The game of musical chairs will be over soon, and it seems a few NHL free agents could find themselves standing while Miss Patty pulls the needle off the record. Evan Rodrigues reportedly has a great deal of interest but no contract. A top Russian coach wants Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin to come home. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took aim at Hockey Canada after a summer of sexual assault allegations against the WJC teams and secret accounts to pay off victims. The Minnesota Wild executed a salary dump on the NHL trade market, and PHN dove into the historical significance of Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan.
After I wrote about Sullivan on Wednesday, my phone rang at 8 p.m. last night. I saw the caller ID and thought this should be interesting. A former player wanted to share more. So, we’ll have more about Sullivan and why the player compared him to Bill Belichick … though Sullivan dresses far better and has pretty good taste in watches. I think you can take my word for the last part.
Pittsburgh Penguins / Sports Now Group PGH
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Mike Sullivan is under contract for five more seasons. His three-year extension begins in two seasons, and it seems Sullivan is tied to the Penguins’ core like Phil Jackson was to Jordan and Pippen. Sullivan deserves real credit for changing the game and could finish among the great coaches of all time. Here’s why. Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins’ preseason games will be viewable online, with a couple of them on TV. Also — The free game for kids! Penguins schedule.
The first time the Penguins did the free game for kids, I was turned off, but I’m a curmudgeon. I’ve come to look forward to the high-pitched chatter, popcorn bucket hats, laughter, and innocent enthusiasm of the game. It’s the best game at PPG all season.
Steelers Now: The Steelers signed eight to the practice squad, including Anthony McFarland Jr. and John Leglue. Steelers Practice Squad.
TJ Watt is fine. His knee is good. No hard feelings for the low block that was both legal and dangerous. Pittsburgh Steelers.
There’s a TON of Steelers news. Visit SteelersNow.com.
Pittsburgh Baseball Now: First-round pick Termarr Johnson raked on Wednesday. Three hits and things are looking up. Full daily report on the Pirates prospects.
NHL Trade, News & National Hockey Now
Washington Hockey Now: Great find by Sammi Silber — At least one top Russian coach is angry the country and KHL have not done more to keep Russian players and to bring players like Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin home.
TSN: The Minnesota Wild were able to dump over $5 million in salary when they traded defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to Anaheim for…nothing. The ol’ future considerations bit. That’s the cost of moving salary on the NHL trade market.
Sportsnet: I had lunch with a serious hockey fan on Wednesday. I think many people are shocked by the behaviors of junior hockey players who played for Team Canada. I knew the hockey culture had permissive views on sexual conduct, but Team Canada’s behavior shocked even me. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took direct aim at Hockey Canada on Wednesday.
Philly Hockey Now: Scott Laughton says the Flyers needed a kickass coach like John Tortorella.
Vancouver Hockey Now: P.K. Subban. A PTO? How about the Vancouver Canucks?
ESPN: And there are reportedly seven or eight teams interested in former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evan Rodrigues. But no contract yet. The latest from Greg Wyshinski on the little engine that could.