While we debate if the Pittsburgh Penguins window is slammed shut or could be reopened with a good offseason, circumstances may shove the rival Washington Capitals in a new direction. Center Nick Backstrom had major hip surgery, and his hockey future is uncertain. The GMs of the Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils like to chat, but could it result in J.T. Miller coming east on the NHL trade market? Jack Johnson is inching closer to a Stanley Cup a couple of months after earning his college degree from Michigan. And his Colorado Avalanche absolutely steamrolled the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 for a 2-0 series lead.
I’m not the first king of controversy, but I do occasionally step in it.
I maintain the unique circumstances and long offseasons before and after the Tampa Bay Lightning Cup wins put their back-to-back wins in a different light. If they get crushed in their first 82-game season and unimpeded Stanley Cup Final, I will view them differently. They have to win a couple or a few games. In the same way, I view the New York Islanders differently; the Islanders were saved by the shortened 2020 season but were ready for the bubble four months later, then had a great run in the 56-game season but fell apart in the long season.
Tampa Bay has faced two marginal-playoff teams in the Stanley Cup finals. My Twitter was split just about 50/50 on the opinion.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: However, I also don’t think the 82-game season is necessary. The NHL can shorten it, AND the NHL can make more money by doing so. Yep. The Penguins also have a logjam of decisions that could cost them. Pittsburgh Penguins analysis.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now
Vancouver Hockey Now: NHL trade talk? Rob Simpson had the exclusive. Former Penguins coworkers Patrik Allvin and Tom Fitzgerald like to talk frequently. Allvin is now the GM of the Canucks and Fitzgerald the GM of the New Jersey Devils. As Simmer chatted with Fitzgerald, he realized “Fitz” was describing J.T. Miller.
Montreal: The fan buzz and hope in Montreal have been that GM Kent Hughes can find a way to snag the top two picks in the 2022 NHL Draft. The NHL trade scuttle is…Like Frazier Crane, New Jersey, which holds the second overall pick, is listening. NHL Trade Talk.
Colorado: Wow. Colorado crushed Tampa Bay in Game 2. I mean skated them out of the building from the puck drop. Tampa Bay had only 15 shots deep into the third period. Colorado won 7-0. This is becoming a lopsided series. Colorado Avalanche leads 2-0.
NHL.com: Here’s my favorite story. I’ll be honest, so many Penguins fans treated now-Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson horribly. After his first few months with the Penguins, he settled into a solid game when Marcus Pettersson arrived. He also had a very good first half of his second season before he took one for the team and played beside Kris Letang or on his off side. I’ve never seen Penguins fans so vehemently hate someone. The more the hate flowed, the more it became a one-upmanship of hate. It was kind of ugly.
Johnson is two wins away from the Stanley Cup. He also got his degree from Michigan this spring. Good on ya, Jack.
**Washington Hockey Now: wow. Nick Backstrom had hip resurfacing surgery. Washington Capitals news.
Also, if you’re curious about what the surgery entails and what it means, Sammi Silber did a deep dive into it and what it could mean for Nick Backstrom.
The Capitals will be on the hunt for a scoring center via free agency. Vincent Trocheck fits them, too…
Florida: Change the goal song?! It’s a heated debate in Florida, where “Sweetness” by Jimmy Eat World is the song. The band frontman tossed some shade on the debate, too. Florida Panthers “drama.”