hope that he'll soon reach a contract agreement with the Pens. He is
seeking a multi-year contract worth $900,000. The Pens are believed to
be offering $800,000 a year.
While some of Francis' teammates believed as of yesterday that an agreement
was emminent, Francis called such specutation "premature." Francis said
that he and his agent sent Patrick their proposal last week, and have heard
With Francis out of camp, the Pens lack depth at the center position.
Lemiuex, while the top center, is susceptible to back problems. Bryan
Trottier and Jiri Hrdina, although experienced veterans, cannot be expected
to play all 80 games. Trottier is 35, Hrdina is 33. The 4th center is
the inexperienced Ken Priestly, whose playing time is mostly with the
penalty killing unit.
Continuing a previously stated policy, the Penguins stated that the
championship banners will not be raised until coach Bob Johnson is
well enough to attend.
The banner raising had been tenatively scheduled for the Sat., Oct. 19th
game against the NY Rangers, but that now looks to be in doubt. Craig
Patrick reports that while Johnson is regaining strength after his 14 days
of radiation treatment, he was (as of yesterday) still not well enough to
travel. He is also (at this time) unable to speak.
Due to his condition, he was unable to attend ceremonies Saturday when he
was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame.
"The raditation took a lot out of him...he was prety weak" said Patrick. "But
the last days he's been getting stronger."
As Paul Coffey closes in on Denis Potvin's scoring record, his status as
a Penguin remains unclear. Rumors still swirl about a possible trade involving
Coffey due to payroll problems.
"I've heard all the rumors, and I just try to play through them" Coffey was
quoted as saying on Friday. "But there have been so many in the past week, that
there just might be a grain of truth to them."
"I have said from the beginning I want to stay in Pitt. I want to finish
my career here. But I'm a professional, and if I'm traded, so be it. It
is out of my hands. I have no control over it."
The Pens penalty unit, after 4 games, is the most potent in the NHL.
Opposing players have converted on only 2 of 25 power plays, giving the
Pens an efficieny rating of 92%.
"I don't think we're doing anything diffently" said left wing Bob Errey. "But
the confidence we got from last year's playoffs has definitly had an effect."
Contact for the Penguins