Dan’s Daily: Penguins Get Lots of Playoff Help, Bonino was Hospitalized
The Pittsburgh Penguins probably could not have asked for a better night on the scoreboard. As they pulled away in the final five minutes against the white flag-waving Philadelphia Flyers, the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators, and Buffalo Sabres lost. The Eastern Conference wild-card race looks much different Sunday morning. Also in the Daily, Nick Bonino was released from the hospital Saturday, there’s a favorite for the Flyers GM job, Marc-Andre Fleury stops 35 for another robbery, Rick Tocchet is having a big impact on the Vancouver Canucks, and the latest Connor Bedard odds.
The Penguins are currently in the top wild-card spot.
I hope you all enjoyed the Pittsburgh St. Paddy’s day parade and the following revelry. I suppose it was good that I had to work all weekend. It kept me out of trouble! It seemed like a “chill” celebration this year. Even the folks on the T on the way to the game were well-behaved, though I wondered about so many people wearing shorts. Yinzer dudes in jean shorts, well, that’s a year-round occurrence whether it is minus-20 or 95 degrees. But ladies, too?
I was the dork in a heavy wool coat and earmuffs. Yeah, I wore earmuffs for the walk. I’m getting soft.
There were also a pair of large red-shouldered hawks perched outside my house as I left for the game. Those bad boys were impressive, but let’s get to the hockey.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: It was ugly. It was close, at least until the last five minutes. Dave Molinari’s Penguins recap.
Some bad news, Nick Bonino was hospitalized Thursday night and not released until Saturday because he suffered a lacerated kidney. He will be out week to week. Penguins injury news.
After the game, go inside the Penguins’ locker room with the stories and raw video. Casey DeSmith admitted that was one of the worst goals he’s given up, and Jason Zucker seems to like Alex Nylander.
My postgame analysis was a bit debated. I could not shake the feeling that the Penguins were bad on Saturday. And that’s not good enough with their playoff hopes tenuously in hand. Who will change things? Penguins analysis.
I was a bit nicer in my Penguins Q&A video. What about Alex Nylander and his future, coach Mike Sullivan’s new Penguins lines, and Sidney Crosby’s one-timers? From PPG Paints Arena — the Penguins Q&A.
Now to the playoffs:
Penguins Playoff Race, NHL News, & National Hockey Now:
NYI Hockey Now: It isn’t often Penguins fans should root for a Capitals win, but the Ovechkin crew gave the Penguins some help Saturday and put away the New York Islanders 5-1.
The Penguins and Islanders are tied with 76 points, but the Penguins have three games in hand, so the Penguins currently have the top wild card (which would mean a playoff date with Carolina).
Washington Hockey Now: From the flip side, it is the last gasp. It’s go-time. Now or never, for them to get back in the playoff race. They also kicked off their version of the Dads Trip with a Mentors Trip. The takeaways from Washington Capitals’ win.
Yeah, best to make the Mentor’s Trip well before or after the NHL trade deadline. Teams seem to play really well during these trips, but I was told there is a limit in the CBA for the number of games for dads or mentors. I can’t independently confirm that, mostly because I won’t be reading the entire CBA.
Sportsnet: The Vancouver Canucks trounced the Ottawa Senators, 5-2. Thank you very much. It’s a double-edged sword. Rick Tocchet has the Canucks playing honest, good hockey. Yet they’re losing out on their chance to win Connor Bedard. Sophie’s choice, I guess. More from Vancouver.
National Hockey Now hopes to resurrect Vancouver Hockey Now. We had that unfortunate situation at the beginning of the season, but those efforts to revive VHN will happen later this spring or summer.
WGR: The New York Rangers are seven points ahead of the Penguins for third place. They gave the Penguins some real help and beat the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1. in OT. Buffalo gets a point, but is seven back. As Buffalo media stalwart Paul Hamilton notes, Igor Shesterkin stole one from Buffalo.
We’ll be using WGR for our Buffalo news from now on, but suggestions are appreciated. The Buffalo News is entirely subscription-based.
Florida Hockey Now: The Winnipeg Jets blunted the Panthers’ hot streak with a thumping 5-4 win in OT. Florida gets a point to remain three back of the Penguins, but with two more games played. Penalties continue to hamper the Florida Panthers.
Boston Hockey Now: The Bruins just got past the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2. They’re the fastest NHL team EVER to get to 50 wins. The Boston Bruins are pretty good.
Montreal Hockey Now: The New Jersey Devils beat the Canadiens, 3-1. And Montreal Canadiens fans are happy.
They can taste the lottery win and selecting Connor Bedard. I’m sure we’ll talk about this after the season, but the NHL brass has to be praying that Bedard goes to a big market or popular team, even a market with lots of potential like Columbus. If Bedard wound up with a team that doesn’t have a fanbase like Anaheim, Arizona, or Philadelphia … (I kid, I kid).
Sportsnet: There is a favorite for the Flyers GM post; it’s the interim GM. Also, will Carter Hart be part of the Flyers rebuild? Significant wondering from 32 Thoughts.
Heinen should be up on the second line and Nylander on the Fourth.
Heinen should be on the 2nd line in Wilksbury-Stanton.
Another delusional Pens fan. Heinen should be eating churros in WBS
Heinen is the worst player on the team. He should be waived and sent to WBS. He’s soft, plays with no intelligence (i.e. too many men on ice penalty against the Flyers) and he’s a defensive liability. Get rid of the empty uniform already.
In Pittsburgh, if you aren’t an easy top 3 Stanley Cup contender then you just completely suck and should stop trying, fold up the cards, and rebuild.
I don’t think like that because I’ve followed The Pens all of their seasons. I remember being in the Igloo when so few fans were there you could actually hear the players yelling at each other. So I appreciate a contender even if their not top 3.
I remember getting beat by the Islanders in 1993. I remember paying $20 for a ticket and being able to sit wherever you wanted because the place was half empty. I remember where I was when we won the Crosby lottery.
Seems like most people started being fans in 2008.. You could go be a fan of any other team in the league since 2008 and have a much worse time.