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Dan’s Daily: Tocchet Wins, Florida Gets Physical, Penguins Awards

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Pittsburgh Penguins news, Rick Tocchet, NHL trade chatter.

The Florida Panthers physically punished the New York Rangers and pulled away in Game 1. Rick Tocchet was honored as the best coach in the NHL. We finally reached the end of the Pittsburgh Penguins rumors with Sheldon Keefe as the New Jersey Devils hired him, and Dave Molinari handed out Penguins awards. Elsewhere in the Daily, Nikolaj Ehlers is gaining traction as a trade target for more teams looking for legitimate scoring help. At the same time, our New York colleague debates putting the Islanders’ Brock Nelson or Jean-Gabriel Pageau on the NHL trade block.

A YouTube viewer sent me a private question that was part apology and part fan criticism of “us” as defined by being “the media.” Why don’t we more vociferously criticize failing entities like a coach or GM–is it because we’re afraid of losing our media access? And why are we usually offended by that question?

So, I’ll answer that publicly in the same way I did privately: The assertion calls into question our credibility. Good gosh, the criticisms I wrote about the team last December were as harsh as I’ve ever written. I called it as I saw it. But the athletes and executives are also humans and the story is always moving, always evolving. There’s no point in a declarative conclusion before the actual conclusion of the story. I learned that early on in this job. And I made a great effort to dig into why things were happening, not shout blame–anyone can point the fingers of blame–and I hope the greater details and information are why many of you come here.

That’s the difference between a fan blog and what we do. So, when someone says, “The media won’t criticize because they’re afraid of losing their access,” that’s why it’s offensive.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Envelopes, please. Kept in the safe at Price Waterhouse or in a mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnalls’ porch since noon, Dave Molinari delivers the Penguins postseason awards.

If you get the latter reference, you’re either steeped in older pop culture references or just old. Or both, like me. It’s a Johnny Carson reference.

PHN Video: From the steal that was Jack St. Ivany’s new contract to coaches with ties to Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas to former Penguins who could reunite. Viewers did NOT like one of my suggestions (44:30). Here’s the Penguins Live Chat.

NHL Trade Talk, News, & National Hockey Now

New Jersey Hockey Now: Taking the big-name coach off the market also ends the Mike Sullivan rumors. Now, it is the beginning of the Sheldon Keefe era as the new head coach for the New Jersey Devils.

Also, Jim Hiller was permanently given the LA Kings job. There’s no report that former Ottawa Senators coach D.J. Smith was a potential Penguins hire, but he had ties to Dubas. Smith is on Hiller’s staff so that probably removes him from any Pittsburgh contention.

Florida Hockey Now: Sergei Bobrovsky. He may have been overpaid for a few years, but now he’s earning his keep in a big way. The Panthers’ goalie only faced five shots in the first period but walled off the net in the third period when New York charged. Bobrovsky frustrated the Rangers, and the Florida Panthers lead the ECF.

Sportsnet: The highlights from Hockey Central — how the Florida Panthers punished New York, and were the physical team.

NHL.com: This guy is evolving into one heck of a head coach–Rick Tocchet helped change the culture and the fortunes of the Vancouver Canucks. They were a game away from the Western Conference Final, and the fanbase is already excited for next season. Tocchet won the Jack Adams Trophy for coach of the year.

Writers don’t vote on the Jack Adams Award; the NHL broadcasters do. I chuckled when I saw Mike Sullivan got one vote because I was waiting for some of you to say it was me.

Montreal Hockey Now: Oh, the Canadian markets are beginning to percolate. It’s prime NHL trade rumors season, and here are a couple of prime candidates, including Nikolaj Ehlers, who could be Montreal Canadiens’ trade targets.

NYI Hockey Now: It seems unfathomable, but it would surely help the Penguins. Is Brock Nelson on the trade block? It’s J-G Pageau or Nelson, and Russel Macias digs into the New York Islanders’ trade potential.

If Nelson were traded, who would fill the net against the Penguins? Can Dubas give the Islanders some draft capital to ensure Nelson is traded away from the Metro? Can I use any more question marks??