The Pittsburgh Penguins had a day off on Wednesday, but a few former Penguins dominated the hockey news, at least beyond the growing fears of COVID’s latest surge. The NHL trade rumors, at least the legitimate ones, are colder than a Winnipeg January. Still, we have a Phil Kessel fight, Alex Ovechkin giving Marc-Andre Fleury a standing ovation, Jim Rutherford naming a long-time Penguins scout as assistant GM, fear growing amid the NHL’s latest COVID outbreaks, and we looked at the Penguins creating a monster.
Where do you want to start? Oh, right…Phil Kessel fight! Here you go, courtesy of the National Hockey Now YouTube channel (Make sure to like and subscribe):
And, just for fun, here’s Alex Ovechkin’s reaction to the Marc-Andre Fleury and the pregame ceremony in Chicago for Fleury’s 500th win. Ovechkin hit the Fleury wall a couple of times in his career. Who will forget Fleury robbing Ovechkin on a breakaway in Game 7 of Round Two in 2009? Or Fleury stealing the series for the Penguins in 2017?
Ovi was absolutely loving the pre-game ceremony for Marc-André Fleury. 🥰 pic.twitter.com/vDIPrOdOgd
— alberto (@twistedleafs) December 16, 2021
Here’s Fleury’s pregame ceremony:
Ok, to the puck news…
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Watch the latest PHN Penguins live chat, where some dude named Dan Kingerski, who thinks he knows a bit about hockey, attempts to break down all things Pittsburgh Penguins, including the rise of Evan Rodrigues, the fall of Kasperi Kapanen, and what comes next for Penguins GM Ron Hextall. The Penguins Live Chat here.
PHN+: The Penguins have created a monster. Rodrigues was a depth forward but is having a breakout year, and PHN asked him directly about what he’s been able to better this season. Here’s his answer, Sidney Crosby’s answer, Mike Sullivan’s answer, and PHN’s complete analysis of the Evan Rodrigues explosion.
And our friends at Barstool Sportsbook are giving PHN readers TWO big-time promos this week (hey, take their money):
NHL News, & National Hockey Now:
TSN: COVID isn’t done with us yet, and the latest wave appears to be the worst. On Wednesday evening, the NHL announced enhanced COVID protocols for all teams.
TSN reporter Rick Westhead “went there” on Wednesday night. Ontario Premier Doug Ford reduced capacity at indoor events to 50%, and Westhead wonders if the virus will force the NHL into another bubble. And TSN ran a story featuring Toronto epidemiologists, who believe a season pause will be necessary.
It’s starting to get rough–Calgary has 17 in the protocol, and they’re one of a handful of teams with more than a couple of players unavailable. The list is growing, not shrinking. …Every time I think I’m out, (it) pulls me back in.
Vancouver Hockey Now: Toronto cut capacity, and the Vancouver Canucks road trip is…on hold.
Detroit Hockey Now: The next star to speak up about the Olympics, kind of, is in Detroit. Dylan Larkin expressed concern over going to Beijing Olympics.
NOW to hockey…
Sportsnet: Jim Rutherford made his first hire in Vancouver. A long-time Penguins scout and Director of Player Personnel, who served under both Ray Shero and Rutherford, Derek Clancey, is the new Canucks AGM.
Washington: The Score made a minor controversy when they opined that should Alex Ovechkin catch Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, it should come with an asterisk because of OT rules. Sammi Silber writes–No, and hell no. No asterisks, no buts about Ovechkin and the NHL goal record.
Florida: Here’s what keeping your mid and high-first-round picks gets you. The Florida Panthers will have SIX players at the World Junior Championships in a couple of weeks.