The Pittsburgh Penguins shocked even their most ardent supporters Thursday. With increasing malaise and tension building, the team submitted their best game of the season and handily beat one of the best teams in the league. Go figure. The NHL lowered the boom on Ottawa Senators RFA Shane Pinto, delivering a 41-game suspension for violating the NHL’s gambling rules. The Montreal Canadiens are open for business (again) on the NHL trade front, while the home fans let loose a chorus of boos on the Calgary Flames, and the Edmonton Oilers may receive the same treatment when they arrive home, too.
I took the opportunity to walk home last night. It was such great weather. I didn’t bother with the T and just hoofed it home, but I have a serious question for the Penguins and the city.
If the bars across from the arena on 5th Ave. don’t see a reason to stay open until midnight despite being surrounded by a college and 16,000 or so fans in attendance, how are the Penguins going to create a bustling arena district with bars and restaurants on the top of the hill?
Also, only 16,000 (or less?) were in attendance last night. I don’t know what the official attendance was, but the empty seats were striking.
To the hockey…
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The who and how. A fun one this one — Dave Molinari’s Penguins recap.
Did you catch the structural change that coach Mike Sullivan deployed? I explain that and more in the Penguins report card.
PHN+: I spoke with Radim Zohorna and Drew O’Connor. They’re sure making a difference, eh? Here are the hows and why direct from the sources in the Penguins locker room.
PHN YouTube: The five-minute Penguins postgame breakdown.
Colorado Hockey Now: Here’s the flip side. How did Evan Rawal (an astute hockey analyst) see the Colorado Avalanche loss?
Here are the specifics on Cam Heyward’s injury.
Is this going to be a problem? Diontae Johnson missed practice.
And a former Steelers OL blasted the secondary, “They’re stealing money!” Here’s some no-hold-barred Steelers analysis.
Pittsburgh Baseball Now
The Pirates need to change things up this winter. John Perrotto’s Pirates analysis.
Check out the home page every day. The boys over at PBN are cranking out content by the handful on the Fall League and counting down the top 30 Pirates prospects. Here’s No. 18 of the series, Jase Bowen, and what to expect from him in 2024. The Pirates Prospects watch.
I can’t tell you how proud I am of beat writer Danny Demelio and contributors Cody Potanko and Griffin Floyd. Those guys have come a long way in a short time. They’re led by John Perrotto, the best in the business.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now
TSN: Shane Pinto was hammered with a 41-game suspension for violating the league’s gambling rules. Few details are available other than he didn’t bet on hockey. Here’s the inside scoop from the TSN Insiders.
I don’t know who Gino Hard is, but that X account has been fire.
We are truly living in the wildest timeline 🤯 pic.twitter.com/5PmsOgY5DX
— Gino Hard (@GinoHard_) October 26, 2023
Sportsnet: “I would have booed, too.” The home fans unleashed on the sinking (or stinking?) Calgary Flames.
We are efforting to hire a Calgary Flames beat writer. It’s not easy in the smaller markets with big blogs, but we’re trying. Our professional experience requirement makes it a little more difficult, but if you live in Calgary and have experience, hit me up. I think that team needs to be covered closely.
Sportsnet Vancouver: Hello Casey DeSmith. Remember him? Three stellar starts have coach Rick Tocchet using him more, and the team feels pretty good about him.
Montreal Hockey Now: The Canadiens injuries are mounting, but that’s a big opportunity on the NHL trade front.
Detroit Hockey Now: Dylan Larkin is motoring. He’s racking up points in every game for the Detroit Red Wings.
Vegas Hockey Now: The new term for firewagon hockey is “high event.” I prefer track meet, firewagon, wide open, or pond hockey, but you get the idea. Chris Gawlik reports that there’s a lot of high-event hockey going on with the undefeated Vegas Golden Knights.
NYI Hockey Now: A scary moment as Erik Brannstrom was stretchered off the ice after a hit from Cal Clutterbuck. The Isles ended their three-game skid. The New York Islanders postgame.
Philly Hockey Now: The scrappy kids in orange don’t know they’re supposed to stink. Bobby Brink scored a pair against Minnesota, and the Philadelphia Flyers are rolling.
The Flyers made some roster moves, too, but Morgan Frost is still benched.
Carolina Hockey Now: Mr. Game 7 Justin Williams is being named to the Carolina Hurricanes Hall of Fame.