Do not get too excited that Teddy Blueger will be back in the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup soon. The Penguins center returned to practice in a full face shield, and head coach Mike Sullivan seemed to downplay his impending return, though Blueger practiced with the team on Tuesday. J.T. Miller just entered the uncomfortable world of being mentioned in NHL trade rumors to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Zdeno Chara’s name is also popping up in trade chatter, and the world is watching Patrik Allvin in Vancouver.
To me, the Chara situation is the most interesting because he could call his shot. He’s fading fast, but…he’s still 6-foot-9, physical, and a leader’s leader.
NYI: Our Stefen Rosner was first on the story, a few hours before TSN folks were on the trail. This week, Zdeno Chara will break the all-time games played by a defenseman record held by Chris Chelios, also a physical freak of nature. Then, the New York Islanders will let Chara go to a Stanley Cup contender.
Now, not to stir any Pittsburgh Penguins trade rumors, but we like to keep tabs on who the Penguins are watching. After GM Ron Hextall was seen chatting with Seattle AGM Jason Botterill in Boston two weeks ago, the Penguins had a scout in the barn Tuesday night:
For those interested, the Avs, Blackhawks, Bruins, Flames, Penguins, Stars and Lightning all have scouts here this evening.
And among them is Bruins GM Don Sweeney, according to the seating chart. #SeaKraken
— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) February 23, 2022
Seattle played the New York Islanders. A few of those teams could use a Chara, too.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Teddy Blueger returned to practice but in a non-contact jersey. Head coach Mike Sullivan said Blueger is still going through the progressions, and Tuesday was a skills practice that allowed Blueger to participate. Pittsburgh Penguins practice.
Chad Ruhwedel isn’t much of a media talker. But I thought he gave an honest answer–he signed for less than market value to stay here. “I wanted to be a Penguin. This is where my heart is…”
Now–the serious Penguins take. The Penguins are not trending in the right direction. They’ve trailed in the last three games and lost two of them. The play mirrors losses before the All-Star break, too. The team doesn’t think they’re going in the wrong direction…but they surely aren’t headed in the right one, either. Penguins analysis.
More NHL Trade Chatter, New & National Hockey Now
Sportsnet video: Burning questions. It was how Elliotte Friedman answered the question about the Toronto Maple Leafs using Jake Muzzin’s LTIR cap space…J.T. Miller?
TSN: The Insiders essentially confirmed Stefen Rosner’s report on Zdeno Chara. Brad Marchand could appeal his Tristan Jarry-related suspension, and they stoked trade chatter with few other names headed to the Maple Leafs, too.
Everyone is headed to Toronto.
Colorado: Nathan MacKinnon slashed a referee. Was it intentional? The NHL ruled the slash was meant for an opponent, so, all good for the Colorado Avalanche captain.
Detroit: The Red Wings are hanging in the wild-card race with the Boston Bruins, but in the meantime, our prospect lovers will enjoy this–Frolunda is essentially becoming a farm team for the Detroit Red Wings.
San Jose: Sheng Peng appeared postgame on NBCsports Bay Area to update Erik Karlsson, Kevin Labanc, and why Jonathan Dahlen was a scratch. It’s fun to see Sheng on the San Jose Sharks postgame.
Vegas: Owen Krepps looked at the very first player for every franchise in the NHL, including the Pittsburgh Penguins. Our guy is having some fun covering the Vegas Golden Knights.
Philly: I don’t know how parents deal with this sort of news. The three-year-old son of former Flyers player Ryan White has an incurable brain tumor. Sam Carchidi has the details and the GoFundMe account. Philadelphia Flyers news.