Time or fate has a funny way of upending what everyone thought they knew. The Pittsburgh Penguins goalie situation is now the envy of many while several good teams are scrambling to find someone, anyone, who can stop the puck. The Toronto Maple Leafs are the latest team to suffer a goalie meltdown, and it’s costing them games. The New Jersey Devils hoped for a spark by recalling their AHL goalie and got it. The latest updates on the Penguins’ injuries, including Bryan Rust’s, were quite positive, and Evgeni Malkin held court in the Penguins’ locker room.
The Penguins games will dominate my “New Year’s” weekend, and I’ll leave the parties to the amateurs, but I think I discovered an errant gift. I purchased four filet mignons for a friend and his family. At the same time, I purchased some cheap strip steaks to treat myself this week. However, upon unwrapping the steak for dinner last night, I’m pretty sure the butcher switched the labels, and my friends got the cheapo steaks.
Do I tell them and laugh at them? Do I re-deliver what’s left of the good ones? Or do I shut up and enjoy the mistake?
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: It’s been eight years since Mike Sullivan assumed control of the Penguins’ bench. No one really knew who he was or what to expect. Who is this guy who coached the Bruins 10 years ago? Sullivan opened up on that experience, “I was scared to death.” Shelly Anderson wrote a great one about the Penguins coach.
Penguins practice featured a little surprise. Not only was Jesse Puljujarvi back on the ice as a full participant, but so, too, was Bryan Rust. Here’s the latest Puljujarvi update and more on the Penguins’ injuries.
I like Evgeni Malkin. That doesn’t mean I won’t criticize when necessary, but has a great player ever been so overlooked or put down? Malkin was asked about that, as well as passing his idol, Sergei Federov, and the chirps he received via text from Alex Ovechkin. Friday was the full Evgeni Malkin.
I made a video recording of the Malkin interview so that you can watch it, too.
NHL News & National Hockey Now
Sportsnet: There were many reactions to choose from, but we chose our friends at Sportsnet. Ilya Samsonov is suffering a meltdown in the net. The Toronto media are calling for his demotion, and it came to a head Friday in the Columbus Blue Jackets comeback win over Toronto. The Maple Leafs need a goalie.
Josh Rowntree asked me an interesting question during my guest spot on 93-7 the Fan last night. Is Alex Nedeljkovic giving the Penguins what they expected? My longer answer was no, that no one could expect his reclamation, just as Toronto and others couldn’t expect Samsonov to crater. The goalie position is becoming increasingly difficult to predict. I think I’ll write more on that today…
New Jersey Hockey Now: Directly affecting the Penguins — the Devils recalled goalie Nico Daws and sent Akira Schmid to the AHL, hoping to find someone to provide a little goaltending spark. They got it, and they thumped Ottawa. The New Jersey Devils looked really good.
Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers are off to a hot start out west, but they lost in OT to Seattle, 2-1. Justin Schultz scored the game-winner. Even so, John Tortorella wasn’t unhappy with his scrappy Philadelphia Flyers.
NYI Hockey Now: Fresh from their 7-0 drubbing by the Penguins, the Islanders kicked some butt on Friday night, beating the Washington Capitals 5-1. It was an impressive New York Islanders rebound.
TSN: Former Washington Capitals player Reggie Savage lost his battle with cancer this week. He was 53.
Nashville Hockey Now: Tyson Barrie continues to seek a trade. The offensive defenseman is curiously stuck in Nashville. How would a Barrie trade financially affect the Nashville Predators?