We’re beginning this column somewhere close to 4 a.m. back on the East Coast, it’s been a long 24 hours with flight delays, turbulence, an Indy 500 dandy, another ridiculous and needless hockey melee in Colorado, a pressure cooker warming in Toronto, and Pittsburgh Penguins analysis.
Happy Memorial Day to everyone celebrating the somber day. Thank you, and God Bless to every single person who has worn the uniforms. PHN proudly honors your service.
I’m currently in Denver covering the Avalance – Golden Knights series. I’ll get to the game, but it was another ridiculous, senseless, utterly needless, stupid, moronic display of hockey code on Sunday night. Vegas Golden Knights tough guy Ryan Reaves had a bone to pick with Ryan Graves for a borderline hit on Mattias Janmark earlier. Vegas was out of the game by the third period, so Reaves took out Graves. Reaves dropped a knee on his head while Graves was down in the crease.
“He’s on a mission to hurt someone,” Gabriel Landeskog said.
Colorado Hockey Now: Vegas had to send a message, don’t ya know. Colorado looked brilliant in Game 1. But can they survive if Vegas uses the goon-type tactics?
Reaves received a Match penalty for an attempt to injure. The league will review it, and punishment could (should) be handed down.
Now to the Penguins before we get back to the NHL playoffs.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Before we get to the Pittsburgh Penguins hot-button issue of the Big 3, if the Penguins want to reverse their failure, they can look in two spots for next season.
Via a long social media post, minor league prospect goalie Emil Larmi appears to have said goodbye to North America and the Penguins organization.
Larmi is a hell of a kid. It sounds like he’s just not feeling confident in North American path. The Penguins goalie problems and lack of development are mounting.
NHL & National Hockey Now
Boston: Enthusiasm is growing in Boston. It’s starting to feel like a moment the city needs.
NYI: After Ilya Sorokin played Super Man vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins, he was beatable in Game 1 vs. Boston. Is it time to go back to Varlamov?
Vegas: The Vegas Golden Knights looked slow and lumbering in Game 1. They also started Robin Lehner instead of Marc-Andre Fleury. What the?! Colorado skated circles around them in a 7-1 Avs win, Lehner stumbled and Ryan Reaves will get a call from the league.
Sportsnet: The pressure is mounting for Game 7 in Toronto tonight. Bump-bump. Bump-bump. Collective hearts are beating loudly as the Toronto Maple Leafs will battle the Montreal Canadiens AND the ghosts of failures past.
Ontario’s EXTREMELY rigid COVID regulations are still in place. There will not be any fans in the barn for Game 7, despite more than 65% of Toronto residents receiving at least the first dose of the vaccine.
And you thought Gov. Wolf was overly strict? In Ontario, people aren’t even allowed to play tennis.
San Jose: Do you like hockey cards? Do you want FREE hockey cards from Upper Deck? Upper Deck and our Sheng Peng are giving them away!
RMNB: Nick Backstrom assures us that Alex Ovechkin will stay in D.C.
Now, I’m going to bed. Good morning.