A quick update, specifically on the Ryan Kesler watch, with about six hours remaining before the NHL trade deadline (3 p.m.):
>> The Penguins had not yet upped their latest offer to Vancouver – center Brandon Sutter, a choice between defensemen Simon Despres or Brian Dumoulin, and their 2014 first- and third-round picks.
>> The Penguins and Canucks touched based late Tuesday.
>> The Penguins are open to sweetening their offer, but if top prospect Derrick Pouliot were part of it the package would change in terms of draft picks. (Pouliot, whom the Penguins want to keep, was part of original talks between GM Ray Shero and his Vancouver counterpart, Mike Gillis, in mid-January.)
>> The Penguins would look at an expanded package that would include another roster player or prospect going to the Canucks, but they would seek another NHL player in return.
>> The Penguins are NOT convinced Kesler will be moved by the deadline. They sense he could be moved in the summer instead. The Penguins would chase him then, too.
>> There is a growing suspicion within the Penguins that Gillis may not be authorized by Vancouver ownership to move Kesler. That seems to be a new development on Wednesday.
>> The Penguins’ information is that Kesler would waive his no-trade clause only to play for an Eastern Conference contender with pedigree. They do believe his preference is to play for them.
>> The Penguins do not think for a minute that the Flyers, as had been reported by some national outlets, are out of the running for Kesler. They expect a strong push, perhaps in the final hours before the deadline.
Be EXCELLENT to each other,