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Puck Huffers

A blog about the Pittsburgh Penguins, est. 2008. Now on Tumblr for your convenience. PH 2.0, PH 1.0.
Jul 2 '14
Hey, want to be a member of the Penguins ice crew?  If you are a female, please show up in a bra top, because the number one point of evaluation is the flatness of your stomach.  No fatties thanks for playing

Hey, want to be a member of the Penguins ice crew?  If you are a female, please show up in a bra top, because the number one point of evaluation is the flatness of your stomach.  No fatties thanks for playing

13 notes View comments Tags: misogyny pittsburgh penguins nhl nhl ice crews ice crew body shaming hockey

Jul 2 '14

say goodnight, goodbye: free agency 2014

Them’s the breaks: FA We lost a lot of good soldiers yesterday, who went on to bigger paydays. The Engelland contract is the new “Jeff Finger money.” Deryk Engelland money is sweet, sweet millions. Joe Vitale is also being overpaid, but by a slightly underachieving western conference team, so it makes sense. Tanner Glass’s contract is also a bit above reasonable. Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen are both (hopefully) saving up for when they’re old and gray by getting vastly overpaid by the Washington Capitals. Actually, the Niskanen price tag is fairly reasonable, when you consider Engelland’s contract side-by-side. ADDITIONS

  • Thomas Greiss - German backup goalie, an upgrade over Zatkoff without sacrificing much by way of the cap
  • Christian Ehrhoff - hell yeah, and the price is right
  • Blake Comeau - pain in the ass to play against. Love this signing.
  • Marcel Goc - not an addition, but we get to keep him. Slowly building a German army. Right price, too.

No idea what to do with everyone else on this list. Just enjoy it. “Addition by subtraction” was the catchphrase of the day. The sun setting on Brooks Orpik is probably the saddest thing about all of this, since his reliability/toughness on the ice and candor with the press always brought a manly single tear to our eyes. But he ain’t so reliable anymore. Still, if you want to talk about the end of an era, Brooks Orpik was the last person around the Pens organization who could discuss the pre-Expectations era reliably as a player. In short: Brooks Orpik knows things. And they are things that will heretofore never be known in the Penguins locker room again. whatever, though. There’s no time for nostalgia while we are burning shit to the ground. Go Pens.

1 note View comments Tags: pittsburgh penguins nhl nhl free agency brooks orpik sadness but not too much sadness puck huffers

Jul 1 '14
twitter reaction to Brooks signing in Washington

twitter reaction to Brooks signing in Washington

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Jul 1 '14

And so Joey went to a safe place for the rest of his days, amen


Joe Vitale signs three year deal

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Jun 28 '14

postmortem draft day 2014

The Pens traded James Neal to Nashville for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling.

We’re not going to deny ever loving James Neal, because we did: the Goligoski-for-Niskanen-and-Neal trade instantly improved the Penguins, and not just because Matt Niskanen became a stud.  But I think we all knew that once James Neal signed that contract that he was probably trade bait soon.

While Neal’s chemistry with Malkin was undeniable, he became expendable in Pittsburgh, especially considering his $5M cap hit.  It wasn’t worth spending that much money on a player who disappeared in the playoffs and was just as likely to get suspended as he was to have a multi-point game at times.  So y’know.  Bye James Neal.  Bye James Neal’s hair.

Patric Hornqvist has been on our radar for awhile.  The guy is an incredibly tough forward who would be at home in the Pens’ top six.  He doesn’t take shit and can park his ass in front of the net.

via our friend MouthGuard, this is also a real thing:

Spaling is a depth addition, but he produces slightly more in terms of goals than most guys in the Pens’ bottom six have been managing lately.

Pens draft a Finnish right winger, oh my god

Kasperi Kapanen has been playing in SM-liiga for the last two years.  He’s a pretty small player at the moment and isn’t considered to have a game with a lot of power or physicality, but the scouting reports seem to indicate that he’s a sniper with excellent hockey sense who can create scoring chances from all areas of the ice.

He was the top ranked Euro skater in this draft and he fell to #22.  The Oilers selected center Leon Draisaitl of Germany.  When was the last time the top European pick in the draft was German…?

Oh and?  Remember Joshua Ho-Sang, the kid with the delicious attitude who is combating the subtle racism and keep-your-head-down-and-be-boring culture of the NHL?  Went to the Islanders.  That’s going to be intense.

anyway we like everything that happened, THE PENS ACTUALLY DRAFTED A FUCKING FORWARD


6 notes View comments Tags: pittsburgh penguins puck huffers 2014 nhl entry draft nhl hockey patric hornqvist james neal nick spaling kasperi kapanen

Jun 25 '14

there will be no awards this year in protest, also the Penguins hire a coach

What the hell is going on.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 7.03.37 PM

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  • the NHLPA picked Sid first as the best person, Sid called out Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux to thank but NOT David Morehouse. He brought his sister as his date. Sounded strangely restrained. Sid and PK were then forced to be near preening showgirls for some reason.
  • then there was some music and the guy who is running the show (whose name we don’t know) tried to joke with Ovechkin
  • SUSAN SARANDON IS PRESENTING THE SELKE TROPHY VIA A PRE-RECORDED TAPE. This will become a theme. Celebs who couldn’t show up in person because the actually attending that gig in person could sink their careers permanently.
  • Patrice got manhandled to take a selfie with the Selke
  • stopped paying attention for awhile
  • Matisyahu was awkward as hell
  • Tuukka with the Vezina was great
  • still not really paying attention


The fact that Sidney Crosby sounded Done As Hell with winning the Hart Trophy. Could anyone have sounded more disinterested, more boilerplate, more bored? We fully realize that this awards show was total dogshit and that no living creature with dignity wanted to be in that room tonight (you know, deep down inside). But Sidney Crosby is bored with your individual awards.

The conspiracy theorist in me wants to read this as some kind of emotional indicator of the great Pittsburgh Penguins power struggle of 2014. But I mean. We’ve been saying it for years. Win all the Hart Trophies you want. Nothing is the Stanley Cup. And I think Sid knows that his career and his legacy is directly tied to his Stanley Cup wins. And no one feels that as intensely as Sid. Just. Never seen a human being so disillusioned with the most prestigious individual award in his industry. (Never mind that the Lindsay award is the bigger honor, and the Conn Smythe, when applied appropriately, basically indicates who the Biggest Badass is.)

The Penguins, however, have finally hired a coaching staff of sorts.

Mike Johnston, head coach and general manager of the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, has been named the coach of the Penguins. We at the very least figure that this is the kind of guy who might speak in complete coherent sentences without using platitudes, so we’re intrigued. Rick Tocchet will reportedly be his assistant.

Based on the information provided to us, this is a recipe for a faster and more aggressive Penguins team. Just imagining everyone on the bench and behind it with a Robert Bortuzzo troll face. It’s the only way we’ll sleep at night.

Dave Molinari’s write-up on Johnston’s coaching style is the most words about a coaching style that you’ve read in your entire life.

God, we were about done with the Penguins a few weeks ago, but sports fandom is a disease. We keep coming back for more.

go Pens

the king is dead, long live the king

Mike Johnston, first of his name???

4 notes View comments Tags: pittsburgh penguins nhl hockey mike johnston portland winterhawks nhl awards puck huffers

Jun 21 '14

blah blah blah

hey so in case you haven’t heard no one wants to coach the Penguins that is your monthly status update

we didn’t report on the Kings winning the Cup because I mean everyone knew that was happening right, you didn’t need us to report on it?

watch USA/Portugal at the World Cup tomorrow and pretend that human rights violations aren’t the foundation upon which international sporting events are built.  Have a beer and don’t think about death, neither your own nor those deaths of foreign children you will never meet!

We could have had Willie Desjardins’ mustache and instead we’re just staring into the abyss and oddly WE DON’T CARE

The Penguins’ home opener will be October 9 versus Anaheim.

The full schedule comes out tomorrow at 4pm.  We could all discuss how much we care.  Or not.  Go Pens, burn the motherfucker down.

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Jun 7 '14

finally someone puts the hammer down

It goes to show how much faith we have in our hockey media, or really just the media in general, that when the tweets start happening our first instinct is to assume that within a few hours, it’ll be redacted, or turn out to mean something else entirely.  But Bob McKenzie, who is essentially the Frank Worsley of NHL coverage, did not lead us astray. Read those tweets though, some seriously asinine and insane stuff being said by The Internet.  Let’s get the record straight.


complaints about this you will hear from people whose biggest achievement this month is filling the garage fridge with IC Light:

  • Rutherford is hella old.  He is, as we say, An Old.  To which we say: whatever
  • His track record is “worse”—even though he’s had a 20-year career with the Hurricanes and a small sample size of that has been in the salary cap era.  The Hurricanes have not been doing well the last several years and have failed to qualify for the playoffs since the Penguins swept them in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009.
  • David Morehouse has hired someone for his puppet regime.  Yawn.  Jim Rutherford is a grown man, get your head in the game wildcats.

anyway here is a sample, via Wikipedia, of Rutherford draft picks with the Hurricanes sorted by games played:

Screen Shot 2014-06-07 at 11.25.27 AM   it’s not exactly overwhelming us with awesome, but we’ll take it.  Some key draft years to look at with Rutherford are 2007 and 2010.  His 2010 draft in particular saw him take Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk, and Danish goalie Frederik Andersen, who did not reach terms with the Canes and was re-drafted by the Ducks 2 years later.  In 2008 he took Zach Boychuk 14th overall, though, so we don’t know.  Boychuk is a Shero-style first round forward draft pick if we ever saw one.  Boychuk has spent most of his life in the AHL and on waivers.  As you recall, the Pens tried to play with Zach Boychuk in 2013.

Secret Shero draft pick we never knew was a Shero draft pick: Jake Muzzin

VERSUS Secret Rutherford draft pick we never knew was a Rutherford draft pick: Jack Johnson

Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters called the Pens hiring Rutherford a “lateral move” and Rutherford said in his press conference that he only expects to have this job for three years at most anyway.  And then, possibly, begins the Jason Botterill era, if he isn’t poached from the Pens by another organization in the coming years or months.  Since we’re not sure—but it’s possible that not promoting Botterill and having some Old Asshole take the big office was kind of a dick move on the Penguins’ (Morehouse’s) part.


Rutherford was very candid in his presser about how he didn’t think Bylsma was good at making in-game adjustments, or even systemic tweaks really, in order to beat other teams. It seems that Bylsma didn’t even have a chance at keeping his job after listening to Morehouse and Rutherford at the press conference, so again, that was a pretty dick move for Dan.  Even though he’s still getting paid plenty of money.  It would have been perceived as rude.  If anyone is going to get eaten by Hannibal Lecter this season, it’s going to be David Morehouse.

Botterill is now “associate general manager” by the way.  The new assistant GMs are Tom Fitzgerald and Bill Guerin.

No idea who the new coach is going to be.  Hopefully someone who doesn’t believe in crying, “getting to our game”, or speaking in platitudes during house fires (see: the Rangers series).

anyway the real tragedy in all of this is that it didn’t somehow happen before a game in April because we would have loved to listen to Paul Steigerwald lose his mind about it during an odd-man rush.

go Pens, kill your masters

2 notes View comments Tags: pittsburgh penguins puck huffers nhl hockey wow tumblr can use header tags

Jun 2 '14

disillusionment is real: the 2014 Stanley Cup Final

really, if you want to think about it, this is the year that all possible dreams died.  The Kings/Blackhawks series was one for the ages, don’t get us wrong.  And much astute observation has been made about the Kings and their success.  The “West is Best” adage has proven true—unless you count goaltending as important somehow.  Quick has been dogshit.  Coming up against the Rangers, who still maintain their shot-blocking and wear-you-down identity even under Alain Vigneault’s new coaching style, is going to be a new challenge for LA.  They are also hitting Lundqvist at his absolute best as he enters his first Stanley Cup Final ever.  This might be one of the greatest series ever played, and all the “narrative” bullshit you have been snorting til 2005 couldn’t be more of a distant memory.

Most years, we’d be grumpy.  But there’s nothing to hate about what we are about to see.  Honestly either team that wins will earn it honestly.  These are two formidable teams, and also neither of them is the Chicago Blackhawks.  Also the overnight lows in northeastern America really aren’t dipping below 50, so we’re fine.

Just…just let it happen.

Meanwhile, the Penguins still haven’t named a GM and god is dead.

whatever, pass the gasoline.

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May 19 '14

David Morehouse is the creepy Harry Harlow of the NHL, the Pensblog explains why

If you’ve felt that the Penguins organization has been an unfeeling wire mesh monkey mother since about 2010 (new arena, new branding strategy, all that cuntitude), the Pensblog has accurately explained why in their profile of Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse.

While we may not necessarily agree that there is any necessarily sinister intent with Dan Bylsma not being kicked to the curb, it’s troubling that Morehouse has taken such an active role in so many aspects of the Penguins as a brand.  The fact that Morehouse is a communications guy is particularly troubling, because he definitely comes from a more out-of-touch and, worse, conservative branch of the comm/marketing community.  As someone who was educated in a communications and publishing field and who Speaks The Language Of The Internet, I can safely say that the Penguins branding strategy is dogshit and designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and that taking that approach with the on-ice product could likely be Morehouse’s next step.  If you want a good example of how something like this plays out in a dystopian future, pick up jPod by Douglas Coupland.

There are a lot of teams with innovative social media strategies, and the most forward-thinking have, among other things:

  • recognized the importance of actually engaging their fans on social media and having a god damn sense of humor.  It’s a well-known fact that the Penguins’ Twitter, Facebook, and especially their Instagram are horribly embarrassing and pandering.  Perhaps a good offseason project would be to feature posts on this salient data.
  • engaged fan blogs, recognizing the blogging community as allies.  The Penguins’ relationship with bloggers has always been a little cagey.  Now, Morehouse seems to be doing a great job of alienating the professional sportswriters in the community, too, which hardly seems the job of the President and CEO of the club.  Leave that to the coach and players—think of every time John Tortorella tore Larry Brooks a new asshole.  Because that’s aboveboard—it’s onstage drama.  Doing devious shit backstage is not the way to keep the media, professional or amateur, in your wheelhouse.  You will get burned eventually.
  • engaged with fans in meaningful and sincere ways in all aspects of PR.  The Penguins do a lot of things that other teams do.  They’ve had a kind of “Insider” pseudo docu-drama and interview show going on for years, which other teams have gradually started to do.  However, the Penguins always put it up as a puppet regime—they have a guy like Paul Steigerwald front and center talking about how Amazing the Penguins Are, as opposed to just saying “here, here is a nice thing for you guys! thank you!”  The Penguins organization always frames these great things (the pizza deliveries, the season ticket deliveries, the “Insider” information from social media and their web channel) as an elbow to the ribs like LOOK WHAT THE FUCK WE DID AREN’T WE THE BEST????? by plastering it all over social media in self-congratulatory fashion.  And you can get a bunch of assholes from the suburbs to say “omg yes” and share that Facebook status, but people who actually watch and analyze hockey are going to be continually unimpressed.  Basically, you’re alienating the people who most often actually go and spend money at you arena in favor of the people who want you to fucking retweet them.

The Penguins do this because in the last six years they have become an increasingly insular organization hellbent on its bottom line—not just its profits but the delicious intangibility of its own image.  In a way that is so awkward.  In a way that shows a lack of self-awareness that wouldn’t be out of place in a middle school cafeteria.  It’s a big game of, “your dad does what? well, my dad does this…”

As we said in our last PH Rant, the Penguins do not know what they want, because years ago, there was a promise drilled into our heads that we were going to be the best because we have the two best forwards in the world.  Not only that, but you love this team because those two best forwards in the world are insanely talented and, by all accounts, kind people who want to do good work in the community and don’t let their own egos get in the way.  It was built up as a dynasty because it was a heady, sweet dessert to take in with the 2005 lockout comfortably in the rearview mirror.  Well, we all realize now that dreams don’t always come true and sometimes you just have to go to work and cut the fat.

We always knew the Penguins’ new corporate strategy had sucked a lot of life out of the organization, and we’d like to thank the Pensblog for doing the research that seems to show why.

We were looking forward to a regime change, but let’s hope that “burn it the fuck down” goes much, much, much deeper than a new GM.  Let’s watch this ark burn for awhile and see how long Morehouse sticks around when the people of the Pittsburgh metro area (word on the street is that 40 miles outside of Pittsburgh it’s still 1989) catch on to the fact that pics of Kris Letang on Instagram don’t win championships.  Maybe Mario has a nephew or something who knows about Tumblr and has taken a few classes on critical theory.

basically, someone help us.

Totally serious about just making fun of the Penguins’ social media team all summer.  We taste charred flesh.

go pens

18 notes View comments Tags: pittsburgh penguins david morehouse nhl hockey puck huffers eating your enemies watching shit burn