell on this post. Was I to write a headline to summarize Shanahan’s reign so far: “Shanny scoring big with suspensions”

= C Jordan Staal seems quite relieved that his brother, Marc, a Rangers defenseman, has resumed skating. Marc Staal is dealing with a concussion that, though perhaps not Sidney Crosby-like, is serious nonetheless. Jordan has been hesitant to discuss details of his brother’s concussion dealings, but I sense the situation has been wearing on him, and there was a bit of a bounce about Jordan when it became known Monday that Marc had resumed skating. Great family, from my limited experience meeting Jordan’s parents and brothers, and so I suggest we keep Marc in our thoughts.

= Paid my first visit to the NHL’s NYC offices after the morning practice and it was eye-opening. Caught up with many NHL folk I’ve come to know well over my years on this beat, and seeing the setup of the offices provided me a good bit of insight into how things work. For example, there are enough big conference rooms that they could be considered luxury suites. Also, there are four floors filled with staffers and high-ranking officials, so there is always something going on within earshot. The studios where Shanahan films the discipline ruling videos is smaller than the videos make it out too look, and there is an entire wall of editing rooms where employees whom I can only presume never sleep were busily working to cut footage for NHL Network programming and NHL.com content. Speaking of the dot-com friends, well, they are positioned close to this way cool collection of cut off sticks that actually serves as a separation wall from another department. (I need to look into one of those for the Brookline pad back home.) Anyway, there was almost too much to take in for me to recall, but even the elevators were standout what with their images of current (Crosby) and former (Mark Messier) NHL greats. Plus, a walk down a stairwell takes one past wall images of legends such as Lester Patrick. My personal highlight was the Stanley Cup wall, with its accurate (flaws and all, see: “ILANDERS”) remakes of the Cup-ring engravings for past winners. Also, my mere presence may have caused a flower to wilt at the desk of NHL communications coordinator Nicole Buckley. Indeed, I’m that much of a negative presence.

Cheers until the puck drops,

Rossi

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

Comments

  1. Tammie says:

    Suban is a dangerous player who is very careless on the ice….. he is always shrugging his shoulders as if to say

  2. Jim Forney says:

    Do we really have to pay $5.5 mill for a goaltender who’s above average at best?

  3. Jay Walker says:

    You watch — Rossi is in New York, so he’ll turn it on for one night.

  4. Kelly says:

    Agree with Tammie. The guy is out of control. They need to watch him with using his skate as a weapon…..

  5. Gary says:

    Dale Hunter to sign Alexander Mogilny as assistant coach for Caps.

  6. Shawn says:

    I see the open mouthed Yinzer crowd saw more than 2 goals against on the board, and knowing absolutely nothing about hockey…have once again decided it’s Marc Andre’s fault.

    Hint- None of those goals last night were on Fleury. A tap in, a 3 wack rebound, a screened wrister and the one goal you would have liked to see him stop…was a laser perfect shot by Mitchell.

  7. Shawn says:

    Also, there are rumors of the Ducks shopping Bobby Ryan everywhere…

    I would at least offer Martin, Jeffrey and a pick.

  8. Dan says:

    Just curious: what exactly does keeping Marc in our “thoughts” accomplish?

  9. DaveIn84 says:

    We’re sure lucky to have Shawn around to school us on hockey’s nuances….

  10. jeffsbar says:

    Shawn-

    Martin has been terrible in his 1+ seasons as a Penguin and is owed $5 million a year for the next THREE seasons after this one.

    Jeffrey has decent potential but has been hurt for the better part of the past year.

    Why would any team be interested in aquiring either one of those players, let alone both of them?

  11. Dejan Shortpants says:

    Fleury and Staal to the Ducks for Hiller and Getzlaff. Salaries match. Show some testosterone, Shero! Just Do It!

  12. sabu says says:

    Can we trade for some real fans. not ones that all day long sit around figuring who to trade (thats not going to occur anyway).

  13. Dejan Shortpants says:

    Geez, so many fans act like sheep here, I feel like I’m in Paducah sometimes.

  14. Dejan Shortpants says:

    The media, too.

  15. Dejan Shortpants says:

    Rossi wrote more in one night than he did in the last month!

  16. Jay Walker says:

    Why was Letang allowed to return to the game? It’s an obvious question that needs to be asked of our medical staff.

  17. sjb says:

    “I have a lot of faith that the NHL will start clamping down on Subban based off the decision by head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan to suspend Pacioretty for three games because of the hit on Letang.”

    Don’t know what one has to do with the other but ok…

    I think the players will soon deal with Soupcan on their own and the NHL knows it. Would I like to see the little turd disciplined by the league? Sure, but this is one of those the gray areas that is best left to fix itself and it will be well worth seeing when it happens.

    The trade Fleury comments are retarded. Also, I’m one of the biggest Staal criticizers around and even I can see he’s finally been playing very well for the past few weeks so to not see that is equally dumb.

  18. Frank says:

    “Also, there are rumors of the Ducks shopping Bobby Ryan everywhere…

    I would at least offer Martin, Jeffrey and a pick.” – Shawn

    ——————————————————————————————————————-

    Yeah, that would definately be offering the “least” for a player like Ryan. I’m no NHL GM, but it would take a heck of a lot more than Martin, Jeffrey and a pick to bring him to Pittsburgh.

    For starters, I don’t know if there are many (if any) teams out there who are willing to take on Martin’s $5.0 million salary. I know I wouldn’t if I were a GM. If Shero could, I’m absolutely sure he would dump that salary off to the first taker. He’s solid defensively, but I would want more offensive production for my buck. Whether some fans want to admit it or not, he’s simply not worth that type of money.

    On Jeffrey, what exactly has he accomplished at the NHL level that makes him so special? He has played 6 games since February and has 8 goals in 40 NHL games. I’m not saying he’s a horrible player nor am I saying he can’t pan out to be a solid 3rd-4th line player, but I think some Penguins fans have a tendency to overrate our younger players/prospects. Especially when it comes to throwing around trade proposals for a player of Bobby Ryan’s caliber.

    We are talking about a former 2nd overall pick who is coming off a 70+ point season and has put up 30+ goals in each of his three total NHL seasons. Oh, and he’s only 24-years old (a year older than Jeffrey). Again, I don’t pretend to be an NHL GM, but in order to land a player like Ryan, we would have to throw in a Staal-like roster player, a high prospect and a pick.

    Finally, while I would absolutely love to see Ryan on Crosby’s wing, it’s not going to happen unless you are hooked up to an X-Box 360 and playing NHL 12.

  19. espo33 says:

    As much as I want to get rid of Martin, that trade for Ryan would be bad right now. We are already missing Letang and Michalek. Now you want to have a lineup of Orpik, Nik’s, Eng’s then 2 rookies and Pichard? That is not good. Maybe if Letang and Michalek were healthy. I think Nik’s has played much better then Martin this year and should be top 4 (he does have to hit the net with his shot though…).

  20. Jay Walker says:

    An time Shero wants to move Fleury, Martin, Michalek, Staal and Sullivan is fine with me.

  21. Bud Wiser says:

    Hey, at least we got to see one money goalie play in Pittsburgh this season — Timmy Thomas.

  22. KAYO says:

    Sullivan has been brutal. Reminds me of Staal. Unable to control the puck, can’t hit the net, can’t pass, etc. Whats up with Steigerwalds Man Crush on Staal?

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