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Dan’s Daily: Malkin Busts Crosby, Canucks Fling Open Trade Doors

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin

Jim Rutherford is either a genius, creating a circus in Vancouver, or both. Reports state the Canucks have put everyone but Elias Pettersson on the NHL trade block. The Flyers are listening on James van Riemsdyk, the NHL is looking at an 84-game schedule, and Nick Backstrom’s impending return could rekindle the Washington Capitals trade talks. Also, Evgeni Malkin returned to practice and chirped his buddy Sidney Crosby for a wimpy slap shot.

Whew. The boys on HNIC were dropping bombs on Saturday night. The potential 84-game schedule makes me cringe. When will sports leagues realize there is no demand for MORE regular-season games? “We need a longer regular season,” said No Fan Ever.

Just a thought, but 16 teams made the Stanley Cup playoffs when there were 21 teams. If they’re hell-bent on more hockey, how about 20 teams of a 32-team league, including four wild cards. Have the wild cards play a five-game series? Wouldn’t the TV networks get more bang for their buck with that than more regular season games?

This weekend, I feel like I’m standing on my head and telling everyone they’re upside down. Join me tonight on WPXI’s Final Word. I’ve got a few things I want to say to you people… (Happy Festivus).

Pittsburgh Penguins / Steelers, Pirates

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Welcome back, Malkin. He scratched his chin, grinned, and delivered a pretty good crack against Sidney Crosby, who plunked him with a slap-shot on Thursday. Check it out — Well done, Evgeni Malkin.

PHN Blog: Kasperi Kapanen is receding. Why not Mark Friedman? And Casey DeSmith gave us a three-minute master class. Pittsburgh Penguins blog.

Happy World Cup Final. One game for all the marbles, and you won’t get more for four years. Get a free $50 bet at DraftKings (and don’t go 10-ply on me. Use the $50 well). World Cup Final bets we like.

Steelers Now:

Kenny Pickett is out. After a week of pitting the other QBs against each other, Mike Tomlin chose the Steelers starting QB.

All right, it’s a long shot, and the worst thing that could happen is the Steelers win a few games but not make the playoffs. So, if you believe in miracles, here’s what must happen for a Steelers playoff berth.

Former Steelers think the team is holding him back — Free George Pickens!

Pittsburgh Baseball Now: The Pirates spent some money on backstops and snagged a free agent. Pittsburgh Pirates free agency.

NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now:

Sportsnet: Hockey Night in Canada. Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman were on fire. The Canucks and GM Patrik Allivn have put everyone but Pettersson on the NHL trade block. An 84-game schedule? The Flyers are listening on van Riemsdyk.

Montreal Hockey Now: Nick Backstrom is getting close to returning to the Capitals. This summer, the Capitals and Canadiens had trade talks about moving cap space. Could the Capitals reengage the Canadiens trade talks?

Philly Hockey Now: Torts can be hard on top centers who don’t produce. Kevin Hayes is the Flyers’ leading scorer, but on Saturday, Tortorella made him a healthy scratch. Philadelphia Flyers lineup friction.

Hey–follow Ariel Melendez on Twitter. She’s part of the next generation of hockey writers who are getting a chance to shine.

Washington Hockey Now: WILD win for the Capitals. Light-scoring defenseman Erik Gustafsson scored a hat trick, and the Capitals rattled former Caps goalie Ilya Samsonov. Gustafsson said he “blacked out” after the hatty. Check out the Washington Capitals locker room.

Detroit Hockey Now: Call me sympathetic. Ollie Matta was out of the lineup for several games. Pneumonia knocked him out for the Detroit Red Wings.

Vegas Hockey Now: A scary story that ended well with a lot of outpouring of support. Alex Pietrangelo was on personal leave from the Golden Knights. Saturday, he told the reason why. His daughter’s flu progressed to lesions on the brain and days in the hospital. Here’s the full story from Alex Pietrangelo.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.