Off-Day Hockey Talk

No Pirates news thanks to yesterday’s off-day, but there’s good news from the Penguins.

Matt Cooke has been re-signed to a three year, $5.4M deal prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent. Cooke is a great asset as a third liner and penalty killer – the classic (cliche alert) player you love to have on your team but hate to play against.

Yesterday the Pens signed defenseman Ben Lovejoy to a very cap friendly three year deal, giving them four D-men under contract for next season (Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski). Talks are ongoing with Sergei Gonchar. If they are unable to come to terms with Gonch then I expect Jordan Leopold to be the fallback option – they won’t sign both. The sixth defenseman with be a physical type acquired through either free agency or a trade.

Yesterday it was confirmed that Penguins will open the Consol Energy Center on Thursday October 7 vs the Flyers. The full NHL schedule come out later today.

NHL News and Weekend Wishes

I’ll admit that I haven’t watched any hockey since the Penguins were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs 16 days ago. After the strong finishes to each of the last two seasons it was just too painful to watch other teams continue to play for the Cup. After a bit of time off I was hoping that the Canadiens and Sharks would win the conference finals. No dice there either. Now I just hope that Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks can keep the Puppy Drowners Flyers Cupless since 1975 as I look on to next season.

The NHL made a lot of announcements today regarding next season’s schedule, the first being that the full schedule will be released on June 22. Highlights for this Penguins fan: The Winter Classic will be in Pittsburgh at Heinz field on New Year’s Day, and the hated Flyers will be in town to open up the new Consol Energy Center on October 7.

I hope everyone has a fun Memorial Day weekend. Please take a minute on Monday to think about the people who are currently putting themselves in harm’s way for our country.