It was a little bit of a sleepy Friday. There were no coach firings, GM roasting, and splashy trade rumors. Instead, the Pittsburgh Penguins rolled the Washington Capitals, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman raised more concerns over the Olympics, the Colorado Avalanche became the first NHL team since Mario Lemieux’s early 90s Penguins to score seven or more goals in three straight games, and will the Chicago Blackhawks try to trade Marc-Andre Fleury?
Also, sadly, the Philadelphia Flyers winless streak ended.
ESPN+: I suppose if you watched the Penguins game on Friday night, you could read the ESPN paywall content. I saved this one for today–According to Emily Kaplan, the Chicago Blackhawks are deciding what to do with Marc-Andre Fleury. Keep him or put him up for the highest bidder on the NHL trade block?
Here’s the deal–Fleury received assurances if he reported to Chicago that he would NOT be traded. Former GM Stan Bowman made that promise, but it’s dirty pool if the org doesn’t honor his promise. Fleury has been a bright spot, and if he wants to stay, he stays. However, if Fleury wants to go, he should get to call his shot.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins played a near textbook game to beat the Washington Capitals, 4-2.
The Penguins’ winning percentage now puts them in a playoff spot, despite their pursuers having games in hand.
Washington: Here’s the flip side from our colleague Sammi Silber on the Capitals loss.
PHN+: I made special effort to break down the Penguins win–the “how” opened up plenty of talking points and maybe a turning point for the Penguins. And, of course, I dished the player grades. There were several A’s, but some “needs improvement” for the Pittsburgh Penguins, too.
From the home table, I discussed and diagrammed the Penguins winning formula on our live postgame show. Subscribe to the NHN YouTube channel for such awesomeness:
NHL News & National Hockey Now:
TSN: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman again stood firmly behind the Arizona Coyotes staying in Arizona (why?!), the NHL salary cap will go up by $1 million, and the NHL clearly does not want players to participate in the Olympics, but will honor their word. However, the Beijing committee was to release a COVID protocol report three weeks ago. They have not–one possibility is that any players who test positive in Beijing would have to quarantine for THREE weeks after the games. Oh boy…
Hell and no. At this point, everyone is hanging onto hope. The reality is that the NHL players in the Olympics are a bad deal.
The sooner they realize that then perhaps the sooner they could fill that three-week hole with an international tournament held in a safe location. I’m sure ESPN and TNT wouldn’t mind televising it.
NYI: Once uncharacteristic mistakes are now commonplace for the LAST place New York Islanders.
Boston: The Penguins chief competition for a wild card spot–the Boston Bruins–earned a quality W on Friday, but as Joe Haggerty writes, it can’t hide the Bruins’ flaws.
Vegas: The Flyers dark losing streak is over. Darn. The Philadelphia Flyers beat Vegas 4-3.
Florida: This is pretty cool. The day the Florida Panthers practiced outside at Central Park.
San Jose: It was somewhat shocking news–Evander Kane will play for the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda on Saturday.
The NHL trade market is watching…
I hope Kane gets the train turned around. He made a good impression on me by getting sole custody of his daughter. He has a long way to go with everyone, but this is America… the land of infinite chances to make good (at least until Twitter was invented).