The Pittsburgh Penguins were in a good mood on Wednesday, as laughs and cheers were part of the practice. A five-game winning streak will do that. Dave Molinari went one-on-one with Rickard Rakell while I worked the room to talk about what the big three are doing for the team. Sportsnet put scouts’ eyes on the NHL trade block. TSN debated Sidney Crosby and if his legacy makes him a top-four all-time player. New York Islanders center Bo Horvat was booed but got teary-eyed when the Vancouver Canucks paid tribute. And Quebec City is spending big money to bring preseason games there next season, presumably to prove their NHL worthiness.
I must confess, I generally have no idea what day it is. The repetition of travel, Penguins game, practice, Penguins game, travel, is in some ways very nice. There’s no downtime. But I could swear it’s Saturday, and I don’t know why. After I finished the work I wanted to get done yesterday, I decided I’d go out for dinner, but then I looked at the clock … it was 11:30 p.m.
And for the record, Penguins backup goalie Alex Nedeljkovic called this Sunday’s AFC North battle the “Browns game” yesterday, not “the Steelers game.” He’s a pretty funny guy if you can get past the Browns fandom.
To the hockey…
Pittsburgh Penguins News
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Matt Nieto needed a maintenance day, Evgeni Malkin was told to stay home, and Dave Molinari has the updates from the Penguins practice.
Rickard Rakell is simultaneously shrugging off his horrible slump to begin the season but also trying to figure out what in the world is going on. He’s played 14 games without a goal and only been credited with a few assists. Here’s what Rakell told Dave about his slump and gave Dave a pretty good quote, too: Rickard Rakell isn’t worse than yesterday.
PHN+: Lately, the big picture with the Penguins’ core has hit me. Watching three guys who are supposed to be done have tremendous seasons is impressive enough, but how they’re doing it is just as impressive. The Penguins core of Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Malkin are doing the very toughest thing for the Penguins to win.
For today only, the Dan10 code is turned back on, and you can get $10 off a PHN+ subscription that includes the entire NHN network, Steelers and Pirates coverage. If you’d like to support the hard work we’re doing and be a part of this merry band of sports media rebels, click here.
**There’s a new sportsbook offering a big bonus. ESPN Sports Book is giving PHN readers a $250 bonus, BUT you must manually enter the code PHN. Got that part? Manually enter code PHN. That $250 is good for any NFL game this weekend or tonight. Ahem, Steelers fans, the ESPN Sportsbook is open.
NHL Trade Chatter, News, & National Hockey Now
Some good news for the Penguins…
NYI Hockey Now: And all the vampires walkin’ through the valley, move west down Ventura Boulevard. That’s six losses in a row for the Fish Sticks as the Vancouver Canucks took care of business. The New York Islanders are free fallin’.
However, the night was still about former Canucks forward Bo Horvat, who returned to Vancouver for the first time since being traded last season. Fans let rip because Horvat essentially forced the trade, but tears came to his eyes when the Canucks paid tribute. Here is the Bo Horvat night.
Philly Hockey Now: Welcome back, Carter Hart. The goalie did the Penguins a solid when he decided to rob the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night. It was theft, and the Philadelphia Flyers won 3-1.
Carolina Hockey Now: Oh, that dreaded word is out there, “Inconsistency.” The Carolina Hurricanes weren’t happy with themselves.
The Flyers won’t sustain their playoff chase, but Penguins fans should tip their cap to a rowdy rebuild that beats a team the Penguins need to see lose a few games.
Boston Hockey Now: The Boston Bruins badly wanted Noah Hanifin at the 2015 NHL Draft. They worked the trade market, but GM Don Sweeney instead wound up with picks 14, 15, and 16. And those picks have been a black mark on his tenure. Now, the Calgary Flames have pulled a contract offer off the table for Hanafin, so will the Bruins go strong for the Boston native? It’s the chatter on the NHL trade market.
Montreal Hockey Now: Please come home! The Quebec province has opened the wallet and is doing its best to gain traction for an NHL franchise. They’re spending millions for two preseason games next season. Here’s the full story on Quebec City’s NHL hope.
I won’t pile on the QC, but it’s just unrealistic unless an Eastern Conference team moves there. Looking at you, Florida. The weakness of the Canadian dollar and the taxes up there are just more hurdles.
TSN: Matt Petgrave, who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in the death of Adam Johnson, was released on bond.
Colorado Hockey Now: Duck season! The Avalanche exploded and hung eight on the Anaheim Ducks. All smiles for the Colorado Avalanche.
Jonathan Drouin is breaking from his sluggish start, too. Godspeed, my man.
Calgary Sun: Oh, the mess that’s about to be. You can’t trade away the core and not expect a fire sale to follow. The veterans are getting uneasy and publicly saying they’d want to be traded. The NHL trade rumors are just starting to percolate around many of the Calgary Flames, even the players on long-term contracts.
Sportsnet: Scouts shared their feelings on the trade value of the Flames.
And TSN was on fire yesterday with hockey content. Craig Button was asked where Sidney Crosby ranks on the all-time list and if he cracks the (cliche) Mount Rushmore. Here’s where TSN falls on the discussion.
I’ll be quite happy when the term Mount Rushmore is no longer a lazy cliche used to denote a top-four all-time anything. As much as I am continually impressed by Crosby, I’ll put him fifth…unless he goes past 40 and does some remarkable things. I wouldn’t put it past him, either. Being in the top five with guys who were so much better than their peers that they were unbelievable isn’t a bad spot.
If Gretzky or Howe had to face the talented and well-coached level of competition that Crosby has faced, perhaps their legacies would be a little different, eh?