WINNIPEG, Manitoba — It was amusing, even through the chaos of “seat of your pants” practice. The Pittsburgh Penguins rolled into the Winnipeg Jets practice facility on the outskirts of town to find a small locker room and a bustling youth tournament. The kids lined the runway to the rink like an Oscars red carpet. The boys couldn’t help but get pumped up, and the practice reflected it. We’ve got full coverage in the Daily. Also, Jacob Chychrun is finally set to return from injury, spurring a new round of NHL trade rumors. And the Montreal Canadiens are being heavily scouted, not by traveling scouts but by executives, which usually means real NHL trade chatter.
I want to tell you how much this gig and your trust mean to me. Because there were no timely flights, I drove overnight from St. Paul to Winnipeg through snow, wind, biting cold, and gas station sausage muffins. It was the same landscape for eight hours; a perfectly straight highway with no picturesque landscapes, just flat land and snow as far as I could see. I usually enjoy an impossible challenge. This was no different, as I arrived in Winnipeg just minutes before the Penguins’ 1 p.m. practice.
We’re a little insane at PHN. I mean, to start an independent writing outlet without financial backing or tens of thousands of Twitter followers is nuts, but we did. And then to start 15 more across the country. Insanity. And you’ve rewarded us. I hope the exclusive practice coverage yesterday was a little token of my respect for the job.
I am humbled by all of the new subscribers. Welcome aboard!
Pittsburgh Penguins / Steelers, Pirates
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The practice report. Lines, pairings, special teams, and reactions to the unique situation. Pittsburgh Penguins practice.
PHN+ Free preview: I hope you’ll subscribe to PHN+ for an ad-free experience and exclusive content. Locker room notes from this road trip which is off to a winning, if not uneven, start. What Mike Sullivan wants to improve and which Penguins forward was all smiles Thursday night. Penguins notebook.
- Minkah Fitzpatrick is cleared to play!
- The Steelers have moved the ball more effectively with Kenny Pickett but have not put up enough points. What’s the next step for the Steelers offense?
Pittsburgh Baseball Now:
- The Pittsburgh Pirates tendered contracts to five players, including Kevin Newman.
- Then … dealt Kevin Newman to the Reds. Full details on the Pirates trade.
*Sigh. Looks like they got a four-A pitcher. Read up on the deal above.
NHL Trade, News, & National Hockey Now:
Montreal Hockey Now: Our boys in Montreal are laying waste to the hockey coverage landscape up there. They’ve surged about a million readers per month — because they notice the little things. The bigwigs, not traveling pro scouts, are scouting the Montreal Canadiens.
Washington Hockey Now: Bo Horvat. Capitals. It’s out there, and even Elliotte Friedman thinks there have been talks. More Washington Capitals trade chatter.
TSN: Hello Jacob Chychrun. Hello, NHL trade chatter, rumors, and requests.
I’d make a deal for Erik Karlsson work before I overpaid for Chychrun, but that’s why I don’t run an NHL team.
NYI Hockey Now: They’re winning but patching holes on Long Island (though it’s now closer to Queens, I think?). Josh Bailey is getting press box nachos and the coach is shortening his bench in the second period. There are issues with the New York Islanders lineup.
Philly: Flyers regret. They could have taken Cole Caufield twice. They passed. The jury is out, but it doesn’t look good as criticism mounts against Chuck Fletcher and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Hockey Wilderness: The Wild placed former 10th overall pick Tyson Jost, on waivers.
I know a lot of you “assume” when you begin rebuilding that winning follows in three years. Get high draft picks! I hear it all the time, but there are many more guys who barely pan out, or don’t at all, than become elite players.
TSN: Can someone, anyone, beat the New Jersey Devils?!
Side note, not all markets are big enough for a Hockey Now outlet. We had a young writer call and email us every few months, pushing for a New Jersey Hockey Now. So, we took him up on it, explained the financial limitations of the small market with his expected compensation levels … and we never heard from him again.