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Dan’s Daily: Markstrom, Pettersson Bombshells; Penguins Get Calls



NHL Trade rumors, Nikita Zadorov, Pittsburgh Penguins changes

CALGARY — The phone is ringing for Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operation/GM Kyle Dubas. More reports are emerging that Reilly Smith is drawing broad interest on the NHL trade market ahead of the March 8 deadline. PHN talked to Smith about those rumors. Smith also had a definitive response to the pervasive talk that he’s unhappy in Pittsburgh. Elsewhere in the Daily, there are bombshells in Calgary and Vancouver. The Canucks were or are close to trading Elias Pettersson to Carolina Hurricanes, and Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom ripped GM Craig Conroy over the recent trade talks with the New Jersey Devils.

But the Penguins did get some help on the ice Friday night as Philadelphia and New Jersey lost.

Calgary. Cold. Re-he-he-heaaally cold. I’ll roll out the red carpet for new PHN+ subscribers again today, but here’s why you should join this hockey media rebellion of 15-city hockey reporting and Steelers and Pirates coverage. It cost nearly $400 extra to get to Calgary for yesterday’s practice. To boot, the flight out of Seattle was delayed, so when it finally landed in Vancouver for the Calgary connection, that plane was already boarding.

We had about 10 minutes to race from one end of the Vancouver airport to the other, and we also had to go through customs. So, I ran. Taylor Haase of DK was also on the flight. The poor girl was in boots with heels. She was running, too. We were in a dead sprint for much of the mile run, according to my iPhone. With luggage on my back and to the delight of onlookers rooting for us, I hurdled off a people mover to take a shortcut. With two minutes to spare, we made it, though she won with a little help from customs. There will be no rematch.

Then, that flight was delayed on the runway. We arrived at Penguins practice as it began.

We go to great lengths to cover this team. And then I talked to Reilly Smith about all of the rumors. And that’s why you should join PHN+. Use code Dan10 to get $10 off and a note of gratitude from us. Join PHN+ here.

Apologies, I slept until 7 a.m. local time today. Tomorrow begins a 36-hour hell trip as I drive up and back from Edmonton through a coming snowstorm for an early morning flight out of Calgary. Wheee!

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Kyle Dubas will get a lot of calls leading to the trade deadline, but how many will actually matter for the Penguins GM?

A new report that a greater number of teams have called about Reilly Smith than Jake Guentzel. Smith is drawing interest on the NHL trade market.

And…I asked Reilly Smith direct questions about those rumors. And the belief that he’s unhappy in Pittsburgh. I did forewarn him that I had some rough questions, but I don’t think he was expecting the latter. He had not heard those rumors, and he had a real reaction. Here’s our story from the Penguins locker room.

I’ve talked with Reilly a few times this season. Neither he nor I are warm and fuzzy types, so I understand if a player just doesn’t like to chit-chat. I hate chit-chat, too. But Smith recoiled for a moment. I didn’t video our conversation because I didn’t want that added pressure on him. I was hoping for, and I believe that I got an honest response to the story that’s been out there.

NHL Trade Rumors, News & National Hockey Now

32 Thoughts: Bombshell No. 1 on Friday was that the Vancouver Canucks were so close to trading Elias Pettersson to the Carolina Hurricanes that they called a pause on talks to revisit contract talks.

As I was writing the daily, Pettersson signed a healthy eight-year deal worth $11.6 million annually.

Then Jacob Markstrom dropped a bombshell on the Flames. As he finished his post-practice scrum, he decided to rip Flames GM Craig Conroy for the trade talks with the Devils. Whether he’s made the trade didn’t happen or they were made public wasn’t clear, but it muddies the water on his Flames future.

TSN: Immediate reports that the Devils have circled back on Markstrom after yesterday’s comments. The Devils would get a lot better quickly.

New Jersey Hockey Now: The Devils allowed 12 shots through 40 minutes and lost to the Anaheim Ducks. And fans blamed the coach. James Nichols’s takeaways hit at the heart of the matter for the New Jersey Devils.

Fans blaming the coach is almost funny. Twelve shots, but the coach’s system is at fault?! One Devils fan angrily responded that it wasn’t the Devils offensive system that was the problem but the defensive system. So, let me help. THIS IS NOT THE NFL. There isn’t an offensive and defensive coordinator and intricate schemes crafted over months and delivered in a top-secret playbook.

Philly Hockey Now: The bad news is the Washington Capitals won again. The good news is that they decimated the Philadelphia Flyers.

Ottawa Sun: This is bad news and hopefully not as bad as it could be. Senators center Josh Norris, 24, will be out long-term after another injury, apparently to his already twice surgically repaired shoulder.

NYI Hockey Now: The Islanders are still in the playoff hunt, but they are banged up, including Scott Mayfield. Here’s the latest Islanders injury update.

Detroit Hockey Now: The Red Wings are solidly in a playoff spot, and this year’s trade deadline will be different. Dylan Larkin and coach Derek LaLonde discussed past frustrations, and perhaps the boldest move the Detroit Red Wings could make.