Hey, we’re back! We took last week off for Thanksgiving and frankly (Jeff don’t read this), I didn’t want to do it. The takes had become too spectacular, too stupid and then I checked the calendar. Sorry to pull a man out of his retirement, but I’ll let our former leader here sum it all up:
Yeah, that. Anyway, since you last joined us, Murray got hurt, the Tanner Pearson trade is going gangbusters, Penguins brought back an old friend and our guy Peep showed true heart and grit attempting the 3-on-3 Challenge.
Pens have taken eight points out of a possible 10 in their last five games. Do we wish it was prettier? Hell yeah we do, but they don’t ask how, they only ask how many.
Here’s the thing: The Flyers firing Hextall and not Hakstol is good because Paul Holmgren is back at the helm for the time-being and man…he doesn’t give any shred of a shit when it comes to GM decorum. Gretz has a great look back at a year where he just went off.
I can hear Brian Burke weeping from here:
Been an up-and-down kinda start to the season for Carolina, but guess what? Sports is entertainment. You want to grow the game and bring in new fans? Do stuff like this. The hockey will always be there and always take care of itself.
Jeff Skinner is about to get paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaid:
You’d think firing a GM would solve your woes, right Philly? Wrong. While having Paul Holmgren back may provide us with endless entertainment, it’s going to cause quite some agony in the Gritty City.
Speaking of teams that had a firing this month…for the first time in franchise history the Golden Knights set a franchise record after boatracing the Blackhawks last night. I know the Pens aren’t the well-oiled machine we’ve come to expect, but woof. They might be on the back nine, but Chicago’s GPS drove them into a lake.
Maybe this isn’t worthy of being in “The Bad,” but given where the Panarin-Blue Jackets relationship is…I don’t think this is anything other than a courtesy meeting.
The Ottawa Senators, a team that just about two short years ago was one shot from the Stanley Cup Final is now in complete disarray. Sure, the team on the ice is way out performing expectations, but away from the rink, it is bad. The quest for a new arena makes what happened in the mid 2000s here look quant. From 31 Thoughts:
“You don’t have to be Einstein to recognize the damage this could do. There is a conspiracy theory that all of this manoeuvring is a long-term play to box-in Melnyk, force him to sell at a discounted price. I can see that being a plan.”
This poor child. You’re gonna be raised to be insufferable either way.
What These Numbers Tell Us: Last year we all watched in awe as Vegas somehow defied the PDO gods and made a run to the Stanley Cup Final. This year, Buffalo finds themselves in a similar situation. They weren’t supposed to be good, at least not this good. They’ve been aided by a lot of one-goal games and OT wins, but as we said above, they don’t ask how, they just ask how many. Banking points early in a top-heavy Atlantic Division could pay dividends later.
East coast bias may be a thing. Colorado, despite playing in a relatively weak Central Division, is keeping pace with an absolutely loaded Nashville squad. Not to mention Rantanen and MacKinnon are one and two respectively in scoring. Outside of their brilliance, we haven’t heard much about the team overall. Sneaky good team that is starting to show they’re for real.
No one told the Rangers they were supposed to be bad. 13-10-12 on the surface isn’t all that impressive, but they’ve made hay against the true basement-dwellers of the NHL in the first two months. Their goal differential is only a -1, so the bottom falling out of this thing just might happen. For now, a surprise in the east.
The Penguins, as we all know, are trending upwards. Taking eight of ten in their last five has them sitting six points off the division-leading Caps and two points back of the second wild card spot in the east. A solid road trip and couple weeks and this ship is back on course.
The Week Ahead:
Well, one of the biggest surprises of the early NHL season is Colorado. The Pens head there tonight to take on Nathan MacKinnon and his band of merry men. After getting their noses dirty last night and getting a win in Winnipeg, they’re going to have to dig deep for this one. Colorado is a damn good team, but they’re coming off a road win of their own last night, beating Nashville 3-2.
Know Your Enemy: Mile High Hockey
After tonight, the Pens get two days off to head home and prepare for the last place team in the Metro, the Philadelphia Flyers. This is the first time we’ve seen the orange and black since the Pens knocked them out of the playoffs last year. They’re uh…not great!
Know Your Enemy: Broad Street Hockey
Then on Tuesday, it’s the Avs again, this time at The Paint Can.
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