The Pittsburgh Penguins were moved. From Evgeni Malkin tearing up in the locker room before his 1000th game to Sidney Crosby dominating the final minutes of the third period to rescue a win, it was a special night for the Penguins’ core. More big names are being linked to the Washington Capitals in the NHL trade rumors, as something has to give for the decimated and nosediving Caps. The Vancouver Canucks are a bit of a mess, and Jim Rutherford said that means they are willing to trade a player or two they didn’t want to deal. And the Penguins have won three in a row.
It’s hard to believe I’m typing this before heading home. Home! In the past five weeks, I’ve spent less than a week at home, which means neither have the Penguins. I feel like I’m hungover, but believe it or not, I haven’t had a drop. This gets to you. Granted, the players don’t have to fly commercial and worry about ridiculous flight times in and out of Winnipeg, but it takes a toll on the body.
The funny thing is, now the Penguins must guard against complacency from being at home for too long. Even the boys get Honey-Do lists and family responsibilities. This NHL schedule is the worst. Makes no sense. And I’m quite sure the cumulative TV ratings will reflect that. Gee, the league saw record ratings in the pandemic season with a shorter schedule and exclusively division games. Yet they adopted not even a little bit of that for this season. In fact, they did the opposite. Fewer games vs. rivals! You can’t teach an NHL dog any tricks.
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Pittsburgh Penguins/Steelers, Pirates
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The appreciation post. It’s been a long road since escaping from a Helsinki airport to pursue his dream. Stanley Cups. Hunger. Fortunes. Family. From daring origins to Evgeni Malkin’s 1000th game.
Takeaways: Malkin scored. So, too, did Sidney Crosby in the final minutes. Crosby had 10 points on the road trip, and the 10th was the biggest. I was a bit critical of their game performance after the 5-3 win in Chicago until I saw Mike Sullivan have trouble digesting it all. That changed the tenor and tone — check out the Pittsburgh Penguins analysis.
Go inside the Penguins locker room — I thought Kris Letang had the best quote, when we asked if he could see the emotion on Malkin. From Sullivan, Crosby, Letang, and the man of the hour, Yevgeny Malkin.
- Uh Oh — a Bengals linebacker called out the Steelers’ offensive play-calling. Postgame Steelers.
- What happened to the Steelers’ offense? They led at the half, then were stuffed in the second. How does the Steelers offense recover?
- Hunter Homistek reacts — the truth about Kenny Pickett isn’t pretty.
I’ll watch the game when I get home (or maybe I shouldn’t). The kickoff coincided with the Marian Hossa jersey retirement ceremony here in Chicago, but those Bengal unis. YUCK.
NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now:
Washington Hockey Now: Bo Horvat is on the NHL trade menu. But what about Erik Karlsson to the Washington Capitals?
The Province: Jim Rutherford has been saber rattling for a few weeks. His team is in a death spiral, despite being pretty talented. That means a big name or two is on their way out the door, according to Rutherford. But who will the Canucks put on the NHL trade market?
NYI Hockey Now: The Penguins’ rival, the Islanders, are doing well enough in the standings, even as the roster is showing cracks. Josh Bailey has been a healthy scratch for several games, and his replacement has been benched in games. Stefen Rosner writes that Lou Lamoriello can’t wait until the NHL trade deadline to add a forward for the New York Islanders.
Vegas Hockey Now: Vegas is hot. C’mon, you have to give it up for Oscar Wilde wordplay like that! Anyway, the Golden Knights are rolling, but they also need forward depth. Here are the players to watch in the NHL trade rumors.
Montreal: I didn’t have a chance to post this until now. You gotta see it — Montreal winger Cole Caufield scored one of those silly goals at which even opponents marvel. He did so against the Philadelphia Flyers, and here’s John Tortorella’s reaction to the Montreal Canadiens snipe.
Boston: They tied the record — 11 straight wins on home ice. And the Boston Bruins don’t plan on stopping.
Detroit: This directly affects the Penguins, and is a big deal. Teams in a playoff position on Thanksgiving most often make the playoffs. And so, can the formerly hapless Detroit Red Wings pull it off?