Gonchar talks put off until end of season
The Penguins and defenseman Sergei Gonchar aren't close on a contract extension, and talks between general manager Ray Shero and agent JP Barry won't resume until after the season.
Barry said Sunday he met with Shero in Vancouver, British Columbia, during the Olympics, and "offers that would be acceptable to us over two different terms" were provided to the Penguins.
"Ray explained ... they are not in a position to counter at this juncture," Barry said. "We both agreed that it is again time to focus on the performance of the team. Sergei does not want his contractual status to be any kind of distraction as the team tries to defend the Cup.
"Our negotiations will thus be put on hiatus until the end of the season."
Gonchar, 35, is in the final year of a deal that counts $5 million against the salary cap. He can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
The Penguins have only two NHL defensemen under contract for next season.
A manic Monday on the trade front in the NHL wouldn't surprise Shero, who said yesterday that he "certainly expects some deals to be made (today) and Tuesday" as the league runs up to its trade deadline at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Teams were permitted to resume player movement at midnight after not being afforded that opportunity dating to Feb. 12 -- basically, during the Olympic break -- because an agreement between the NHL and its Players Association.
Still, Shero was one of many general managers who took advantage of a two-week stretch to discuss possible trades.
"The last few days, I've been in touch with a lot of teams, just trying to keep in touch," he said, declining to divulge details. "From talking to teams, they seem to be telling me to do something (today). Whether that's the 'hurry up and make your best offer' thing, I don't know, but that's what you're hearing."
The Penguins, who are about $700,000 under the $56.8 million salary cap, may look to add a stay-at-home defenseman. But Shero, who has made deals at the deadline in his first three seasons, has said he is confident in his current squad.
Coach Dan Bylsma suggested he is most concerned about mental fatigue for returning Olympians, including center Evgeni Malkin an Gonchar -- even though they haven't played since Team Russia was eliminated last Wednesday.
"They've had a lot added to their workload already this year," Bylsma said.
Malkin and Gonchar, who returned to Pittsburgh on separate flights, are expected to practice today. The Penguins play Buffalo at home on Tuesday night.
Around the boards
Forwards Max Talbot (groin) and Ruslan Fedotenko (lower-body injury/undisclosed) will be possibilities to play Tuesday. Talbot practiced yesterday, and Bylsma said Fedotenko will take the ice today. ... Bylsma's expectation of the USA-Canada Olympic gold-medal game: On the dry-erase board upon which he displays the daily schedule, he wrote "cage match" next to the 3 p.m. time slot.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Penguins coach to meet with Malkin
- Hollidaysburg native Lafferty relishing his chance with Penguins
- Q&A: New coach Johnston feeling at home with Penguins
- Rossi: Johnston must reach Malkin in Moscow
- Penguins assistant Martin gets new job title
- Young Penguins defensemen hope to make impact at NHL level
- Despite management change, familiarity reigns for Penguins prospects
- Recchi rejoins Pens, this time as a coach