The Pittsburgh Penguins’ playoff standing got some unexpected help and a lot of it Tuesday as all of their rivals lost. Down the board, everyone helped, though the Tampa Bay Lightning earned two points by beating the Philadelphia Flyers. The NHL trade rumors will have to wait as the Penguins may not get clarity on their future for several more weeks. President of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas is reportedly kicking the can down the road just a little further. The New Jersey Devils gave GM Tom Fitzgerald an extension and a promotion. And Carter Hart surprised many by taking a vague leave of absence from the Flyers.
I must tell you, being in the Penguins’ locker room on the road trip — I had a feeling a giant letdown was coming. It was a different scene. Players missed practice, there wasn’t enough game action, but a team without a fatal flaw doesn’t have the number of flatline performances that the Penguins have given in the first half. No Pittsburgh media was in the locker room until most players had gone in Vegas (The security guards didn’t let us through, so we all angrily waited down the hall), but the curt reaction I received from one player who has never given me one of those before followed by Jansen Harkins shaking his head to multiple questions was telling.
I’m headed to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after practice today to get a good look at Jesse Puljujarvi and others. All of the extra work will be behind the PHN+ paywall. I’d love it if you joined PHN+. It helps us keep up the level of coverage we’re providing. Join this band of rebels here. Use code Dan10 to save $10.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Should Kyle Dubas light the match, or should he patchwork this Penguins team? Dave Molinari took a swing at the subject of the coming Penguins decisions.
PHN Video: From the road trip, we got into all of the Penguins’ problems and decisions. This video was big-picture and had little to do with the actual game in Arizona. Rebuild, Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin’s role, and Penguins trades.
Hold off on all the NHL trade rumors. Just as we opined about the fork in the road, TSN Insider Chris Johnston spoke with Dubas and reported that Dubas might kick the can down the road just a little further. Don’t expect clarity soon on the Penguins’ future.
The Playoff Race
NYI Hockey Now: All that glitters is not gold. The hobbled Golden Knights beat the New York Islanders.
Detroit Hockey Now: The Dallas Stars wasted a good power play night from the Red Wings, and Shayne Gostisbehere hit minus-20 for the season in the Detroit Red Wings loss.
The Capitals also lost to Minnesota.
The San Jose Sharks beat the Rangers in OT?!
And the Ducks beat the Buffalo Sabres.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now
Philly Hockey Now: The shocker in Philadelphia. No real reason was given other than “personal,” but goalie Carter Hart has taken leave of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Calgary Hockey Now: Jake Guentzel isn’t the only potential trade target up north. The NHL trade deadline is six weeks away, but Vancouver Canucks are also taking a good look at Elias Lindholm.
New Jersey Hockey Now: Tom Fitzgerald is one of the sharpest GMs in the game. His work to turnaround the Devils has been exemplary and swift. The ownership rewarded Fitz with a new contract and more title, too. Here’s the New Jersey Devils news.
Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers are shopping on the trade market, but they don’t need rentals or old guys. The Flyers are likely one of the teams calling the Canadiens about Wi-Fi, otherwise known as Arber Xhekaj. The latest Flyers trade talk.
NYI Hockey Now: Please don’t extrapolate this to the Penguins, but new coach, new life for the star players on Long Island. Patrick Roy has sparked Mathew Barzal and Bo Horvat for the New York Islanders.
Boston Hockey Now (+): PHN+ subscribers can log in to read the story — Jakob Chychrun. On the NHL trade block again? And one of the teams that was heavily interested the first time, and very well could be again, are the Boston Bruins.