(TORONTO, ON) — The experience was a little bit surreal. So that I may cover the Pittsburgh Penguins in person (and other teams under the National Hockey Now umbrella), I holed up in an Airbnb bedroom for 14 days, had all food and supplies delivered, and talked to no one. There are two Tim Horton’s within a block of my spot in downtown Toronto, as well the Hockey Hall of Fame just a few blocks away, but I stayed put.
My world was reduced to this laptop screen to chat with you via social media and my Netflix account.
Sure, I quarantined like everyone else in the world from March through May, but then I could step outside, go for a walk, the grocery store (to yell at people who can’t read one-way signs or measure six feet), or a drive-thru to see the remnants of the world.
I’m so glad my 14-day Canadaian quarantine is over. It wasn’t without some drama. Your mind really begins to play tricks on you. After too much Diet Coke and too many chocolate-peanut cookies (and not eating a meal for 36 hours) last week, I was sure I was getting a fever. I felt a little warm. I panicked like the world was about to end.
My mind was racing, my heart was pounding. My God, somehow I got COVID in quarantine?! Did I get it from family before I left?! The panic only made things worse. This is just my luck. I’m such an idiot!
After a meal, some water and calming down, I was fine. I am fine. I cannot wait to get to the arena today and claim my spot as one of five U.S. journalists who braved the quarantine and made the trip to cover hockey. Also, thank YOU for building PHN to the point that such insanity is financially possible and hopefully, maybe, even profitable.
In a few minutes, I’m on my way to a little diner for eggs, bacon, and a coffee. Thank you very much.
On to HOCKEY!
There was a lot to unpack in the Pittsburgh Penguins Game 1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Patrick Marleau simplified one of the Penguins biggest issues.
“We were close to the net, but we weren’t taking away sightlines as much as we’d like,” Marleau said.
In other words, the Montreal defensemen won the battle for the crease. That will be a big storyline for Game 2, tonight.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was encouraged by his team’s practice on Sunday and the team was optimistic based on their high number of chances (PHN+)
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Please and thanks!
Sullivan also pushed back, immediately, on a question he perceived to lay blame on Jack Johnson and Justin Schultz. Sullivan shifted the blame to his forwards. So, we diagrammed the play in question: the first Montreal goal. Was Johnson at fault (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Perhaps I underestimate the Philadelphia Flyers. They frustrated the Boston Bruins on Sunday night. Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy let loose in his postgame chat, “Make a friggin better play!” (Boston Hockey Now)
Here come the New York Islanders, again. Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier have become game-changers (NYI Hockey Now)
The Colorado Avalanche won their round-robin game against St. Louis with 0.1 seconds. What a finish! Adrian Dater broke down the performances that defined the game (Colorado Hockey Now)
In Florida, Sergei Bobrovsky is the guy. His season hasn’t been great, so if Florida needs him, Chris Driedger is ready (Florida Hockey Now)
The upset kids are back at it. The Columbus Blue Jackets are a playoff team. They are built for it, while the Toronto Maple Leafs are not. Columbus won Game 1, and the soul searching in Toronto has begun. “Maple Leafs Looking for Identity” (Sportsnet)
Could Joe Thornton play in Switzerland this fall and return for the NHL season in January? It’s being discussed (San Jose Hockey Now)
Euro leagues may have to limit the number of temporary players they allow to come over.
Join PHN for LIVE, IN-PERSON Game 2 coverage of the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. If it seems like we’re making a big deal of it, that’s because we are. Covering hockey on TV just isn’t the same.