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Dan’s Daily: Penguins Failure, Top NHL Trade Chatter



NHL trade, Erik Karlsson to Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins Win

Second verse, same as the first. Actually, ninth verse same as the first, as the Pittsburgh Penguins are winless in their last nine games against the Metro Division, and the lost leads on the heels of catastrophic mistakes or breakdowns have the Penguins peering over the season’s cliff. Could the Winnipeg Jets make a play for Timo Meier, or will that force the New Jersey Devils to up their pursuit of Meier to keep up with the New York Rangers? The folks in Edmonton are craving Erik Karlsson, and the Eastern Conference playoff battle is on.

Bring up all of the AHL players. They can’t be worse! (That’s sarcasm).

However, today is a big day for the Penguins. They canceled practice and are not on the ice today. They are now OUT of a playoff spot. It’s a perfect day for their GM to take stock and take action for the mistake-filled team, which inexplicably abandons its principles when it has a third-period lead. The Penguins are 27-20-9, which means they’ve lost more games than they’ve won, and their season goal differential is plus-2.

Paul Zeise on 93-7 the Fan somewhat rhetorically asked me, “but what can Hextall really do?” I answered. There are options. It will require giving up a player or three they don’t want to lose, but there are options.

But some of yinz are wearing me out with the campaign for a few WBS guys. Believe me, I was at every day of rookie camp, training camp, and at every preseason game, even the road games. You can’t read stat sheets and judge a prospect’s readiness. I studied, graded, and analyzed every single player with a chance to make the show and did so against NHL talent and fellow potential NHL talent. I want there to be that guy — it’s good for business — but there just isn’t a Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, or even a Conor Sheary hiding down there … at least not yet.

Pittsburgh Penguins / Steelers, Pirates

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Third-period lead, regulation loss to the New York Islanders. Get Dave Molinari’s Penguins recap.

“We found a way to lose”: When I walked into the locker room, two things immediately grabbed my attention — P.O Joseph’s devastated look and Bryan Rust’s scowl. Rust talked to the media — go inside the locker room with full video of the raw emotion from Rust, Letang, Jarry and some honest admissions from coach Mike Sullivan. And look at the Rust scowl. Pittsburgh Penguins locker room.

PHN+: Here’s the report card, though it reads more like a letter home to the parents that the child needs some discipline (Do teachers still do that?). What the Penguins did right, what the Islanders countered and, ultimately, why the Penguins lost. Here’s what needs to change — the Penguins report card.

As a business owner on 5th Ave told me yesterday, “I need them to make the playoffs, or my business really suffers in the summer.” Yeah, my friend, I feel ya.

NYI Hockey Now: From the flip side, the rapid reaction. Another rally. Another brilliant goaltending performance, and even without their star player, the New York Islanders are now in a playoff position.

Kris Letang shook his head and looked in disbelief. Late in the second period, Letang almost gave the Penguins a two-goal lead until Ilya Sorokin made a diving stick save. Watch it here: It was spectacular and saved the Islanders.

Pittsburgh Baseball Now:

PBN+: From Bradenton — John Perrotto might have been in the batting cage. “Nutting Won’t Be Reaching For His Wallet Anytime Soon” — The better Pirates and the same owner, Bob Nutting.

John is all over Spring Training and could use your support. Subscribe to the Sports Now Group here.

It’s a big year for Bubba Chandler, who had a football scholarship to Clemson, and whom the Pirates went well above slot to sign. Now we see what the Pirates’ prospect can do.

We’re getting mixed reports on Endy Rodriguez behind the plate. The top Pirates’ prospect wants more.

NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now:

Sportsnet: Timo Meier with the Winnipeg Jets, maybe the St. Louis Blues? The NHL trade rumor roundup — Things are getting weird.

Edmonton Journal: Stick tap to Spector’s Hockey Lyle Richardson for finding this one. The Edmonton Oilers media is clamoring for the big get — Erik Karlsson.

I wouldn’t touch Karlsson until I saw a second season of this level of production. It’s been too many years since he was this good. Buyer beware, although he has been extraordinary.

Washington Hockey Now: Like the Penguins, the Washington Capitals are out of the playoffs. Coach Peter Laviolette provided an update and timeline on the return of Alex Ovechkin.

Florida Hockey Now: The Panthers are also now in a playoff spot by virtue of their SO win over Anaheim. Florida Panthers coverage.

Detroit Hockey Now: The playoffs are in sight for the rebuilding franchise that has endured six consecutive lonely springs. The playoff gauntlet begins Tuesday in Washington for the Detroit Red Wings.

Remember when I wrote that the rest of the Eastern Conference was quickly catching the Penguins? Yeah, it’s happening even faster than I thought.