Former Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is on the cusp of a couple of historic milestones, including becoming the second-winningest goalie of all time and perhaps the last goalie who will get to 1000 games played. The Penguins have the three best friends that anyone could have, while their playoff competition contemplates becoming sellers before the NHL trade deadline. Tage Thompson is on the non-roster list, but there’s some drama around the Buffalo Sabres roster, and defenseman Ethan Bear finally signed with the Capitals.
In between Penguins games, I think my holiday dinner obligations are over. For those of you with families, we single folk thank you for all of the invites and small gifts like Light Saber salt and pepper grinders (yes, I received a set this year). Still, there are also some nights when being wrapped in a blanket while banging away on my laptop until I fall asleep to Community on Netflix or Dateline is like heaven, especially after a few days on Long Island.
I have no idea how people live out there. It’s 24-7 traffic and strip malls. I just don’t get it.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: It might be now or never. The Penguins have forced themselves back into the playoff race but are on the bottom cusp. With the looming schedule and their opponents teetering in the standings, this is the Penguins’ big chance.
For you sentimental fools, Sidney Crosby talked about his relationship with Evgeni Malkin and new record-setter Kris Letang.
Now to the NHL trade chatter and analysis that affects the Penguins.
Ottawa Sun: A few players could be expendable as the Ottawa Senators get healthy, including Dominik Kubalik, but Ottawa is 15 points back of Tampa Bay. What comes next for the disappointing Senators?
Buffalo Hockey Now: Yep–we relaunched Buffalo Hockey Now, and our new beat, Jason Moser, hit the ground running at about 100mph. Tage Thompson took what is supposed to be a short leave, but Moser looks at the roster implications and potential sacrifices for the Buffalo Sabres.
NHL.com: The Washington Capitals finally signed defenseman Ethan Bear and gave him a two-year deal worth over $4 million.
I think we see why the Penguins weren’t in the mix. It’s more than a show-me deal.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now
Philly Hockey Now: The team the Penguins are chasing for third place in the Metro posted a solid win Thursday night. The takeaways and how it happened — The Vancouver Canucks folded, Joel Farabee scored, and the Philadelphia Flyers surged.
They can get a headstart by printing a nameplate for the Jack Adams trophy with John Tortorella’s name on it.
NYI Hockey Now: A day after the Penguins destroyed the Islanders, the team had practice. The boys got after it and let go of some frustrations. It was a physical, intense practice for the New York Islanders.
New Jersey Hockey Now: The Devils are also chasing a playoff spot. They, too, are underachieving compared to the great expectations placed upon them. Coach Lindy Ruff let the boys have it at practice–a very tough New Jersey Devils practice.
Sportsnet: He’s played 998 games and earned 550 wins. He’s ready to make history as the second-winning goalie in NHL history and cross the 1000-game barrier. Marc-Andre Fleury.