The Pittsburgh Penguins wrong-footed it on Saturday night. They were off from the first shift, as Sidney Crosby changed up despite the Toronto Maple Leafs having the puck at center ice. The Edmonton Oilers are on the NHL trade hunt, but don’t have cap space to absorb anything beyond the dollars they send out. The Montreal Canadiens are dangling a couple of defensemen on the NHL trade block, but are in no hurry to make a move, and the Philadelphia Flyers fans let GM Chuck Fletcher know how they felt about the team toward the end of their loss to the Penguins on Friday.
Oh, the Flyers were docile Friday. Aside from the two fights, I don’t recall a Flyers-Penguins game with less action. Between the end of the Ron Hextall era, which produced more prospect busts than hits, and the Fletcher era, which has produced bad contracts and more bad picks, Philly fans ain’t happy…
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins gave up a goal on the first shift (kind of, because it came on a line change), and Toronto never looked back. The Penguins lost, 4-1. Get the always-entertaining Dave Molinari Penguins recap.
PHN+: It was an evening of blunders, breakdowns, and gaffes. After locker-room chats and insights, Dave also has the Pittsburgh Penguins analysis.
Crosby was frustrated with his skates. Kris Letang was frustrated by having his skates taken from underneath him on a Toronto goal, and overall, the Penguins were … frustrated. Shelly Anderson has the Penguins’ locker room reaction.
It was the first home game I’ve not covered since … ? Woke up Saturday morning in a cold sweat, violent chills, and the feeling that a dump truck had run me over. I am confined to the couch for several days or more. Yay. But I’m still working, because what else am I going to do?
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now:
Sportsnet: The Edmonton Oilers want some grit or jam in their lineup, but at a pauper’s price. Still, they are looking under every rock on the NHL trade market. And yes, Jesse Puljujarvi’s name is out there.
Montreal Hockey Now: GM Kent Hughes has infused the organization with a wave of energy. The young defensemen are coming along. The forward prospects are chipping in, and now Hughes gets to drive up the NHL trade price for veteran defensemen like Joel Edmundson or Mike Matheson for the Montreal Canadiens.
Philly: So, you want to be an NHL GM? It’s easy. There’s always someone who wants your bad players. Never give veterans contracts, always be getting younger. It’s not so easy, but Philly isn’t yet on the upswing, and fans are tired of the stink. They want Chuck Fletcher’s job. Will the Philadelphia Flyers respond?
Start the rebuild, you say? Many Penguins fans insisted — don’t re-sign Letang or Malkin. Get young, so you’ll win sooner. Kids, Philadelphia is the cautionary tale when you go chasing white rabbits.
NYI: The Islanders cast off former first-round pick Keiffer Bellows. The Flyers picked him up. The two finally met again, and here’s what Bellow had to say about playing the New York Islanders.
Washinton: The New Jersey Devils are a buzzsaw. The Capitals played well, but New Jersey still won, 5-1. Oh, and former Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek had a little something to prove as well. The Washington Capitals story.
Vegas: The glow-in-the-dark reverse retro Golden Knights jerseys made their debut, and in Vegas fashion, it was a pregame spectacle. They just do everything right. Check out the pregame build-up and explosion when they hit the ice. The Vegas Golden Knights pregame.
Calgary: The Flames are flat. Help, Jonathan Huberdeau?
Hopped up on cold & flu medicine, and that song popped into my head. In every form of music, there is one idyllic moment, perfect without interpretation or explanation, that compares to nothing else. Grace Slick nailing the vocals of White Rabbit is Rock’s greatest vocal. Ever. It was before my time, too, but if you don’t know it, here you go: