The Pittsburgh Penguins’ path back to the 2023-24 NHL playoffs is getting crowded as more teams are catching them in the Eastern Conference, and they especially fall in the Metro Division. They’ll be without Bryan Rust, who is still being evaluated for an upper-body injury, tonight in Florida on Patric Hornqvist night. Elsewhere in the Daily, it seems more of the NHL trade rumors are connecting the Toronto Maple Leafs to Chris Tanev, but one posits that Calgary won’t be so keen to help their former GM. Righty free-agent defenseman Ethan Bear is drawing interest from several teams. Scouts looked at the five under-the-radar names we’re not talking about on the NHL trade block.
And TSN analyst Craig Button took a good poke at Penguins’ president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas. I suppose when a national analyst tees up someone on our beat, it’s news. Unfortunately, Button seemed to foul up the origin story of Erik Karlsson, which changed the story.
I got to the beach for a quick lunch on Thursday. I texted Josh Yohe a question about a story we’re both pursuing–only to find out we were having lunch about 20 feet apart.
So, we moved … To 40 feet.
I kid, I kid.
Let’s start with the bad Penguins news first. At practice, the lines necessarily changed, as did the power play, because Bryan Rust was absent and will be for at least one game, if not more. Here’s the full story with the lines, the new power play, and the update on Rust. The Penguins news.
The analysis of the Penguins loss to Tampa Bay was not pretty. In short, what the hell is wrong with the Penguins? Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin answered to the loss. You can also get the raw video and explanations in addition to our analysis in the Penguins locker room feature.
And Craig Button took a good run at Dubas. He seemed to indicate he thought Erik Karlsson was a free-agent signing instead of a trade. But Button says Dubas is repeating the mistake he made in Toronto. The full Penguins analysis.
Never before in NFL history has a team lost consecutive games to such inferior opponents. Needing a couple of wins against 2-10 teams, the Steelers anointed their opponents as 3-10 teams on their way out of Pittsburgh. They lost to a hapless Patriots team on Thursday.
Our team spent the night cranking out analysis, interviews, and breakdowns of that debacle of a Steelers game, and they’ll continue on Monday, too — check out the home page for all of the Steelers news.
Steelers fans–what was with the constant booing, especially in the second half when the team was turning it around? Throw away because everyone was covered. Booo!! Trick play. Boooo! Run for two yards. Boooo! Yes, the first half was horrendous and earned some boos, but the second half? That was an ugly side.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now
Sportsnet: From center Sean Monahan to a few defensemen, including Filip Broberg, NHL scouts dish the dirt on the NHL trade market.
Spector’s Hockey: Our buddy Spector’s Hockey has compiled all of the Chris Tanev rumors in To. However, the most interesting angle was that Calgary Flames ownership might now want to help their former GM, at least without charging a little premium.
New Jersey Hockey Now: Here’s a story we’re actively pursuing. Last week, PHN reported that rumors persisted the Penguins were interested in free agent right-handed defenseman Ethan Bear, but sources close to the situation said the Penguins’ interest occurred last year, not this year. Yesterday, Chris Johnston on TSN again put the Penguins in the interested category, along with several rival teams, including the New Jersey Devils.
On the ice, Akira Schmid and Simon Nemec stole a couple of points from Seattle, and the Devils beat Seattle. The Devils have now passed the Penguins in the Metro Division — the prime takeaways from the Devils’ game.
Philly Hockey Now: Uh oh, the supposedly “rebuilding,” “retooling,” and “a few years away” Flyers are rolling. They lit up the Arizona Coyotes. Travis Konecny and Cam York were unstoppable, and the Flyers won again.
NYI Hockey Now: Mathew Barzal and Brock Boeser put on a little show for the people. The New York Islanders rolled over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Only the Columbus trail the Penguins in the Metro. Things are getting away from the Pittsburgh Penguins quickly…very quickly.
Detroit Hockey Now: As if the Penguins playoff path wasn’t already overcrowded, the Detroit Red Wings debuted some guy named Patrick Kane, who had a breakaway chance with the game on his stick. Kane didn’t convert, and Mikael Granlund (yes, that Mikael Granlund) scored in overtime for a San Jose Sharks win. But let’s not bury the lede; Patrick Kane is back.