Sometimes, the headline writes itself. While the Pittsburgh Penguins did something they’ve far too infrequently done by beating the Carolina Hurricanes and preserving a far more realistic playoff path, Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins had enough of Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson and wailed on him in overtime. Elvis may have cost the Blue Jackets the game by taking the roughing penalty, but the hockey world just gained a new favorite netminder. And the NHL trade rumors are not yet full of Jakob Chychrun chatter, but Nick Kypreos firmly floated some big changes for the Ottawa Senators.
Kypreos has had a big week. He also took a good shot at Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas in the Toronto Star. Since the article is for subscribers only, and I know very few of you subscribe to a local Toronto paper (but I do), the cliff notes are that Toronto is unhappy that Dubas’s departure remains somewhat of a mystery. They have president Brendan Shanahan’s side, and they want Dubas’s, but Dubas has no interest in telling it.
I spoke with several prominent Toronto writers last week, and they all brought up their desire to speak with Dubas and the frustration that they couldn’t. I fully expected one of them to breach etiquette and approach Dubas as he watched the Penguins’ practice from the public overlook at the Toronto facility. None did, but the Dubas story remains a big deal up there.
In the grand scheme, I remain undecided if sports media should simply respect declared boundaries or push for agreed-upon boundaries. It’s a tough call. More and more organizations are adopting restrictive media access policies, but not enough orgs have gone too far for it to become a fans’ issue. We are headed that way, gradually.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The down and dirty. The nitty gritty details of the Penguins’ 2-1 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Get the Penguins’ recap.
The grades. It wasn’t an A+ performance, but it was effective enough. Also, the Penguins goalie was pretty good, too. From the analysis to the chalkboard and player grades, they slayed the dragon — the Penguins’ report card.
Go inside the Penguins locker room. It was Sidney Crosby and Alex Nedeljkovic who came to the rescue. Nedeljkovic also gave his breakdown of the game, which was pretty interesting.
Philly Hockey Now: Yep, Jagr is playing again at 51 years old. My colleague Jon Bailey (who’s been a great find!) dug up the video. Jagr earned an assist in his first game this season. The great Jaromir Jagr.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now:
Spector’s Hockey: Kypreos, formerly an anchor of Hockey Night in Canada and now part of the heavyweight Sportsnet podcast crew, wrote that he foresees Chychrun returning to the trade block. He reports that the NHLPA is still mulling a decision to file a grievance over Corey Perry’s contract termination.
Sportsnet: “He got what he deserved,” said Elvis Merzlikins, who had enough. In OT, Tom Wilson crashed the net and laid inside it. Merzlikins made the save then turned around and threw down. Full video included.
How did Wilson not get two minutes, too? I don’t mind a goalie protecting his space.
New Jersey Hockey Now: The Penguins got some help from the Edmonton Oilers, who beat the Devils. Lindy Ruff had the quote of the night, “We got our ass kicked.” Here’s the New Jersey Devils’ postgame fallout.
TSN: It looked like a bad injury. Anaheim Ducks future star Leo Carlsson suffered a leg injury in the third period against Calgary and had to be helped off the ice.
TSN Insiders: Who will come knocking for Elias Lindholm if he hits the NHL trade block? The contract negotiation updates for William Nylander and Elias Pettersson, too.
Colorado Hockey Now: It was a Nova Scotia boy night. While Crosby carried the Penguins, Nathan MacKinnon scored four goals against the Ottawa Senators in a comeback win for the Colorado Avalanche.
That wasn’t the only crazy game Thursday.
Montreal Hockey Now: The kids shined for the Habs, but Kirill Kaprizov scored with 4.9 seconds remaining, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Montreal Canadiens.