WASHINGTON, D.C. — The old guard flexed its muscle, and Pittsburgh Penguins fans sang on the steps. For a moment, it felt like the age when Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were locked in a mortal struggle with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals for supremacy of the Eastern Conference, at least until a Capitals fan from the last row filled the quiet third period with, “C’mon, give us a reason to stay!” We’ve got full coverage and analysis from D.C. Also in the Daily, Pittsburgh native Logan Cooley flexed his muscles in his NHL debut with a pair of apples. Devan Toews got paid, Shane Pinto left Ottawa, and Ryan Reaves wants a rematch fight against Arber Xhekaj.
I’ve got a couple of columns from last night’s Penguins’ beatdown on the Capitals, but I’m also hustling back for tonight’s game against the Calgary Flames. Maybe I’ll get to squeeze in lunch with my new friends in Cumberland, Md.?
Coach Mike Sullivan’s response to a softball question about the fourth line was fascinating. What he meant as a compliment or a positive spin on a negative, I think, will only feed the fire around Jeff Carter. I decided to keep the report card free because of that comment, and because of travel, I don’t have time to write about Jansen Harkins’s game-changing play separately. So, it’s all in the Report Card!
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: From Kris Letang’s new role to Jansen Harkin’s potential and the team’s power-play wrinkle that I thought would help (and it really did). The Penguins one-timers.
Sometimes, I really get it right?
Postgame: The institution of Penguins media — the Dave Molinari postgame. In Washington, it was all Penguins after the first period in a 4-0 Penguins win.
Postgame analysis: The game-changing play, Sullivan’s comments on the fourth line, and my rosy and some not-so-good player grades in the Penguins report card.
Just remember our Jeff Carter truce. I don’t get input into the lineup, and … the Penguins don’t have another forward on the roster.
Washington Hockey Now: From the flip side, the Capitals coach wasn’t very happy after the loss. The Spencer Carberry and the quotables from the Capitals locker room.
People in Cleveland are worried. I think it will help them. The Browns could be without Deshaun Watson for a few weeks.
A former NFL GM proposed the Steelers trade for Kirk Cousins.
At the same time, Mason Rudolph is being mentioned as a Steelers trade chip.
Here’s the million-dollar question: Would the offense improve if the Steelers fire Matt Canada?
Pittsburgh Baseball Now:
From John Perrotto, size matters for the 2023 Pirates rookies.
And from the Arizona Fall League, Jack Brannigan is whiffling a lot. Who’s doing well, and who isn’t? The Pirates Prospect Watch.
NHL News & National Hockey Now:
NHL.com: “When you step on the ice, you ‘re a little bit nervous … you don’t want to fall,” said Logan Cooley. The Pittsburgh kid had a night and was the story as Arizona beat the Devils in New Jersey.
New Jersey Hockey Now: From the New Jersey side, the Devils got a point from the shootout, but the speedy black-and-red are not playing well … at all. From James Nichols, the Devils takeaways.
Sportsnet: Rematch challenge. Ryan Reaves tells Arber Xhekaj, come on back now if you ever want to try again. I told you once, you son of a … I’m the best that’s ever been.
I don’t think they’ll be fighting for a fiddle of gold.
Boston Hockey Now: Future(?) Mike Sullivan son-in-law, Charlie McAvoy, got heavy praise from Bruins president Cam Neely. The Boston Bruins news.
NYI Hockey Now: Prospect Simon Holmstrom is getting a big chance. Actually, it doesn’t get much bigger than skating on the top line with Horvat and Barzal for the New York Islanders.
Colorado Hockey Now: Show me the money! Devon Toews got a nice payday from the Colorado Avalanche.
TSN: This is good news for the Penguins. Shane Pinto, still without a contract for the Ottawa Senators, packed up and left Ottawa.