The NHL trade wheel landed on the Ottawa Senators this week. They won’t be selling the kids, but they want true pros to help out the kids. Pittsburgh Hockey Now put up a couple of full-length, meaty Pittsburgh Penguins stories on Erik Karlsson’s difficult fit with the team and some unvarnished honesty about how tough it is for young players to break into the NHL lineup and why. The Washington Capitals squeaked out a last-minute win over the LA Kings, and the now-best team in the NHL has long-shot Stanley Cup odds.
The stars aligned yesterday in the Penguins dressing room. I’ve worked on a couple of stories this season that I thought would be really interesting, but the boys gave me nothing. Nada. Zip. Sunday, I felt like everyone I asked opened up, including coach Mike Sullivan, who gave me a more than two-minute answer.
I felt like I did my job pretty well Sunday. I also got a solid six hours of sleep and then stole a seventh. Of course, the fates are punishing me today — after wrapping live TV at 12:30 a.m., I drove straight to Philadelphia to be here for the morning skate. I won’t lie, the last 15 miles were a fight against myself.
There will be better writers, better-looking people on TV, and radio folks with better voices and personalities, so us B-listers have to outwork them. I’m happy to be a fourth-line grinder!
PHN+: Does Erik Karlsson fit in with the team? Even coach Mike Sullivan had a reserved answer. Molinari didn’t soft-peddle his analysis of the Penguins roster.
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Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Mike Sullivan hates young players? Nah, but the NHL doesn’t make it easy for the youngsters. Why haven’t more young players broken into the lineup? The guys who have, and one guy trying to get there, opened up about why it’s so difficult to stick in the NHL and the Penguins lineup.
Steelers Now: The Pittsburgh Steelers lost T.J. Watt, but they made the playoffs. More from our Steelers experts.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now
Sportsnet: Hockey Night in Canada Headlines. Reilly Smith’s brother broke Connor Bedard’s jaw. Alex Nylander’s brother is about to get P-A-I-D. And the Ottawa Senators are chumming the NHL trade market for rock-ribbed veterans.
New Jersey Hockey Now: Saturday was rough for the NJD. They lost Jack Hughes, and they’re down more defensemen. James Nichols scoured the league- the best fits and most feasible defensemen available on the NHL trade block.
Boston Hockey Now: We’ll give some love to Brad Marchand after he shoveled it toward Sidney Crosby this week. As Mick Colageo writes, the Boston Bruins have their own Die Hard.
Philly Hockey Now: It’s not often a Flyer is mentioned in the same breath as Mario Lemieux, but Travis Konecny is putting up stats in one category that has him in rare company for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Tonight’s Penguins game at the Wells Fargo (I miss the days when it was the First Union Center — playing at the FU Center was hilariously perfect for Flyers fans) is a big deal for the Penguins. They lost an OT game and a shootout to the Flyers last month. The Penguins must show they can hustle and work with the grittiest team in the league.
I suspect the Penguins’ newfound love of the greasy areas and playing around the net will serve them well, but the Flyers will make them work for every bit of ice. Let’s see what they’ve got, eh?