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Latest headlines from WN Network

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    PITTSBURGH — The door closed and Mike Sullivan started to talk. Over the course of the next 10 minutes, the Pittsburgh Penguins coach laid out for rookie goaltender Matt Murray why veteran Marc-Andre Fleury was starting Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals even though Murray's rapid maturation was one of the reasons Pittsburgh found itself two wins from a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. When Sullivan was finished, Murray stood up and left without so much as a word. Really, there was no need to talk. Sullivan had explained himself so thoroughly that Murray didn't see the point of dragging it out. The fact Sullivan bothered to explain it to him at all was enough. "With a...

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    As he peered down from his perch in the Amalie Arena press box at the most dominant line in the 2016 NHL playoffs, Jim Rutherford would not allow himself to smile. On game days, that’s just not his way. His nerves are just too frayed. But he certainly had good reason to grin Wednesday night. On the ice, the Phil Kessel-Nick Bonino-Carl Hagelin trio was spending yet another night toying with the opposition, producing a pair of goals in Pittsburgh’s 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lighting in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final. With Hagelin and Kessel both finding the back of the net, this impressive line has now combined for 14 goals and 38 points in Pittsburgh’s 14...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bryan Rust scored a pair of second-period goals and Matt Murray stopped 16 shots to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night to send the franchise to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2009. Pittsburgh will host Western Conference champion San Jose in Game 1 of the final Monday night. Playoff results, schedule Jonathan Drouin scored his fifth goal of the playoffs for the Lightning and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves, but it wasn't enough to send Tampa Bay back to the Cup Final for a second straight year. Captain Steven...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) — When Jim Rutherford arrived in Pittsburgh in the summer of 2014, he figured he'd be around two or three years tops. It's one promise the general manager is happy to break. The Penguins signed Rutherford to a new three-year contract Friday just two weeks removed from the franchise's fourth Stanley Cup, one that had Rutherford's fingerprints all over it. "Everything Jim said he was going to do from the first...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins hired Mike Johnston in the summer of 2014 and tasked him with guiding the star-laden roster back to the NHL's elite. The marriage lasted all of 18 months. The Penguins fired Johnston and assistant Gary Agnew on Saturday morning with the high-profile team languishing in the middle of the pack in the crowded Metropolitan Division. Johnston went 58-37-15 during his...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby danced through the neutral zone, slipped across the New York Rangers' blue line and waited for help. It arrived in the form of a blurring No. 43 black-and-gold jersey, the one worn by a player whose speed and relentlessness propelled him from prospect to unlikely catalyst for a Stanley Cup contender in all of five months. On the surface, it would seem impossible that Conor Sheary would call for a pass from one of the best players in the world and deliver a sizzling wrist shot that sailed over Henrik Lundqvist's glove and into the top corner of the net to help the Pittsburgh Penguins exorcise two years of postseason misery, which is just what the 23-year-old...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tasked two summers ago with rebooting a franchise whose window for success around stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin appeared to be closing, Jim Rutherford didn't tinker. He gutted. The man they call "Trader Jim" spent the better part of the next 18 months making over the Pittsburgh Penguins on the fly. It started almost immediately after he took over as general manager in June, 2014. The early returns were hardly promising. Marred by injuries and dispassionate play under then-head coach Mike Johnston, the Penguins fell to the New York Rangers in five listless games last spring, leading to concerns the man who built a Stanley Cup winner in NASCAR country in Carolina a...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) — There is no magic button, even if the correlation between Mike Sullivan's deft attempts to a get player's attention and that player almost immediately elevating his game is unmistakable. The Pittsburgh Penguins coach insists he's just doing his job, one that has brought the underachieving team to within three periods of a Stanley Cup that seems as inevitable now as it seemed unlikely when he took over in mid-December. Pittsburgh headed home Tuesday with a firm 3-1 lead over the San Jose Sharks in the tightly contested but ultimately one-sided best-of-seven after Evgeni Malkin picked up a goal and an assist in a 3-1 victory on Monday night. Read more on Colorado Springs...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins hired Mike Johnston in the summer of 2014 and tasked him with guiding the star-laden roster back to the NHL's elite. The marriage lasted all of 18 months. The Penguins fired Johnston and assistant Gary Agnew on Saturday morning with the high-profile team languishing in the middle of the pack in the crowded Metropolitan Division. Johnston went 58-37-15 during...

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    Mike Sullivan was right. The past is the past for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh ended its postseason hex against the New York Rangers emphatically Saturday, lighting up Henrik Lundqvist in a remarkably easy 6-3 rout in Game 5 to win the series 4-1 and advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Rookie Bryan Rust scored twice during a four-goal burst in the second period and Matt Murray made 38 saves for the Penguins. Pittsburgh which outscored the Rangers 14-4 over the final three games to gain a measure of revenge after New York ended the Penguins' seasons each of the last two years. Not this time. Matt Cullen, Carl Hagelin, Conor Sheary and Phil...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) — The door closed and Mike Sullivan started to talk. Over the course of the next 10 minutes, the Pittsburgh Penguins coach laid out for rookie goaltender Matt Murray why veteran Marc-Andre Fleury was starting Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals even though Murray's rapid maturation was one of the reasons Pittsburgh found itself two wins from a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. When Sullivan was finished, Murray stood up and left without so much as a word. Really, there was no need to talk. Sullivan had explained himself so thoroughly that Murray didn't see the point of dragging it out. The fact Sullivan bothered to explain it to him at all was enough. "With a lot of coaches,...

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    When it comes to handing out blame for the Pittsburgh Penguins' poor start there is plenty of it to go around. Mike Johnston, fired on Saturday after less than a year-and-a-half as the team's head coach, certainly deserves his share. His player usage and roster decisions were at times bizarre and without reason, and his ultra-conservative attack that stressed defense and a 200-foot game from game-breaking offensive players like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin didn't seem to play to their strengths. And that's to say nothing of the power play that is often times a bigger advantage for their shorthanded opponent. Given the offensive struggles of the team -- Crosby in particular -- there has...

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    It wasn't supposed to take the San Jose Sharks this long to reach their first Stanley Cup Final. It wasn't supposed to take this long for Sidney Crosby to guide the Pittsburgh Penguins back to a destination many figured they'd become a fixture at after winning it all in 2009. Not that either side is complaining. Certainly not the Sharks, whose nearly quarter-century wait to play on the NHL's biggest stage will finally end Monday night when the puck drops for Game 1. Certainly not Crosby, who raised the Cup after beating Detroit seven years ago but has spent a significant portion of the interim dealing with concussions that threatened to derail his career and fending off criticism as the...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby danced through the neutral zone, slipped across the New York Rangers' blue line and waited for help. It arrived in the form of a blurring No. 43 black-and-gold jersey, the one worn by a player whose speed and relentlessness propelled him from prospect to unlikely catalyst for a Stanley Cup contender in all of five months. On the surface, it would seem impossible that Conor Sheary would call for a pass from one of the best players in the world and deliver a sizzling wrist shot that sailed over Henrik Lundqvist's glove and into the top corner of the net to help the Pittsburgh Penguins exorcise two years of postseason misery, which is just what the 23-year-old...

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    Penguins GM Jim Rutherford lacks the assets to make major upgrades via trade. (Gene J. Puskar/AP) PITTSBURGH — When Jim Rutherford took over as Pittsburgh Penguins general manager last summer, he stressed ownership wanted a “complete change in direction,” one that would return a talented if aging roster into one capable of once again lifting the Stanley Cup. Less than 11 months later the Penguins are older, thinner and coming off their earliest playoff exit in nearly a decade. While Rutherford felt enough at ease on Tuesday to joke about his job status — the 66-year-old deadpanned that he planned to be around another dozen seasons — he knows a post-season run that barely lasted a week isn’t...

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    PITTSBURGH — A three-goal lead gone — and his team’s momentum right along with it — Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan provided a reminder heading to overtime of Game 6 of a relentlessly entertaining playoff series against the Washington Capitals. Keep skating. Play fast. Be confident. In the span of a dozen frantic seconds early in the extra period on Tuesday night, Carl Hagelin, Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino did all three, sending their resilient club to the Eastern Conference final in the process. Bonino tapped a rebound of Hagelin’s shot past Braden Holtby 6:32 into overtime to give the Penguins a 4-3 win to wrap up the series in six games and set up a showdown with Tampa Bay for the...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mike Sullivan's voice is unmistakable. Loud. Authoritative. Animated. And, the Pittsburgh Penguins hope, an alarm clock. One of the NHL's marquee draws is in the midst of an identity crisis more than a third of the way into a season that began with typically high expectations, goals that at the moment appear impossibly out of reach. The Penguins aren't scoring. They occasionally aren't defending and — perhaps most troubling — the magic they once summoned so easily seems to have disappeared. "I think we're bottom of the league in goals scored this year and I'm pretty sure we shouldn't be, right?" forward Phil Kessel asked, only somewhat rhetorically. Pittsburgh's 4-1 loss to...

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    PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins hired Mike Johnston in the summer of 2014 and tasked him with guiding the star-laden roster back to the NHL’s elite. The marriage lasted all of 18 months. The Penguins fired Johnston and assistant Gary Agnew on Saturday morning with the high-profile team languishing in the middle of the pack in the crowded Metropolitan Division. Johnston went 58-37-15 during his brief stint with Pittsburgh. Mike Sullivan, who was head coach of the Boston Bruins from 2003-06 and was serving as the coach of the Penguins’ affiliate in the American Hockey League, replaces Johnston. Sullivan will run his first practice with the Penguins on Sunday. Pittsburgh...

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    TORONTO — Without Jim Rutherford’s quick trigger finger, there would have been no gooey HBK sandwiches from the Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh last spring. Because there would have been no HBK Line to name them after. For that matter, without some of the other moves Rutherford orchestrated during the 2015-16 season, there would have been no Stanley Cup title for the Penguins, either. This was much more than an example of an NHL general manager tweaking his team at the trade deadline. Indeed, Rutherford’s acquisition of defenceman Justin Schultz from the Edmonton Oilers 12 months ago was merely the exclamation mark on a complete overhaul of the roster surrounding stars Sidney...

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    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Tasked two summers ago with rebooting a franchise whose window for success around stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin appeared to be closing, Jim Rutherford didn't tinker. He gutted. The man they call "Trader Jim" spent the better part of the next 18 months making over the Pittsburgh Penguins on the fly. It started almost immediately after he took over as general manager in June, 2014. The early returns were hardly promising. Marred by injuries and dispassionate play under then-head coach Mike Johnston, the Penguins fell to the New York Rangers in five listless games last spring, leading to concerns the man who built a Stanley Cup winner in NASCAR country...

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