Twas the day before Christmas and all through the hockey house, a few creatures were stirring. Of special note to Pittsburgh Penguins fans, their arch-rival Philadelphia Flyers appear ready to make a big splash and significantly upgrade an area of need. Pittsburgh Hockey Now drew the ire of Kessel-mania, Kaspari Kapanen is finally having a breakout year, and teams are back-channeling agents for Mitchell Marner whispering “offer sheet.”
What would the Flyers be with consistently competent goaltending? Competitive for a playoff spot. While it seems Jimmy Howard would be a less expensive option, GM Chuck Fletcher is going for the big tuna, Jonathan Quick. Sportsnet says there are talks (Sportsnet)
World Juniors Previews–Team USA is favored to win Group B. Now that US fans are discovering this amazing tournament. Maybe it’s time we began a few traditions, too? One step at a time, I guess (NHL.com)
NHL GMs are playing a little bit of dirty pool with the Toronto Maple Leafs. According to the reporters in the Headlines Segment of Hockey Night in Canada–GMs are whispering “offer sheet” to agents of Mitchell Marner and Auston Matthews. (Sportsnet)
Kasperi Kapanen popped two more goals and Toronto beat Detroit (WXYZ). It’s take a few years, but Toronto is finally getting value from the Phil Kessel trade. And speaking of the two-time Stanley Cup champion…
Print a Kessel story, draw ire. The Penguins benched Phil Kessel, Saturday. PHN (to our knowledge) was the only one to make a full story out of it. It is the first time this season in which Kessel was passed over in the third period (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
The comments are golden, too. Actually, they were better than my story. One certainly must have a thick skin to print a Kessel story which is anything but glowing.
At 10 a.m., we will publish Shelly Anderson’s fun locker room feature–she rolled through the room asking players which song they would choose for a personal goal song. We may have to work on Zach Aston-Reese’s music collection. Shelly and I are still wrestling with a headline–she likes cute, I like direct. Feel free to offer your suggestions below!
Chris Nichols hockey follows the words and reports of hockey’s reporters plugged into the general managers. Elliotte Friedman dished on the St. Louis Blues impending breakup (Nichols on Hockey)
Rick Jeanneret is recovering after being taken from the Buffalo Sabres arena on a stretcher (TSN)
And stick-tap to our colleague Jason Mackey for an exceptional 20 Thoughts this week, which delved into the Daniel Sprong trade and Andy Saucier’s work habits (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)