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The Deal on Letang, and what is next for Dupuis, Adams and Cooke.

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Well, dear readers, there big news is a new contract for D Kris Letang.

Our story: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/4298534-74/million-letang-cap#axzz2XwRM0ksI

And, if you were paying attention Sunday, you could see this one coming: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/4279936-74/letang-penguins-million#axzz2XwRM0ksI

A lot of people on the Twitter and Facebook have brutalized Letang in recent weeks, as if they would not choose millions more to go work somewhere else.

Hey, it’s a free North America.

Still, Letang DID choose against making millions more as a free agent next summer, when the salary cap was likely to increase, so that he could stay with the Penguins. So, maybe, just maybe, people could give him some credit.

Yes, he is wildly rich; but he also did what many of you wanted him to do – take a hometown discount.

(By the way, the guess here is that becomes a fine contract for the Penguins. Letang will win at least one Norris Trophy, health permitting, and he remains the rare true offensive force from the backend. His defense is not nearly as bad as many have made out.)

OK, now with that done, some other matters:

 

  • RW Pascal Dupuis’s agent, Allan Walsh, remains in constant communication with GM Ray Shero, with the sides trying to get a deal done before Friday. Online at midnight will be a #TribHKY Insider on this situation. An excerpt:

“He’s an important piece to our team that I’d like to have back,” Shero said of Dupuis. “But the money and term have to fit both parties.”

As of Tuesday, the money and term have not fit for either party.

Dupuis, 34, is the rare NHL player whose offensive production has improved after his 30th birthday. He has scored 46.3 percent of his career goals (81 of 175) since turning 30 on April 7, 2009.

C Sidney Crosby, arguably the sport’s finest player, has not carried him to elevated production, either. Dupuis has scored 30. 2 percent of those goals (25 of 81) in games Crosby has missed because of injury since those two teamed with left winger Chris Kunitz to form the Penguins’ top line three years ago.

 

  • LW/C Craig Adams is still likely to sign a new deal before Friday, at least according to people close with his negotiations. He is seeking a raise on his previous $675,000 annual salary, though – so there’s that.
  • A lot of Radio Silence on the LW Matt Cooke front, which could be a good thing for fans of his. One thing that has become obvious over the years – the more things go silent, the more often they are going well when it comes to negotiations between Shero and players’ agents. Cooke is seeking a three-year deal, and to get that extra year he may accept a slight salary reduction. Cooke wants to continue living in the Pittsburgh area, partly because of baseball training opportunities available to his son.
  • At 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, the NHL free-agent interview window opens; but Shero said his focus will be on negotiations with Dupuis, Adams and Cooke. However, Shero noted one phone call to break off those negotiations could change all of his plans. Same goes for a phone call that would settle talks with a deal.
  • Finally, a shout out to assistant GM Jason Botterill, who is the mathematical mind behind these mega-deals the Penguins have agreed to with players since February 2012. We kid here about all the #…Watches that have become social-media happenings since the #JagrWatch in June 2011; but there will be one the Penguins cannot win – when Botterill gets his crack at running his own team. That will be a big loss for the Penguins. Worry not, perhaps. Shero waited 14 years to get his break. Greatness grows over time in some cases, and Botterill, like his mentor, may wait for the right job. #BotterillWatch

 

Cheers,

Rossi

 

 

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

 
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