God bless hockey. As there exist worries from at least one NBA analyst that basketball players will sneak out of the quarantined bubble city for a booty call, and baseball players are opting out of a totally botched 60-game schedule, which is already suffering from testing snafus, hockey is almost back in its full glory. Thankfully, we have the Pittsburgh Penguins highlights courtesy of a team released practice video.
Sidney Crosby made a vintage no-look backhand pass between the legs. Matt Murray made a diving save as the puck fluttered high into the air and over the net.
The players laughed. The 30-second team-released video is the proper tonic for millions of hockey starved fans who are anxiously awaiting the start of Phase 3 training camp on July 13 and Phase 4 games on August 1. Those dates are pending the NHL Board of Governors and NHLPA ratification of the new four-year CBA extension and return to play protocols.
We will eventually see the Stanley Cup awarded in Edmonton to a team that has weathered the most bizarre season in NHL history, complete with a four-month work-stoppage, confining bubble city quarantine restrictions and empty stands.
The Pittsburgh Penguins look like they’re ready for training camp. If you look closely in the video, you’ll also notice Conor Sheary on Crosby’s right-wing with Jake Guentzel on Crosby’s left. We’ve expected Guentzel with Crosby, so it does answer that question. Though we still haven’t seen Malkin working with linemates. The quick clips we’ve seen of Jason Zucker haven’t been conclusive. We also haven’t seen Patrick Marleau working on any lines yet.
The Penguins face the Montreal Canadiens in the Qualifying Round, which will begin on Aug. 1. If you’re just catching up, the QR will be a short five-game series and the winner will advance to Round One of the NHL playoffs. The loser will be in the NHL Draft Lottery, phase 2, with a 12.5% chance at the first overall pick.
As for the highlights, you can see Murray’s diving glove swipe at 17 seconds. Sidney Crosby fooled the defensemen with a Crosby-esque pass at 22 seconds into the video. It’s just a small taste, but it sure is nice to have hockey highlights.
For full coverage of the new CBA extension and the Phase 3 and Phase 4 protocols, see PHN’s reports here.
And you can check out the bubble city life here.
Is it time for training camp yet? pic.twitter.com/oDubhdvohh
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) July 6, 2020