Welcome back to the Grab Bag. What a week for the Pens I tell ya! They blanked Toronto on Thursday. Between that game and last night’s OT thriller children were born, raised, graduated college and are now seeking employment that isn’t there.
Anyway, let’s get to what we saw here on these very internets this week.
It’s not even fair.
The Central Division is an absolute dogfight. On the other hand, the Pacific is trrrrrrrash…well, except for the Sharks. The Preds and Sharks met last night and…just watch the highlights. Unreal amount of talent on display.
If you don’t already have a subscription to The Athletic, what’re you doing? Anyway – Justin Bourne’s latest about NHL players in this new generation finally having a voice and giving something other than canned quotes is worth your time.
Love him or hate ‘em, Edzo opened up about beating colon cancer and getting back in the broadcast booth.
Good: Getting 33 shots on goal in a single period. Bad: Being the team that let a team get 33 shots on goal in a single period.
Canes Country over at SB Nation translated a Swedish newspaper interview with former defenseman Niclas Wallin. Sure, not a big name, but yet another example of how dangerous and scary life post-hockey with a history of concussion injuries can be.
Is this good?
Oh, how the mighty have fallen…
This is only going in the ugly because since its appearance, Laviolette said it’s retired. I want every postgame and post-practice media scrum to have more props.
*Evgeni Malkin tied for 4th with 13 points along with Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, McDavid, John Carlson, Kuznetsov, Marchand and Nicklas Backstrom.
*Luongo excluded due to being on IR and having only 1GP.
What These Numbers Tell Us: Oh boy, we’re getting dangerously close to that ten-game sample size where I actually have to put up some analysis…
As we all predicted, the Atlantic Division was going to be top heavy, with Toronto, Boston and Tampa all gearing up for what should be a big year, it was expected that Montreal would be setting the pace in that division.
I think it’s safe to say that Sidney Crosby broke Auston Matthews. Since going on a tear through five games, over his last two, he is pointless. (Both on the scoresheet and philosophically.) On a serious note, though, the hill I will die on re: Toronto is that defense or goaltending will not hold them back. Coaching will. There was plenty of sample size to show that when Sid matched up against Matthews, Matthews was consistently a non-factor. So what did supposed Best Coach on Earth Mike Babcock do at home with last change? Match Matthews with Sid for two periods. Woof.
Still, with less than 10 games played, we still have much to learn. Montreal, Anaheim and Carolina could easily flame out or somehow defy the PDO gods. The Penguins could find a stride and who knows what the hell else will happen in this beautifully random sport of ours.
The Week Ahead:
The Western Canada swing continues tomorrow when the Pens head to the Saddledome (or whatever corporation owns the naming rights) for a showdown with the Flames. Old friend James “The Knee Deal” Neal finds himself in the flaming C.
Know Your Enemy: Matchsticks and Gasoline
Saturday night, it’s off to the Pacific Northwest to take on a very passionate fanbase in Vancouver. Rookie sensation Elias Pettersson hasn’t returned from his concussion yet, but could be back in time for this one. Let’s hope. Nothing like the Pens rolling into a Canadian market with a young superstar and breaking them.
Know Your Enemy: Canucks Army
Lastly, on Tuesday the Pens are back at the Paint Can to take on the Islanders, who are still taking losing their captain very well.
To be fair, if I was a generational talent surrounded by nothing but hollowed out boat shoes and career AHLers, I’d probably skip town too.
Know Your Enemy: Islanders Insight
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