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Dan’s Daily Notebook: Penguins Watching Zuccarello, Isles Aggressive

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Andre Burakovsky: Photo by Michael Miller

The Pittsburgh Penguins fired the opening salvo in the Metropolitan Division trade race and according to Larry Brooks of the NY Post are still keeping their eyes on the Rangers situation. While the Columbus Blue Jackets hem and haw about their obvious future without Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, the New York Islanders are reportedly getting aggressive on the trade market. The Washington Capitals are lurking and offers for Michael Ferland are drying up.

The Penguins–according to Brooks–are doing their due diligence on Mats Zuccarello  (NY Post)

Brooks puts a lot of stuff on the wall, but noting the Penguins are watching seems to be the appropriate term.

Pierre LeBrun thinks the Islanders see their chance. They’re atop the Metro Division with a barrel full of salary cap space (Nichols on Hockey)

The Washington Capitals may look to make their forwards better. That’s it–that’s all anyone has on the Caps. GM Brian McClellan is either slow playing this or he’s falling victim to a classic blunder of Stanley Cup champions; assuming the team is still good enough to win the Cup because they just did. Chris Kuc of The Athletic chatted with McClellan last week–even Andre Burakovsky doesn’t seem to be a sure bet to be traded (The Athletic)

If Washington stands pat, they might well be an underdog in a series against the Penguins (as things look now).

Make no mistake, the Carolina Hurricanes overplayed their hand on Michael Ferland. They thought they had the nicest lawn on the culdesac but they asked too much and now…teams have moved in different directions. (The Athletic)

LeBrun also ties Columbus to Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.

There isn’t new Artemi Panarin news to report–other than Columbus has lost five in a row, this has become a major distraction for the team and John Tortorella may lose his marbles at least one more time before this is settled. Panarin’s availability has sapped the Ferland market.

For the first time since suffering a broken leg on Oct. 13, Justin Schultz was a full participant at Penguins practice and Mike Sullivan was NOT happy with his team’s effort in practice. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

The Penguins lines should be interesting–Dominik Simon will join Jared McCann on the third line. For fans who aren’t stuck in an anti-Simon mindset, this is interesting because Simon brings chances and puck possession to every line. Something has struck me as odd–the Penguins have been non-committal about Nick Bjugstad being their third line center. Perhaps McCann and Simon can find a spark.

My cursed story

I’ve had an unfinished story sitting for weeks. I spoke with Riley Sheahan, then Zach Aston-Reese about the Penguins suddenly dominant fourth line. They opened up about the mindset and the pride they took in the shutdown role they were being given, how good the offensive surge felt–and how funny Matt Cullen can be on the bench.

No, Cullen isn’t haha funny. He gets angry when he doesn’t finish chances and Aston-Reese especially finds this amusing. I needed Cullen’s reaction to tie it all together. Or at least that’s what I wanted. As a writer, I got greedy.

The next day, ZAR broke his hand in the fight with Sceviour. Now Sheahan is in Florida.

Perhaps when ZAR returns, and the lines shake out, I’ll be able to revisit and finish the cursed story.

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