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Dan’s Daily: Zucker on Trade Block; Suggested Penguins Changes



NHL trade talk, Jason Zucker. Pittsburgh Penguins analysis.

That was definitely one of the most entertaining games of the season to watch, and all’s well that ends well, as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 7-6 at PPG Paints Arena. For those of you not old enough to remember the wild, unhinged salad days of the 1980s hockey, that was pretty close. The Penguins now control their playoff destiny, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t make changes. Also in the Daily, the Arizona Coyotes are ready to sell off pieces on the NHL trade market, including Jason Zucker, and an amazing poetic moment as Patrick Kane scored the game-winner in his return to Chicago.

I must confess that today, PHN’s reigning Ironman streak will end. The Penguins practice at 11:30 a.m. in Vancouver. The earliest flight arrival is about 11:30 a.m., and I just couldn’t make the flight situation work to get there in time. We’ll miss our first practice/skate/game since we earned full-beat status at the end of the 2021-22 NHL season. We were the only outlet to be able to make that claim, but now we must begin a new one. I knew it was important that both Dave and I cover the game yesterday–though the locker room was hurried to catch their flight, and I can’t say we got many interesting quotes.

The best moment in the Penguins’ room yesterday was just after the cameras turned off and Drew O’Connor realized he used a Mike Sullivan expression. He jokingly gave an exaggerated eye-roll to himself, and we asked if there was a “Sully jar” he had to put a dollar in.

O’Connor is a good kid. This goal-scoring run isn’t bad for his confidence, either. He did the same last March. I’ll cover him fairly either way, but if he happens to break out, you’ll find it easy to root for him.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: We’ll lead with the biggest story and the wildest game of the year. That had everything but fights as the Penguins squandered leads, dug deep, scored pretty goals, gave up ugly goals, scored ugly goals, and everyone tried to catch their breath. Get Dave Molinari’s Penguins recap.

On the flip side, I loved our Philly colleague Jon Bailey’s headline. Flyers’ Takeaways: Defense and Goaltending Optional in Flyers Loss.

We tried to analyze the game and deliver some compelling points of what happened. The Penguins’ scheme had a lot right, and they were gritty, too But, those mistakes. Mistakes, chaos, and playoff hope. Get the Penguins report card.

Dave Molinari went first with the analysis last night. The six-pack notes a few of the unheralded performances lost in the shuffle, including Jansen Harkins and Rickard Rakell. The Penguins six pack.

As Paul Zeise humorously pointed out last night on WPXI’s Final Word, Sidney Crosby and Cal Petersen were the Penguins’ best players.

Now, before the game, I threw some elbows with my analysis. The Penguins do control their playoff destiny again, but they’re also out of time to keep “figuring it out.” It’s time to take away jobs in the Penguins lineup.

NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now

Once again, Jim Rutherford is a lap ahead of the NHL trading frenzy. Realize he got Elias Lindholm about a month ago and not much has happened since. Oh by the way, the Canucks director of player personnel (Scott Young) was at the Penguins-Flyers game Sunday. He noticed me looking at him quizzically (trying to remember where I knew him from). I won’t tell you the media members who said they’d never seen him before only to recoil when I told them. We talked to the guy every July for five seasons or so after the rookie camps.

The Athletic ($): The Arizona Coyotes are going to sell, sell, sell. That includes Jason Zucker, as the desert dogs without a home are again rebuilding and looking for assets.

Detroit Hockey Now: The win hurts the Penguins a bit, but they’re not going to catch the Red Wings. It was a made-for-TV moment as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks, and long-time Blackhawk Patrick Kane scored the dramatic winner in overtime.

Chicago Hockey Now: There were plenty of parallels. Connor Bedard. Kane. Nate Brown was struck by the interesting old-meets-new spectacle surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks.

New Jersey Hockey Now: After a modest lash-out at the media and Devils fans again clamoring for his job, Lindy Ruff took full responsibility for the New Jersey Devils’ struggles.

As part of Tampa Bay beating the Devils Sunday, Nikita Kucherov became the first player to reach 100 points this season. He is pretty, pretty good. I hate that every time a player hits a milestone, they become the Hart Trophy favorite. I love Kucherov’s game, but I don’t necessarily think he’s an MVP in the same vein as Nathan MacKinnon. That’s my .02.