There was blood, and Grandma Tkachuk was not happy. The NHL news today will be filled with the incredible misconduct mayhem between the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers, Matthew Tkachuk vs. Brady Tkachuk. While the brothers didn’t fight, they had a few words, and the refs eventually tossed all 10 players on the ice. The Pittsburgh Penguins power play is getting Rusty, while Evgeni Malkin detailed his sacrifices to maintain his high level of play. The Minnesota Wild fired coach Dean Evason and reached into the WBS Penguins connection for their next coach, while the Toronto Maple Leafs are shopping the NHL trade market for a righty defenseman.
Yesterday, as Shelly and I were at the Penguins’ practice covering the power play work and talking to the Penguins players, our biggest competitor was busted for using fake writers with bylines on AI stories. Sports Illustrated was outed and then later pinned the problem on a third party, even though inside sources confirmed the racket.
Here’s the investigative report of SI using AI and, equally dishonest, claiming the writers to be real.
In full disclosure, the Arena Group wanted to work with Hockey Now two years ago. We declined. They asked several times. They co-opted a competitor using our business plan but without professional writers. So, I didn’t think highly of them even before this nuclear bomb.
I bring up this story because, in the big picture, YOU will decide the fate of journalism and the business. Sports Illustrated is a piranha. Look, I know for a solid 20 years, our profession hasn’t been the model of virtue that it’s supposed to be. I know news reporting, primarily in the political arena, is a cesspool of ideologically driven spin and agendas. I know. But the only way to save this thing is by choosing those who work hard, present the facts as best they can, own up to errors, and show up.
I didn’t plan on making this a rallying cry, but you see what we’re up against. Here’s $10 off to join PHN+ – use code Dan10, Dave10, or Shelly10. Your choice who gets the credit.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: P.O Joseph hit the ice for the first time since being placed on IR, and the Penguins’ lineup could get a boost with Bryan Rust tonight in Nashville. Here’s the Penguins news.
I really liked writing this — The power play had a few wrinkles in practice, small ones, but the big change was personnel. In the Penguins notebook, we joked with John Ludvig, Kris Letang pushed back on my power play question, and the PP1 added a key missing ingredient — The Penguins notebook.
PHN+: Shelly really liked writing this — Evgeni Malkin is making concessions to being 37. He’s changing his lifestyle, and he genuinely believes they’ve got another chance. When Geno speaks, you get the truth in the Penguins locker room.
And this broke later yesterday – In a couple of weeks, the Florida Panthers and Penguins will honor … wait for it … the crazy Viking, Patric Hornqvist.
One of my favorite quotes on this job was from former Penguins defenseman Ian Cole on the ice after the 2017 Stanley Cup win in Nashville, “He’s the craziest son of a … gun in the very best ways.”
I spoke with Hornqvist during the 2023 Cup Final. He had this thing in the locker room where he could talk for exactly 90 seconds. Never needed a timer. He would wrap an answer and say, “Thanks, guys.” It was always 90 seconds, though we talked for several minutes in June. It was fun to bust his balls on the 90, but tell him how much I appreciated covering him. He always gave the truth, in good and bad moments. He is one of a kind.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now
NHL Rumors: Mark Eason posts a lot of our stuff, and I’m happy to return the favor. The Toronto Maple Leafs need a righty defenseman, and the insiders at TSN discussed the whos and hows.
Florida Hockey Now: It was wild in Ottawa. Refs kicked out all 10 skaters on the ice after a third-period melee. The Tkachuk brothers nearly went at it. Keith Tkachuk looked on. Grandma Tkachuk was not happy. Ottawa eventually lost to the Florida Panthers.
— Liam McHugh (@liam_mchugh) November 28, 2023
NYI Hockey Now: The Islanders are also struggling this season. They can’t seem to get it together, and now they’re scouring the waiver wire, looking for defensive help. They hit up Florida on Monday. Here’s the Islanders news.
Philly Hockey Now: What if I told you the Flyers are ahead of the Penguins and hold a playoff spot? What if I told you the coach benched young players, and they ripped five wins in a row? It’s been a crazy but good first 20 games for John Tortorella and the state of the Philadelphia Flyers.
New Jersey Hockey Now: The Minnesota Wild fired coach Dean Evason, and GM Bill Guerin dug into his past connections for the next head coach. Guerin hired his former WBS Penguins coach, Jon Hynes.
Calgary Hockey Now: EBUG! Jacob Markstrom was out with the flu. Dan Vladar was bowled over. Everyone held their breath because an EBUG with a great backstory was the Calgary Flames backup.
Yes–we moved forward with Calgary Hockey Now! We’re giving a writer who wanted to break out of the blogosphere and cross over a chance to begin his professional career. Once upon a time, I did, too. Trevor Neufeld is coming along quite nicely.