Penguins News & Rumors: Burke Addresses Trades, Head Coach & More

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.

Burke Not Shy To Talk Trade Deadline

President of hockey operations Brian Burke is no stranger to making huge deals at the trade deadline, his recent comments grabbed the fans’ attention. He spoke with Dave McCarthy of and opened up about how he would like to stop the trend of shipping out all the Penguins’ assets at the deadline.

Brian Burke
Brian Burke (Canadian Press)

He toed the line pretty well and didn’t throw ex-general manager Jim Rutherford under the bus. However, Burke made it clear he will only make a move if it makes the team better in the short and long term:

What assets are we going to give up to add? The answer is not many. It’s time for this team to stop the steady, and this will come out as a negative, and I don’t want it to because I love Jim (Rutherford), but stop the trend where we are going to give away a lot for a 20% chance at winning. You get close, you add, and Jim did what he was supposed to do. But we have to stop that trend at some point. Do we believe we are a contender? Yes, we do, and we (GM Ron Hextall) have since we got here. Can we add with our cap situation if we decide to? We are pretty limited with the salary cap restrictions that we are under, so making a big deal probably would be difficult to do. But we would look, certainly.

– Brian Burke

The message is clear. The Penguins won’t be shipping out high draft picks and top prospects for a rental, regardless of how talented the player is. It seems we can expect a hockey deal, if anything, where the player be acquired by the Penguins has term left on their contract.

Malkin’s Return on the Horizon

Evgeni Malkin should return this week, as he’s practiced with the main group for a while now and has been traveling with the club. He could suit up as early as against the Ducks in Anaheim on Tuesday or Thursday in Los Angeles when the Penguins take on the Kings.

Related: Penguins’ Trade Targets on the Seattle Kraken

Malkin has yet to suit up in 2021-22 after undergoing offseason knee surgery. However, by all accounts, he’s stronger and more powerful than ever. That’s great news for the Penguins since it’s not often a team can add a superstar to their lineup a couple of months before the trade deadline. He looked great at a recent practice, showing off some solid edgework:

The focus will be on Malkin’s defensive game when he returns. The team has become a defensive juggernaut under head coach Mike Sullivan, and everyone needs to continue to buy into his system. We all know the Penguins’ superstar can put up points, but let’s hope he can help the team keep the puck out of the net as well.

Burke Gives Sullivan Vote of Confidence

Sullivan doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s accomplished with the Penguins this season. From a slew of major injuries to a healthy dose of COVID absences, there was also something to deal with, yet the coach still managed to properly prepare his team for games. Burke opened up about this recently and about the hard work he’s seen from his coaching staff:

Mike Sullivan has done a [heck] of a job, he’s a good coach. Our focus to maintain the level of play and level of Mike Sullivan has done a [heck] of a job. He’s a good coach. Our focus to maintain the level of play and level of intensity that we have maintained from day one with significant injuries and COVID outbreaks. Like we are not just missing Brian Burke-type players, we’re missing important players. We had three of our six defensemen out with COVID at the same time (Brian Dumoulin, Marcus Pettersson, Chad Ruhwedel), and these guys just keep showing up and putting up points.

Coaches usually fall under one of two categories: there’s real boss-type men who order people to do things, and then guys who convince people to do things. In order to be a truly great coach, you have to have a little of both of that. This is a guy, Sullivan, who is a thinking player, played over 700 games in the NHL, despite not being a great talent but made it work and figured it out. (He) figured out how to be smarter and better than other people, and then he brings that commanding sense to him as well. You have to be a general. There’s lots of colonels. You look at the hierarchy of the U.S. army; for every general, there’s 20 colonels, probably higher. This guy is a general.

– Brian Burke

Needless to say, Sullivan’s job seems secure, and he deserves the accolades. Expect him to be a heavy favorite to win the Jack Adams Award this season as the league’s best coach.

Get ready for an entertaining week ahead. Malkin seems set to return, the team is getting healthier, and management is going to be active in trade discussions leading up to the deadline. Despite the end of their winning streak over, it’s a great time to be a Penguins fan.

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