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Dan’s Daily: Penguins Debate & Analysis; Matt Murray Back on the Ice



Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes

DENVER — The Pittsburgh Penguins discussion centered with Pittsburgh Hockey Now on Saturday. Dave Molinari framed the Penguins real race, and I deconstructed president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas’s decision to wait until the NHL trade deadline to deal Guentzel and the corrosive effect it had on the season at a critical moment. Not everyone understood, but we’ll get into that. The NCAA and CHL are preparing for a major change that doesn’t sound like anything most fans would be interested in but could significantly impact a team’s control of the prospect. The Minnesota Wild dropped a pivotal game to St. Louis and are falling out of playoff contention, and John Tortorella let Sean Couturier back into the Philadelphia Flyers lineup.

I do believe a few need to re-read the Dubas critique I wrote. After this many years of you and I communicating on a daily basis, I pretty much know where the knee-jerk reactions and misunderstandings will arise, and made a point to delineate (For those of you in McKees Rocks, that means to separate clearly) the crux of the story from the potential misconception.

I’m kidding, McKees Rocks.

Also, we had a good night in Denver. The Penguins canceled the last-minute scheduled practice that was going to challenge my ability to get to the airport on time. So, an old friend who works in Denver TV met me at Tarantula Billiards & Bar, and the boys had the green light. I lost when I scratched on the eight ball. After slumming it with a few Coors Banquets, my friend dragged our growing group to a rooftop bar for some classy drinks. I liked the pool hall better, but it was good to blow off some steam.

Ok, to the hockey

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins are in a race, just not the one they think. Molinari explains the Penguins standing.

Whenever I see over 50 comments on a story, I know I’ve struck a chord. The Jake Guentzel trade was the crushing blow to the Penguins’ season. It should have been handled differently, and Dubas should have gone with his first answer. The infection killed the patient. The hotly debated Penguins trade analysis.

NHL News & National Hockey Now

Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers welcomed captain Sean Couturier back to the lineup after his exile for mediocre play. Then they beat the Bruins in Boston, a huge step for the Philadelphia Flyers playoff hopes.

NYI Hockey Now: The Islanders haven’t given up. Facing the Winnipeg Jets, they sprang to life, and the New York Islanders are still in it.

TSN: Here is some good news that I think a few of you will be glad to see. Matt Murray is back on the ice after bilateral hip surgery in October. He’s a ways away from returning, but it’s a big first step.

Sportsnet: It’s former Penguins goalie day. Ian MacIntyre writes that some guy named Casey DeSmith is providing stability for the Vancouver Canucks while Thatcher Demko is injured.

Good on Casey.

Ottawa Sun: Bruce Garrioch looks at five candidates for the Senators coaching vacancy. Some interesting names, including Craig Berube.

Nashville Hockey Now: Good lord, points in 17 straight. Since Andrew Brunette canceled the team trip to see U2 at the Sphere, they haven’t lost in regulation. The Nashville Predators are pushing Brunette for the Jack Adams. This one hurt the Minnesota Wild. St. Louis forward Kasperi Kapanen beat Marc-Andre Fleury for the overtime winner. Minnesota now trails St. Louis by two points and the Golden Knights by five after losing on Saturday.

And today is a good day to watch the Penguins game: