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Dan’s Daily: Caps Choke; Tortorella Ripped; Penguins Future



Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin, Mike Sullivan

The Pittsburgh Penguins did not lose ground in the Stanley Cup playoff race Wednesday as the Washington Capitals had their hats fed to them on home ice by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Whoops. I broached the subject of Penguins coach Mike Sullivan and his future. It was a heavy read that shined a light on everything as well as I could, good and bad. In the NHL news, GMs unsurprisingly elected to punt the issue of salary cap circumvention via LTIR rules, but the Arizona Coyotes remain in limbo.

OK, since we’re coming to the end of the runway on this season and perhaps my time in Pittsburgh (it’s 60-40 in favor of staying, but the network needs me elsewhere, too), I’m going to be a little more honest than I should. For somewhat selfish reasons, I’m absolutely rooting for the Penguins to rally themselves and make the playoffs, or at least make a valiant effort to get there. I root for good stories, and what a comeback that would be. It’s also hard to be around Sidney Crosby every day and not root for the guy. I want to cover that story and not a dreary stretch of irrelevant hockey.

Also, my favorite competitors were again busted ripping us off and using our unique headline almost verbatim. It wouldn’t be too bad if they admitted they were a fan blog. I know many of you are sophisticated enough to know the difference, but it bears noting publicly. Repeated violations aren’t acceptable.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: There’s a full accounting here, and I didn’t broach the topic lightly. I didn’t advocate an action, but there are tough questions facing Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. A big chance to move into a playoff spot on home ice, and the Toronto Maple Leafs blew out the Washington Capitals, wasting the Caps’ game in hand.

The Penguins still trail Detroit by seven points with one game in hand.

NHL News & National Hockey Now

Philly Hockey Now: Not everyone is a fan of “Tort’s” tactics in Philadelphia. Longtime Tortorella player and Sidney Crosby cross-checker Brandon Dubinsky wasn’t happy the Philadelphia Flyers scratched captain Sean Couturier. He directly called out John Tortorella on X.

New Jersey Hockey Now: Alexander Holtz has been a prospect on the way for a couple of years. He’s finally breaking through, and coach Travis Green is rewarding the kid who scored the backbreaker against the Penguins. The New Jersey Devils news.

Sportsnet: The Arizona Coyotes. Or the SLC Coyotes? Houston? But hey, the Coyotes ownership might win an auction and might get to build an arena in the next five years, or they might not. Or they might get caught in bureaucratic red tape, environmental testing, remediation, public comment, lawsuits after public comment … you know the drill. Yet the NHL is giving the Coyotes a chance to stay, maybe.

Eric Engels is covering the GM meetings and reports the NHL’s LTIR rules will remain the same … for now.

This issue doesn’t seem too complicated. You cannot ice a team over the salary cap in the playoffs. Players can be on the roster but not play. Maybe force teams to submit a series roster, and players cannot be activated without placing another on IR. You can have 10 injuries as Toronto did a few years ago, sign and trade for 10 players, but when the playoffs come, you can’t have a $100 million team on the ice. Problem solved.

TSN: T.J. Brodie’s game has gone sideways for Toronto. So, on Wednesday, coach Sheldon Keefe served him some press box nachos to clear his head. Another high-profile scratch.

Detroit Hockey Now: The Red Wings have been snoozers at puck drop. Life is difficult when you’re always trailing and it has become a key issue during the Detroit Red Wings slide.