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Dan’s Daily: Western D-Men on NHL Trade Block; Penguins Change PP1



Pittsburgh Penguins, Kris Letang, NHL trade rumors western conference defensemen

PHILADELPHIA — The Pittsburgh Penguins used an all-hands-on-deck practice to make another significant change to the power play. The team also recalled Alex Nylander, and we went inside the Penguins locker room for an inference from Erik Karlsson that I found interesting. Or maybe it was telling. Elsewhere in the Daily, defensemen are filling the NHL trade rumors from Nashville to San Jose. The Buffalo Sabres are calling themselves soft, and Jack Campbell could be back in the net for the Edmonton Oilers this week.

I feel like I’ve really got a good grip on the Penguins right now. Just talking to the guys every day and keeping mental notes of what they feel about certain topics, like the power play or line combinations, has been invaluable. It certainly has changed how I do this job from two years ago when the pandemic meant everyone talked on Zoom or paraded into the impersonal press conference room.

Karlsson is definitely an interesting character. He’s definitely the first new rooster to enter the Penguins’ henhouse in a long time.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Coach Mike Sullivan didn’t have an update on Matt Nieto after practice, but later Sunday, the Penguins made a move and indirectly updated Nieto’s status. The Penguins recalled Alex Nylander, and here’s the full details on the Penguins news.

At practice, there were a few more Penguins power play changes.

Rickard Rakell hit the ice before practice. That’s some good Penguins news.

I’m in Philly for the tilt tonight at Wells Fargo, but Dave Molinari says, meh. He doesn’t think much of the state of the Penguins-Flyers rivalry.

I’ve been digesting Erik Karlsson’s insights over the last couple of days. I didn’t want to immediately dash off a column with big inferences or merely sit on his implications. Chemistry is a big deal, and it seems like that’s part of the power play struggles. Is Karlsson struggling to fit? Also, there are a few more tidbits in the Penguins analysis.

Philly Hockey Now: In case you missed John Tortorella’s expressive postgame comments after the Flyers’ shootout win over the Penguins, Torts had some testicular praise for his guys in the Flyers postgame.

Steelers Now

That was ugly, eh? A 2-10 team drives 99 yards at the end of the first half, and Kenny Pickett is injured. You knew the second half was not going the Steelers’ way. The five takeaways from Acrisure Stadium–the Pickett problem and Mike Tomlin tumbles. The Steelers takeaways.

Tomlin’s seat should be getting a little warm. This team is underachieving.

T.J. Watt was getting held … a lot. Watt has finally had enough of the James Harrison treatment from officials, and he called them out after the Steelers game.

Pittsburgh Baseball Now

Yes! Jim Leyland was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I wonder if the Pirates’ hands are numb after sitting on them for two months. The storylines to follow at the Baseball Winter Meetings during a painfully slow, dull, inactive Pirates offseason.

They just can’t get out of their own way. A terrible offseason is wasting some fan interest and some potential growth. Someday, they may realize they’re in the entertainment industry.

NHL Trade Rumors, News, & National Hockey Now

Nashville Hockey Now: So, Elliotte Friedman dropped a couple of little bombshells this weekend, including that Predators defenseman Tyson Barrie is free to seek a trade. Michael Gallagher was one step ahead. Here are the four teams that should come calling on the NHL trade market.

Friedman also reported the San Jose Sharks are chumming the water with their defensemen. You see what I did there? Sharks, chumming… never mind. Anyway, Sheng Peng notes, yes, the Sharks have been shopping the boys in the NHL trade block, but the Sharks defensemen won’t be cheap.

NYI Hockey Now: It’s time to start watching the competitors for the playoff spots (yes, yes, I can already hear some of your keys typing, “but the Penguins won’t make the playoffs!” Incessant pessimism isn’t intelligence, but I digress) The Islanders had a scrappy 4-3 win over Florida. Here’s what’s going right for the New York Islanders.

New Jersey Hockey Now: Uh oh–Dougie Hamilton is going to be out long-term for the New Jersey Devils.

Sportsnet: A few good starts on the farm, and Edmonton Oilers goalie Jack Campbell might be back in the NHL this week.

Buffalo News: And Dylan Cozens called out his team for being soft. Mike Harrington called out the GM for letting it continue. There is trouble in Snow City as the Sabres are slipping.