The belle of the NHL trade ball for two years may again find himself back in the rumors. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ position is rapidly improving. There are things to like and a few to hate about the Penguins’ spot. Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas tamped down Jake Guentzel trade talk, and Dave Molinari examined the issue from all angles. The Tampa Bay Lightning are hot, and the Philadelphia Flyers are red hot, as both are charging upward in the standings. And Sportsnet did an interesting look at what the NHL standings would look like if the league went to the 3-2-1 points system the Women’s hockey league is using.
The Penguins unexpectedly canceled practice on Thursday, which left me with an unplanned day in Vegas. I know my way around this place pretty well, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Thoughts of the Grand Canyon or Area 51 danced in my head, but ultimately, I decided I was too tired for five or six hours in the car, so I did what I do best — explore a city on foot. A few dollar-drink specials and a double-decker bus took me to Tony Roma’s for a $10 prime rib.
The waitress cautioned me the horseradish was spicy. Damn, she was right. The first bite had a good dollop, and my eyes bulged. Despite being on Freemont at least a dozen times looking for cheap eats, I’ve never been able to get into Tony Roma’s between 4:30 and 6:30 for the special, but I’m glad I did. I followed it up with a little treat. Which one would you pick?
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Dubas used his radio show to flatly deny there have been anything resembling trade talks regarding Guentzel. However, he didn’t close the door to the notion that a Penguins trade could happen.
PHN+: Molinari put the situation under the microscope. The reasons to and reasons not to trade Jake Guentzel.
The team is on the cusp of a playoff spot. After a few weeks of winning, there are several things to like, but still some things to hate about the Penguins roster.
Steelers Now: Mike Tomlin quickly apologized for storming off the podium Monday. More importantly, he laid out his vision for the offseason, the new offensive coordinator, and the next Steelers QB.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now
Ottawa Sun: Bruce Garrioch reports that Vladimir Tarasenko will be asked to waive his no-movement clause, and 25-year-old defenseman Jakob Chychrun may again be on the NHL trade block. More specifically, teams are calling about Chychrun, and Ottawa is listening.
Given Penguins coach Mike Sullivan’s reported interest in Chychrun when Arizona had him on the block for nearly two years, one wonders if Dubas has picked up the phone.
Sportsnet: The Penguins would be the top wild card team if the NHL adopted the 3-2-1 scoring system the PWHL is using. There are some interesting flips, and deservedly so.
NHL.com: We’ll start with the second wild-card spot. Tampa Bay has won four in a row, and Victor Hedman is appearing on the score sheet often. Tampa beat Minnesota handily.
WaPo: Checking in on the Capitals (until we find the right reporter for Washington Hockey Now), T.J. Oshie had a hat trick, and the Capitals, despite a horrid goal-differential, kept pace in the playoff chase, beating the St. Louis Blues.
Philly Hockey Now: Morgan Frost had a game. Owen Tippet has been filling the net. The Dallas Stars were no match as the Philadelphia Flyers won their fifth in a row.
Watch this goal — Tipped went coast to coast and scored a vintage spin-o-rama goal.
— Flyers Clips (@Flyers_Clips) January 19, 2024
ESPN: Minnesota’s path back to playoff contention got a little tougher. Captain Jared Spurgeon will miss the rest of the season after back and hip surgery.
Sportsnet Edmonton: “I’m trying to get a hat trick!” Warren Foegele got tossed near the end of the game, but Edmonton had a commanding lead. Edmonton has won 12 in a row. That’s one way to erase a terrible start, eh?
Boston Hockey Now: The boys at Spittin’ Chiclets were talking about it. Patrice Bergeron is skating. Could he make one more return? Jimmy Murphy checked with some sources and grabbed a bucket of cold water on a Boston Bruins return.