When did our world become the comic book version of itself? The NHL and hockey news reflects the wild time we’re still having with COVID. The Pittsburgh Penguins are almost at full strength, minus the six players in NHL COVID protocol, and the NHL is discussing shortening the protocol but must deal with Canada, too. Team USA forfeited vs. Switzerland on Tuesday because of two COVID positives at the World Juniors, and Boston Bruins pot-stir Brad Marchand absolutely shredded the NHL over its decision to pull out of the Olympics.
I mean, shredded the league.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins got Jake Guentzel back to full capacity at practice on Wednesday. They assembled the practice squad, including P.O. Joseph, who promptly entered protocol. The complete Pittsburgh Penguins report.
Introducing the four-player Penguins Taxi Squad.
PHN+: Mike Sullivan doesn’t know if the Penguins will ever get 100% healthy. “We’d like to get close. We’d take that,” he said. The top line looked like the three amigos on Tuesday. Guentzel-Crosby-Rust.
Unfortunately, the Penguins’ next game–Friday in Ottawa–has been postponed because Canada is limiting public gatherings. So, no reunion with Matt Murray, and the next Penguins game is Sunday.
NHL News & National Hockey Now:
Boston: Brad Marchand was just a wee bit peeved about missing the Olympics. It was probably his last chance to go, as well as possibly Patrice Bergeron, Alex Ovechkin, and Sidney Crosby. Marchand called the situation “Bullsh*t” a few times, as the Boston Bruins winger wanted a choice.
I get the hurt feelings, but using the taxi squads to fill in for star players in Beijing? That would cost a team or two a playoff spot, and then the doo-doo would really hit the fan.
Sportsnet: Wild day at the WJCs. Team USA had to forfeit to Switzerland after two positive COVID tests.
However, 16-year-old Canadian future-phenom Connor Bedard became the first 16-year-old to score a hat trick since…Wayne Gretzky.
If the Penguins want to start stockpiling first-round picks for 2024, that wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Vancouver: Some blame the Vancouver media for harming the Canucks. Some (should) blame poor play. Our media vet and beat writer Rob Simpson writes, Hooey! The media did not hurt the Vancouver Canucks.
NYI: I love the creativity of our new beat Stefen Rosner’s headlines. Today’s chuckle: Islanders COVID List Resembles CVS Receipt
That’s good stuff right there.
Washington: The Capitals also have a long COVID list, including Justin Schultz and Daniel Sprong. Hold your breath for their third pairing. Prospect defenseman Alex Alexeyev could make his NHL debut beside Matt Irwin on Wednesday for the Washington Capitals.
Philly: The Flyers have a five-game point streak and are getting their act together. Wednesday night, the Seattle Kraken host the Philadelphia Flyers.
NY Post: Yes, PHN can have some splashy headlines. I’m not sure I’ve admitted this before, but the NY Post is my guide. Today’s headline from Mr. Larry Brooks:
Igor Shesterkin thinks he has answers after ‘f–ked again’ injury fears