NHL

Debriefed; Canada’s Boy King and His Return to Action… Leopold a Pen?

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Just got back from practice… tons of sound to transcribe from Talbot, Guerin, Sarge, Staal, Bylsma and Shero…

I will say that they think that they have solidified their defense moving forward. Bylsma went out of his to point out that Leopold has been used against opposing team’s number one lines. They mentioned a recent game in which he was matched up against Alex Ovechkin throughout…

Shero said he began kicking tires to determine the prices on available D-men last Saturday and decided on Leopold. Will be interesting to see what else he has up his sleeve…

He also said that there aren’t a ton of players being sold this year… Hm…

More soon…

Leopold officially a Pen… here is the release:

PENGUINS ACQUIRE DEFENSEMAN JORDAN LEOPOLD FROM THE FLORIDA PANTHERS IN EXCHANGE FOR 2010 SECOND-ROUND DRAFT PICK

The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired defenseman Jordan Leopold from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a 2010 second-round draft pick, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero.

Leopold, 29, has recorded seven goals and 18 points with Florida this season. He ranks second on the team in ice time, averaging 22:25 minutes per game, and has 22 penalty minutes.

The, 6-1, 200-pound defenseman has appeared in 416 career games over seven seasons in the NHL with Florida, Calgary and Colorado. Leopold has registered 36 goals and 91 assists for 127 career points, including a career-high 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) with the Calgary in 2003-04. He had 10 assists in Calgary’s run to the Stanley Cup Final that season.

Leopold was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round (44th overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. During a distinguished career at the University of Minnesota, he amassed 144 points (45 goals and 99 assists) in 164 contests with the Golden Gophers and captured the Hobey Baker Award as the top collegiate hockey player in 2002.

The Golden Valley, Minnesota native earned a spot on the U.S. National Team for the 2005 World Championships and the 2006 Olympics.

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Bob McKenzie is reporting that the Penguins have acquired defensemen Jordan Leopold… I will be heading down to Mellon Arena for this morning’s practice and will get the details…

@TSNBobMcKenzie Florida trades Jordan Leopold to Pittsburgh for a 2nd round pick in 2010, pending trade call with NHL.

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I have been debriefed by US Intelligence Officials and they have me feeling more like myself.

You see, I spent the last two weeks covering Team Finland and got so into it that I was actually rooting for them to knock off the United States last Friday.

Sure, some of that was selfish, as it would have been a bit more fun to cover the Gold Game, rather than the Bronze, but I actually felt some true affection for that team. There were plenty of great stories floating around them, such as Teemu’s fifth and final Olympics, and the Finnish three trying to tie an all-time record by picking up their fourth Olympic Hockey Medals. The funny thing is that I wasn’t thrilled to have drawn Finland when our assignments were being given out, but in the end it was a great experience. It seemed to work out just fine for them and myself, as I got to provide coverage for every day of the tournament except yesterday, as the Finns went on to secure the Bronze medal.

Now that the Olympic Tournament is behind us, it is time to get back to the day to day operation of the National Hockey League. It will be interesting to see how Sidney Crosby‘s International experience effects him the rest of the way this season. He might not have had the tournament that some thought he should have, but some how he managed to write another amazing chapter in the storybook that is “Being Sidney Crosby.”

I don’t know about you guys, but the moment Zach Parise tied the game for the United States I just knew that Sidney Crosby was going to win that game for his country. I thought it might have come in a shoot out just to add some drama, but I just felt it. It couldn’t have gone down any other way for Canada’s Boy King. Crosby just performs in those situations and he did it again…he even managed to make it seem bigger by going without a point in his previous two games.

Having Crosby score that goal was probably the only thing that could have made the Silver Medal for the USA a little easier to swallow…at least in Pittsburgh. It was tough seeing all of the sagging heads on the US side as they were getting their Silvers, but seeing the unadulterated jubilation from Sid after that goal was enough to console me. He is such a down to earth guy, gives you time of day and is very likable. It is tough not to be happy for him… The crazy thing is that the goal put him into another stratosphere, but he will be here in town giving his 10,000 interviews at his locker stall to the likes of Brian Metzer as soon as today. And he will do it in a way that will make it seem as if he accomplished nothing this weekend. We will have to specifically ask him about the goal that caused Steve Yzerman to say, “Like Wayne Gretzky, he’s got a little bit of destiny in him.”

And Destined it seemed for Canada’s Boy King as he dealt with the pressure of being the poster child for a Nation and its hockey team, though he didn’t even wear a letter on his jersey for many of the games in which he played.

So, as I said above, I am curious to see how 87 responds in his return to NHL action. Though the games will not yet have the same feel as those in which he has just finished playing, but there will be quite a bit on the line in the final 20 or so games. They will be jockeying for playoff position, division titles and home ice advantage, but will that all seem like a letdown from where he has just come from?

Actually, I have been opening wondering if it will be a let down to all of the players on the medal winning teams. They have just been playing at what can be considered a playoff level…are regular season NHL games going to be enough motivation? That will be determined over the next few weeks… somehow I think getting up for these games will not be a problem… at least as far as Pittsburgh’s Canadian royalty is concerned…

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According to reports this morning, the Penguins negotiations will Sergei Gonchar will be put on hold until after the season.

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PENGUINS, PIZZA HUT TEAM UP FOR UNIQUE PLAYER CUP PROMOTION

Pizza Hut restaurants will be selling commemorative Penguins player cups for the next six weeks – featuring a different player each week.

Starting today, Pizza Hut will be selling Sidney Crosby commemorative cups. The cups are available for $2.99, or as part of a Penguins Power Pak which includes 2 medium pizzas and four collector cups.

Also available will be cups featuring Max Talbot (March 7), Jordan Staal (March 14), Sergei Gonchar (March 21), Marc-Andre Fleury (March 28) and Evgeni Malkin (April 4).

“We are extremely excited to partner with the Penguins and offer this one-of-a-kind commemorative cup series exclusively at our Pittsburgh area restaurants,” said Mike Buss, COO of Aurora Huts, the franchise group for the Pittsburgh market. “We are thrilled to be associated with such a dynamic organization as the Penguins and look forward to continuing our relationship with the team and being the Official Pizza of the Pittsburgh Penguins.”

“We want to thank our friends at Pizza Hut for their support, and for making this unique cup promotion available to our fans,” said David Peart, vice president of business partnerships for the Penguins. “We know Penguins fans will enjoy collecting these commemorative cups as well as taking advantage of the Penguins Power Pak at local Pizza Hut restaurants.”

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About Brian Metzer

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Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live Weekly, a show that airs Saturday mornings on 105.9 the X and iHeart Radio. He serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, and is the NHL and Penguins correspondent for the Beaver County Times. Metzer is also a contributing writer for NHL.com and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.