Twas the Day before Christmas, and all through hockey, the creatures had scurried from a season so rocky. The Pittsburgh Penguins, frustrated and with needs, still earned a point for their misdeeds. The Vancouver Canucks, once written off, behind coach Rick Tocchet are now showing off. While the Capitals, Hurricanes, and Devils talk of NHL trade, it seems Evgeny Kuznetsov is sorry he stayed.
From a little motel in Brockville, Ontario, I’m about to hit the highway — as soon I finish the Dan’s Daily, but doing it my way.
Ok, Ok. No more rhymes, I mean it!
Anybody want a peanut?
There was an interesting little moment last night after coach Mike Sullivan spoke to the media following the Penguins’ 5-4 overtime loss. We didn’t ask about the lengthy offside review that went against the Penguins on Ottawa’s fourth goal, and the coach noticed.
He’s right. We didn’t ask. We should have. I suppose I’ll take my share of the blame on that one, but if I’m being brutally honest–I could see why referees felt it was inconclusive. That skateblade may have been touching the edge of the blue line. Even zoomed in, the blue paint was blurry, and the skate was right there. There wasn’t a defined patch of white ice. I also felt like it was a brutal play by the Penguins, and they deserved to be scored upon. So, the call didn’t factor into my analysis of the game, but giving up a two-on-none after a power play did.
To the daily links and must-reads, we go…
If you missed it because you were reveling in the Steelers’ win, get the down-and-dirty, ugly, and yet point-worthy Penguins recap.
The PHN report card is complete with the tactics the Senators deployed to frustrate the Penguins and why it shouldn’t have worked for as long as it did. Lars Eller didn’t spare any feelings with his opinions on their performance, either. The very complete breakdown of the Penguins game.
And you asked. I answered. Or you stated, and I responded. The postgame video wasn’t easy. The visiting media room at the Canada Tire Centre was a small room in a large storage area. No chairs. No TV monitors to see the game. One small desk. We made it work. From potential changes to frustrations boiling, here’s the Penguins postgame Q&A video.
Steelers Now: Seven takeaways from the huge Steelers win from Mason Rudolph playing the game of his life to George Pickens having some success and petulantly calling out critics — the Steelers analysis.
I disagree wholeheartedly, but our Alan Saunders says next week, Mike Tomlin must start Kenny Pickett.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now
The Athletic: Pierre LeBrun had a big week. He had a treasure trove of information, including the growing NHL trade rumors surrounding Elias Lindholm. The Devils and Hurricanes are interested. And the Capitals would like to dump Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Sportsnet: The Vancouver Canucks were an absolute mess last season. The president of hockey operations, Jim Rutherford, essentially apologized for his loose lips that made things worse. J.T. Miller yelled at teammates who spaced out. But this season, everything is clicking. Coach Rick Tocchet and the boys are in first place.
The Canucks are still 28-1 to win the Stanley Cup. PHN readers–get an extra $50 bet with the DraftKings promo.
Montreal Hockey Now: Team USA beat Team Canada in the WJC exhibition. Remember the name (I advocated strongly for the Penguins to take him in the 2021 NHL Draft, but I digress): Team USA’s Lane Hutson.
Chicago Hockey Now: I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. Michigan goals. Don’t play with your stick off the ice unless you’re prepared to get hit with a stick off the ice. But–Connor Bedard pulled a beauty Saturday.
Calgary Hockey Now: What is this new “zone defense” from coach Ryan Huska? Our Trevor Neufeld explains the Calgary Flames scheme.
New Jersey Hockey Now: Jake Allen? The New Jersey Devils are internally discussing the Canadiens goalie as a potential trade target.