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Dan’s Daily: Penguins Are Actually Good, Coyotes Could be Forced to Move



Pittsburgh Penguins, Jake Guentzel

The Pittsburgh Penguins remembered they were actually a good team, but I took them to the woodshed before their win for that very inconsistency. The Florida Panthers kept pace with the Penguins by winning, Nic Deslauriers gave a couple of beatings, and the Buffalo Sabres might have a legit goalie down the stretch if their top prospect pans out. Lastly, the new head of the NHLPA spotlighted the Arizona Coyotes’ unacceptable situation, indirectly signaling the players union could force a move if Tempe doesn’t build an arena.

New NHLPA head Marty Walsh potentially getting tough on Arizona is music to my ears. Having been to the college arena, I know it’s a good location, and the people were incredibly friendly, but the place was unacceptable by NHL standards. The “press box” was akin to the standing-room counter in the corner of PPG Paints Arena. The media room was a large copier room. Practice was 20 miles out of town at a little public rink without legit locker rooms or facilities.

And you might find this funny or incredibly awkward. The good arena folks in Arizona really didn’t know what was happening. After the game, I waited for the elevator to the separate annex with the visitors’ locker room. The genuinely kind usher informed me the elevator was being held for VIPs. OK, I’m certainly not one, but the person standing beside me was Brian Burke. As I tried to signal to the woman with a subtle head tilt, THIS was the VIP (“that’s the president of the Penguins,” I whispered to her, trying to help), but she directed us down three flights of public stairs … to a door locked from the other side.

It all felt, at best, inconvenient, if not entirely inadequate. I can’t imagine how great the disparity of facilities of a 5,000-seat college arena for the home team compared to real NHL arenas.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: This could be interesting — with his season over, the Penguins recalled first-round pick Owen Pickering to the WBS Penguins.

Nature gone wild! The Penguins blanketed the Nashville Predators. Dave Molinari’s Penguins recap.

Jason Zucker owes Brian Dumoulin a bottle of wine for that slick toe-drag pass. The boys had a good laugh. Go inside the Penguins’ locker room.

PHN+: The Penguins report card. I really enjoyed writing this one–Nashville trapped. The Penguins had a counter. It was a fun Xs and Os game with clear lines, standout performances, and big smiles. Penguins report card.

It was tough writing this one, but brutally honest. Thursday, I wrote one of those columns. Regardless if the Penguins make the playoffs, the totality of this season has not been good enough. Too little intensity, too much inconsistency, and far too much underachievement. The Penguins need gale-force fresh air for next season. Clean house. Read on — Penguins opinion.

Penguins Playoff Chase, NHL News & National Hockey Now:

Florida Hockey Now: The Florida Panthers handled business in Montreal, 5-2.

Florida remains one point behind the Penguins, who have one game in hand.

George Richards has an interesting and legit take. Mathew Tkachuk should get consideration for the Hart Trophy.

In fairness, the race is for second behind Connor McDavid, who scored his 61st goal Thursday as Edmonton squashed the LA Kings.

Sportsnet: The Buffalo Sabres need a goalie. That’s been their biggest impediment. They might just have one as 21-year-old prospect Dylan Levi makes his NHL debut tonight against the Rangers.

Buffalo has two games in hand on the Penguins and could close to within three points.

Montreal Hockey Now: Logan Cooley was nominated for the Hobey Baker, but Lane Hutson was a huge snub.

Austin Watson is a tough guy. Nic Deslauriers is the best fighter going. Ouch.

If the Penguins make the playoffs, their probable opponent is the Boston Bruins, who beat Columbus 2-1 to claim the Presidents’ Trophy. Also, it became fight night in Boston, too. A couple of fights and one knockout for the Bruins.

And here is the full coverage of new NHLPA head Marty Walsh’s presser, including salary cap negotiations and him putting Arizona on notice.

I think the NHLPA might have gotten this hire correct.