Clarke, Malkin & More Blast Hextall

Welcome to Pittsburgh Penguins News & Rumors, where we cover all the hot topics about the club and dive into more than just box scores. Get ready for some rapid-fire headlines that will run us through all the noise surrounding Pittsburgh’s beloved Penguins.

Bobby Clarke Let Loose on Ron Hextall’s Draft History

An interesting story has taken off on Tuesday as long-time Philadelphia Flyers executive Bobby Clarke opened up about the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and confirmed that nobody in the organization wanted to draft Nolan Patrick second overall and that it was strictly Ron Hextall’s decision.

Related: Penguins trade targets on the Seattle Kraken

Clarke was a guest at the Cam and Strick Podcast and didn’t hold back, throwing Hextall under the bus for multiple things and even blaming him for their struggles this season. The Penguins general manger was an executive with Flyers from 2014-2018. However, he was fired after just one month of the 2018-19 season. After that, he worked for the Los Angeles Kings before making his way to Pittsburgh. Jim Rutherford resigned. Here’s what Clarke had to say about the Flyers missing out on Cale Makar because of someone’s bad decision making:

Needless to say this isn’t a feud that’s over and I would expect Hextall addresses it very briefly at some point this week. It’s not often you get thrown under the bus about draft selections three years after the fact and while you’re working for another team.

Penguins General Manager Opens Up About Rebuilding vs. Cup Runs

Hextall spoke recently with Pierre LeBrun [Update News]He spoke out about his first year working with the franchise. It’s almost been a full calendar year since his arrival, and considering everything that’s gone on in Pittsburgh, it’s been a rather successful tenure that looks to be only getting better.

Hextall was honest about his love of the team and their group. He made many references to the character and character of the roster and pointed out to LeBrun how no one should ever wager against Sidney Crosby. Penguins fans know when you have Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang on the roster, there’s a chance to win the Stanley Cup and that’s certainly the goal this season.

Kris Letang #58, Sidney Crosby #87 and Evgeni Malkin #71
You can expect to see Pittsburgh’s Penguins big-three for many years.
(Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

One of the things that caught me by surprise was Hextall commented on the future of Letang and Malkin and how the contract extensions wouldn’t be negotiated publicly but the kicker being they are extensions that could get finalized before the end of the season. It seemed like this was certainly going to be saved for the offseason but Hextall made mention he’s open to striking deals in-season.

Malkin to Return to Anaheim

After participating in line rushes and getting a rep on the first power play, the Penguins are expected to welcome back Malkin to their lineup against the Anaheim Ducks. It’s been a long journey since offseason knee surgery and he says he’s ready to go and his knee has never felt stronger.

There’s no doubt Malkin makes the team better when he’s in the lineup and any report you see about him disrupting the chemistry of the group should be thrown in the garbage. The Penguins are a better team with their long-time cornerstone center in the lineup and given the performance of Evan Rodrigues this season, it’s going to be fun to watch the second line go to work for Pittsburgh. The chemistry Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen had last season is another x-factor. Needless to say it’s going to be hard work for head coach Mike Sullivan to assemble the best possible lineup when everyone is healthy and back from COVID protocols. Ah, the joys of being a coach.

The Penguins start their west coast trip Tuesday night against Ducks. They then face-off against San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings This week, more. To help you stay awake during the action, you might consider adding a cup of coffee to your dinner. You can follow the instructions here if not. The Hockey Writers and we’ll certainly do our best to keep you as up to date as possible.


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