It was a day off for the Pittsburgh Penguins who used the bubble life amenities to their fullest. The NHL completed their exhibition schedule Thursday night and former Penguins thumper Ryan Reaves found himself at the center of controversy. The NHL wrapped up 12 games in three days as the Columbus Blue Jackets flexed their underdog muscle and Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury played all three periods.
We’ll begin with football highlights for those of you jonesing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, except these highlights include Bryan Rust heaving a Hail Mary for Jake Guentzel.
Off-day fun in the sun ☀️ pic.twitter.com/h7fYnfFwT6
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 30, 2020
When the Penguins practiced on Wednesday, head coach Mike Sullivan made a change to the power play. He was mum on what that change was, as well refusing to divulge the decision-making process on the goalies, but it sounded like Kris Letang will not be on the top power-play unit, at least all of the time (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
History is not with the Pittsburgh Penguins in their quest for a sixth Stanley Cup, but they’ve already had an unprecedented run. Can the Penguins buck history for an unparalleled third chapter? (PHN+)
Write this down — The Columbus Blue Jackets will give the Toronto Maple Leafs the toughest series in the Qualifying Round. I’m picking Columbus to win. Tortorella has hooks into that team and they’re ready (Sportsnet)
Columbus spanked Boston, 4-1 in the exhibition. Tortorella seemingly learned a lot from his Vancouver failure. He might be the best coach in the NHL as he combines motivation, love, tough love, and a sharp Xs and Os mind. Never underestimate Torts.
People aren’t very happy with Ryan Reaves. He caught Nick Schmaltz with his head down, but Reaves also made direct mellon contact (Sportsnet)
Vegas beat Arizona, 4-1. Marc-Andre Fleury played the whole game (NHL.com)
It’s tough to find good game stories and analysis of Vegas. Someone should fix that.
The AHL will begin play on Dec. 4. Probably. (The AHL)
The Hockey Diversity Alliance isn’t happy with the NHL. San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane slammed the NHL and said the league is not addressing racism (TSN)
National Hockey Now
Nazem Kadri was more subtle but he too prodded the NHL to do more in its fight against racism (Colorado Hockey Now)
The Florida Panthers will need “Big Game Bob” to have a chance. Will they get him? (Florida Hockey Now)
Who is the Islanders starting goalie? It should be Seymon Varlamov and here’s why. NYI Hockey Now reports (NYI Hockey Now)
Vegas coach Pete DeBoer called his current team the best he’s ever coached. So, which team is better — the 2018-19 Sharks or this year’s Golden Knights? (San Jose Hockey Now)
DeBoer also coached the 2016 San Jose Sharks who were chum to the Pittsburgh Penguins but still made it to the Stanley Cup Final.
Boston Bruins goalie met the Twitter mob this week when he wore a Boston Police hat. Brad Marchand dashed off a fiery tweet in Rask’s defense, and Rask had to clarify (Boston Hockey Now)
We need enough headspace to support efforts against systemic racism and support the men and women who have sworn to serve and protect us. To make our society better, we’ll need both, and making one the “bad guy” doesn’t do much good. That’s my political thought for the day.