The Pittsburgh Penguins had a feel-good win Thursday. Dave Molinari and I tackled the state of the team from opposite ends of the spectrum Friday. Dave examined Kris Letang’s new role and the surprising statistics that give the team hope, while I delivered an inside-the-lockroom approach to a few issues, including Erik Karlsson’s interesting analysis of the Penguins’ power play struggles. Also in the Daily, the Shane Pinto gambling-suspension fallout, the NHL trade chatter around Mathieu Joseph, the Devils are Haula-good, and the Metro Division were winners Friday.
On the last warm day of the year, or so we believe, there were many options to fill a Penguins off-day. Grab the motorcycle and find a greasy spoon in the middle of nowhere? Squeeze in a cheap nine holes on the golf course? Heck, maybe go to a new restaurant.
Nope. A diner breakfast with our accountant. Crunched numbers. Handshake deal to expand National Hockey Now (Oh, I can’t wait for this one, but the final announcement is several weeks away, and the bank might have to swallow hard to say yes to this one), I wrote two more stories, and I dozed off catching up on the new Quantum Leap.
As someone who tried to find Dom Belesario’s family bar in North Charleroi from which the original show characters came, I’m still undecided on the new series. I’m giving it more time, and I’m really hoping they’re able to connect with the original like the show creator wants.
Anyhoo…to the hockey.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: You may have noticed Kris Letang filling a new role. Examining his performance and some surprising facts and figures gives hope for the Penguins’ season.
Erik Karlsson had some interesting comments on the power play that didn’t speak well of the PP1 unit. Can Mike Sullivan adapt to his team’s strengths? And Lars Eller is emerging in a heavy role. Go inside the Penguins locker room.
It was a tryout but with an AFC North rival for former Steelers RB Benny Snell.
Another cornerback is injured. More on the banged-up Steelers secondary.
Goody. Trash talk wars and bulletin board material. George Pickens came back at the Jaguars, who clapped back at George Pickens.
Maybe fighting should be allowed in the NFL? You get a two-series benching and a 15-yard penalty (Settle down, I’m joking).
Pittsburgh Baseball Now
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And as John Perrotto writes, yes, there is a path to follow for a Pittsburgh Pirates World Series.
Bins stays hot in the desert. The Pirates prospects update.
NHL Trade Chatter, News & National Hockey Now
The Metro Division teams were winners on Friday.
New Jersey Hockey Now: Erik Haula filled the net, and the Buffalo Sabres couldn’t keep up. Big goals and clutch saves led to the New Jersey Devils‘ big night.
Washington Hockey Now: The Capitals beat the Wild. Evgeny Kuznetsov is making plays. The team is winning. Are the Washington Capitals figuring it out?
Carolina Hockey Now: The fantastic Finns led the way. Andrei Svechnikov returned, and the banged-up Carolina Hurricanes blanked the Sharks.
San Jose Hockey Now: Our beat writer, Sheng Peng, does a great job, but the Sharks are a terrible team. The Sharks haven’t scored in over 151 minutes and are winless in eight games this season. Coach David Quinn (A Mike Sullivan friend who borrows heavily from Sullivan’s coaching vocabulary) issues a big challenge to young Sharks center William Eklund.
Chicago Hockey Now: Down goes Vegas, down goes Vegas! The Connor Bedard-led Blackhawks handed the Golden Knights their first loss of the season. Chicago is having some fun. The Chicago Blackhawks snap analysis.
Boston Hockey Now: Rookie Jakub Lauko won’t need a costume this year — Tuesday, he caught a skate in the eye. Check out this picture — that’s a heck of a shiner and stitches for the Boston Bruins forward.
The Athletic ($): P.O Joseph’s brother Mathieu has been dangled in the NHL trade rumors all season, but the fallout from the Shane Pinto suspension is twofold. The Senators don’t need to clear cap space immediately, and Joseph is off the block for now.