The Pittsburgh Penguins are the horse charging on the outside for a playoff spot, while the Detroit Red Wings are quickly falling behind the pack. We dug into several aspects of the Penguins’ recent turnaround while the Red Wings’ recently signed Patrick Kane hit the NHL trade rumors. Also in the Daily, are the Philadelphia Flyers ready to fall back to the pack? Bruins fans are split on the idea of bringing back Phil Kessel. Toronto media is buzzing about the 6-foot-7 goalie prospect the Maple Leafs recalled to replace the cratering Ilya Samsonov, and Bruce Garrioch raised big questions for the future of the Ottawa Senators’ young core.
It should be a lively Penguins’ morning skate. Monday was an off day, but three games in four days combined with the holiday and hard-fought wins over the New York Islanders means tonight’s game against the Washington Capitals has all of the earmarks for a classic letdown.
I’m anxious to see the Capitals in person again. I was not impressed back in October. They have a minus-18 goal differential, yet they’re winning games. Let’s have a look, eh?
Also, for your binge-watching needs, I enjoyed the final season of The Crown. The first six eps covered the single Diana, the end of her life, and the fallout. The episodes were intense, but the last six were a wistful retrospective of the Elizabeth II monarchy mixed with a topical catch-up. The final scene was both fitting and understated. And, Reacher on Amazon is easy to watch, but it won’t capture you. Alan Ritchson is a mountain and the exact opposite physical presence to Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher version.
Pittsburgh Penguins News
Since many of you are checking back after a few days of joy, we’ll recap the last few.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: I wrote a rather jagged postgame analysis after the Penguins beat the Islanders Sunday. It was a big win, and the Penguins seem to be in the midst of a sea change to find their winning formula. Let’s stop pretending otherwise. That gritty, ugly style should be THE Penguins.
In case you missed it, Kyler Murray strolled into Lincoln Financial Field to beat the Eagles wearing a Sidney Crosby jersey.
Maybe the Cardinals aren’t so bad with Murray at the helm. That might be an all-time troll job.
I agree with coach Mike Sullivan’s assessment that ugly hockey “is beautiful.” More on how the Penguins’ style has been different, the struggles of Erik Karlsson, and the improvement of others in the Penguins blog.
Steelers Now: A source confirmed the story to SteelersNow.com that Kenny Pickett didn’t want to be the No. 3 on Sunday, so the Steelers deactivated him. The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ world is buzzing.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now
Yardbarker: A mashup of recent reports from Chris Johnston and others — Patrick Kane might soon hit the NHL trade block, but he has a no-trade clause. What comes next for the Detroit Red Wings and Kane?
Sportsnet: “The coolest thing in the world.” Kraken goalie Joey Daccord earned a shutout in the Winter Classic and beat the Golden Knights.
TSN video: This is the hottest story in Canada. Gino Reda has more. The Maple Leafs are both in third place in the Atlantic but a tie for the second wild card. They’ve fallen all the way back to the pack and are in danger of slipping out of the playoffs (and behind the Penguins). They recalled 6-foot-7 Denis Hildeby, and everyone is wondering — who is that?!
Boston Hockey Now: The poll was tied 50-50. Pretty hard to do, but it is a polarizing question: Should the Boston Bruins bring back Phil Kessel?
Ottawa Sun: Bruce Garrioch chummed the waters before getting to some meaty NHL trade rumors. The Ottawa Senators both have a young core and a struggling team that has been disappointing this season. Could the new GM begin to make significant changes?
Penguins fans should realize that younger and rebuilding doesn’t guarantee success. Sometimes, it just means more rebuilding.
Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers have been the Cinderella of the first half. The gritty and energetic team is in a playoff spot, but are they in trouble to begin 2024? Jon Bailey has the dirt on the Philadelphia Flyers.