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Dan’s Daily: Penguins Face Playoff Trouble, Carlson Had Fractured Skull



Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ battle for a playoff spot begins Monday. Let’s be honest, despite the preening cynism and soapbox negativity, most people expected the Penguins to settle into a playoff spot by now. They now face some hard truths after last week’s collapse in New York.

Also in the Daily, the Quebec provincial leaders succeeded in getting the QMJHL to ban fighting, the Ottawa Senator might sell for nearly a billion dollars, and Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson’s injury was revealed to be far worse than a mangled ear.

The Penguins have a one-point lead on Florida and trail the New York Islanders by two points with two games in hand. Monday, the Penguins will have the chance to put a stake in Ottawa’s playoff heart or let them back into the race.

I want to thank everyone for watching the TV this weekend. The 11 of the Ice show with Jenna Harner, Phil Bourque, and me, which immediately preceded the Penguins game on another channel, did solid ratings and handily beat the hockey competition. Even with my technical difficulties from New York in the first segment, I thought we did OK. Thank yoU!

I’m starting to enjoy this TV stuff. The looks I got from several Penguins fans while walking to the arena on Saturday were nice. But then I realized people were looking because my zipper was down. Yep, that’s my life.

To the hockey…

Pittsburgh Penguins / Steelers, Pirates (Sports Now Group);

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Video: We did a video Q&A chat for publishing early Sunday morning. The Penguins are in deep trouble. Your comments and questions, followed by my answers, agreement, and disagreement. I’m working to keep a level head as everyone loses theirs. Put the audio on while you work — Penguins analysis.

As one of the traveling beat writers, the road offers a less crowded look and interactions with the team. Saturday night was not what I expected. Where’s the anger, the outrage, the change? After more bad losses, the Penguins seem to be in denial.

PHN: Dave Molinari steered into the skid. Hard truths face the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Steelers Now:

The Steelers are seriously trying (or tried) to upgrade their offensive line. Steelers free agency.

The Steelers officially signed former Eagles standout guard Isaac Seamalu.

Pittsburgh Baseball Now:

PBN+: John Perrotto examines — There is a stark contrast between 2019 Mitch Keller and 2023 Mitch Keller.

The Pittsburgh Pirates just might be better than a lot of people think. They have a real choice to make with center field. Who gets the spot? Pirates lineup.

Penguins Playoff Chase, NHL News & National Hockey Now

Florida Hockey Now: It’s down to a three-team race. The Penguins, Islanders, and the Florida Panthers.

Washington Hockey Now: You may remember the ugly scene after a rising slapshot hit John Carlson in the face. He’s missed a few months and finally detailed the extent of his injuries, including a skull fracture and severed temporal artery. Here’s the full story from Sammi Silber on John Carlson.

However, the Capitals fell further behind in the playoff race. They’re about out of it and trail the Penguins by six points. Sunday, the Minnesota Wild (and Marc-Andre Fleury) beat the Washington Capitals 5-3.

Boston Hockey Now: The Penguins got a little help. The Buffalo Sabres were blown out, 7-0, by the Boston Bruins.

Sportsnet: I’m not sure I like how this is playing out. The Quebec provincial government kept the QMJHL afloat during the pandemic. Then the government exerted pressure to ban fighting (government money is never free). So, the Q will ban the scraps, but what about the OHL and WHL? Here’s the whole situation.

NYI Hockey Now: Things are getting tense on Long Island, too. No, they are not better without Mathew Barzal. The New York Islanders mailbag.

San Jose Hockey Now: Sheng Peng had some thoughts on Sharks goalie James Reimer not wearing the pride jersey. This is a big issue, but complicated. Can you be for people but against politics? Not everyone will agree with Sheng, but if you’d like to go on the journey of pondering what a good man like Reimer did, as good or bad, here you go. San Jose Sharks fallout.