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Penguins Road Trip Mailbag: Crazy Trade Talk, D-men, & Jarry’s Contract

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Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL trade chatter, Patrick Kane

VANCOUVER, British Columbia. — The Pittsburgh Penguins have lost two in a row and been overrun by Western Conference contenders. Minus a good start in Edmonton and an attacking second period against Calgary, the Penguins have been looking up at the scoreboard with unhappy faces.

Jeff Carter told PHN maybe the Penguins got a little too overconfident or accustomed to being able to fill the net and stopped playing the right way.

Kris Letang indicated the Penguins should have been more ready for the Calgary Flames attack on Tuesday and adjusted to a simpler game but didn’t.

Despite playing hockey near the top of the world, the sky is not falling. It only looks like that on the drive down Rt. 2 from Edmonton to Calgary.

By the way, I bought the “manager’s special” online, which is an unnamed “upgrade.” You don’t know which better-than-compact car you will get until they hand you the keys. Dan was rocking a Chrysler minivan for three days. Yeah, baby.

 

PHN opened the mailbag via Twitter on Tuesday. The questions were decidedly similar, so here we go:

Pittsburgh Penguins Happy, Penguins Sad

I see that worried look upon your face. You’ve got your troubles, I’ve got mine. The Penguins were a victim of their success, and now the season can begin again.

And that Fortunes song will be stuck in my head.

Readers via Twitter, the comments section, and Facebook expressed dismay and questioned everything. When I opened the “mailbag,” it was almost exclusively negative.

Look, the benefit of a veteran team is the internal understanding of their situation. A young team might be more apt to internal friction or frustration.

Does anyone think the Penguins doubt who they are?

Does anyone think Sidney Crosby is side-eyeing Evgeni Malkin for a few turnovers? Or any of them are looking at Jeff Petry to be their savior?

Nah.

The Penguins got a little too happy and, as the Canadians say, needed someone to take the piss out of them. Edmonton and Calgary did so.

A team humbled just a bit will face the Vancouver Canucks, who are winless. It should be an interesting game. The Penguins had their annual day off in western Canada on Wednesday (while we media pukes had to plane hop from Calgary to Vancouver).

Casey DeSmith

The worries about Casey DeSmith being a competent NHL backup should dissipate quickly. DeSmith was brilliant in his preseason tuneup in Detroit. He was the only reason the Pittsburgh Penguins had a chance to beat the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal, and he kept the Penguins in the game against Calgary.

Two of the four goals deflected off defensemen in front of the net. It happens.

DeSmith’s biggest question mark will remain until April. Can he stay healthy or get healthy for the playoffs?

Brian Dumoulin:

Questions are naturally rising regarding the Penguins’ top-pair defenseman. He’s steady, calm and the type of quiet defenseman coaches love.

Guys who aren’t fast can’t afford to lose a step. Count this writer in the camp who believed that Dumoulin would be much better this season. However, Dumoulin is struggling on the road trip. He and Kris Letang were toast against Edmonton. Both were a minus-3, and a couple of goals were directly on Dumoulin getting beaten by outside speed moves.

Fourth Line

Teddy Blueger won’t play for more than a week, at least. Initial positive impressions of Ryan Poehling have recently softened as the Penguins’ fourth line has been buried by opponents.

Poehling has only a 43% scoring ratio, and the Penguins’ bottom liners are not being asked to defend the opponents’ best line but getting limited ice time against lower lines.

“They help us in different ways. Establishing a forecheck. Being Physical on opponents’ defensemen,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “(They) help us create momentum and then chip offensively here and there. Those guys do that for us. They’re helping us win.”

The Penguins could use a jolt from the bottom line. Sullivan’s deployment will always speak louder, and the line isn’t getting much 5v5 time.

Patrick Kane Penguins Trade Talk

 

ANSWER: I tried to ignore this, but it became a thing with TSN Craig Button’s speculation. He connected the Penguins as one of four primary teams to Kane. I understand if fans get a little excited. Heck, it forced me to sit down and ponder it from all angles.

But I still have nothing.

With Jim Rutheford as GM, I’d take it more seriously. However, GM Ron Hextall is conducting a stealth rebuild. He acquired Carter for third and fourth-round picks. He acquired Rickard Rakell using a second-round draft pick and a prospect who was a third-round pick.

Hextall isn’t going to pack up the farm and send it to Chicago for Kane. It would undo everything he’s done for the past 18 months. A first-round pick, a prospect (the Penguins don’t have many), and maybe more would be the Penguins’ trade price.

Sure, Hextall could decide to trade Jake Guentzel, Rakell, or Bryan Rust. I also hear that someday the earth could reverse polarity, and the poles will switch. It happens every 10,000 to 50 million years. So, never say never, but Hextall isn’t going to give up 2022 first-rounder Owen Pickering and a No. 1 pick for Kane.

James van Riemsdyk, Tomas Tatar, or a rough LW like Miles Wood would be far more likely.

RAPID FIRE–HERE WE GO:

ANSWER: Trick question. Why would I ever leave the city for eggs? Or drive for 20 minutes? You suburbanites are funny. Delucas in the Strip.

 

ANSWER: Yes. Six years, $36 million. Git’r’done.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Chris R
Chris R
1 month ago

What about Toews? Everybody had written him off, but it’s hard to believe much of last season wasn’t the fallout from a year of illness. He’s a responsible player who’s game is unlikely to be swayed by emotion.

Katz is Dumb
Katz is Dumb
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris R

$10.5 million dollar cap hit for a 3rd or 4th line center? Are you high?

David Livingston
David Livingston
1 month ago

Maybe it was the camera angle, but DeSmith seems to always be just a bit out of position on shots from an angle. I never feel comfortable that he’s in good position to stop an initial shot nor prepared for a pass when the shooter is out around the shooter is around the face off dots.

AJ18
AJ18
1 month ago

This season will tell us a lot about him. He’s nearing 100 games in the NHL, and that’s usually when the book is out on goalies-Matt Murray being the perfect example

Jc1234
Jc1234
1 month ago

I like the idea of a miles wood on the pens that would make a ton of sense!