The First Wave

Hockey fans, awakened from their summer slumber, turn their snouts skyward.  The autumnal breeze from beyond the horizon brings rumors of a new season.  Unshaven and grotesque, these creatures will slowly meld into their favorite team’s jersey over the coming days.  Families will be put on hold, careers dismissed, for the offseason is ending and there will be hockey once more.

One such icetop zealot is the Flyers fan, who can be recognized by his surly expressions and colorful taunting of referees.  This unruly creature sacrifices hockey but once a week to pay respects to the Church of Carson Wentz.

Speaking of, howboudemiggles?

ging

With the new season, the Flyers are starting to see their prospect pool flood over into the NHL:

Taylor Leier and Robert Hagg, who have been teammates for the last three years, are both sticking with the Flyers.  Scott Laughton, who already has over 100 games of NHL experience, has also earned himself a role back with the big club.

Morin and Sanheim seem to be fighting for the last roster spot on defense.  Both players looked excellent in preseason and will likely be on the Flyers roster by season’s end, but the team’s choice to waive Read over Manning or MacDonald may mean that there’s reluctance to play out the season with three rookie defensemen.  Sanheim seems the likely choice to be sent down once Ghost is healthy, but will have the opportunity to prove himself in the meantime.  

Oskar Lindblom, unfortunately, will spend some time in the AHL to start the year.  Though he played a strong all-around game in the preseason, he looked a little starstruck on offense.  He’ll be a call-up candidate for injury once he gets comfortable.

Oh, and Nolan Patrick fought David Krejci.

hqdefault

This season will be about growth for the Flyers.  These young players will have to become the veterans that guide future waves of prospects the same way that Provorov and Gostisbehere must do now.

PA Puck Chronicles is back with an awesome new logo.  Here’s to a new season of hockey.

Advertisements

Slow and steady wins the 3rd line center race?

Here we are, 3 days from Opening Night. GM Jim Rutherford has yet to pull the trigger on a deal to acquire an anchor (not the Hal Gill type of anchor) for the 3rd line.

Strength down the center has been the mantra of this Crosby-era Penguins franchise: Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Sutter, Bonino, Cullen.

This year’s starting four in the middle: Crosby, Malkin, McKegg, Rowney.

I mean, really, you can’t complain with the first two on the list, but us Penguin fans have been a little spoiled as of late. Carter Rowney was a 27-year old rookie, who almost doubled his career NHL games played during the 2017 Stanley Cup run (oh, the Penguins won b-t-dubbs.) McKegg has a few more games played but on some much worse teams so maybe surrounded with some significant players, he can make an impact.

But I do not see McKegg keeping that 3rd line spot for long unless he lays a golden egg.

GMJR is on record as saying he has been keeping tabs on three centers from across the league. Names haven’t been confirmed, but one is suspected to be Riley Sheahan (read a tear jerking article from The Athletic on Riley.) Sheahan is looking to improve on last season’s abysmal showing (2G, 11A) which shouldn’t be that difficult.

My dark-horse pick is going to Adam Johnson. The undrafted college free agent signed a 2-year ELC with the Penguins after impressing in the annual Rookie Camp. He followed that with an impressive Rookie Tournament showing. Coach Sully gave him every chance to show what he has in the pre-season, loading his wings with legit NHL 3rd-liners. He was sent down to the minors, but if McKegg falters I would expect he gets the call.

 

Quick hits

Players to watch
Daniel Sprong – wicked shot, needs work defensively (didn’t Kessel come with the same description?)
Zach Aston-Reese – Hornqvist’s replacement, spent loads of time with Kessel/Malkin
Matt Murray – “To he honest, I feel like I’ve been quite average the past couple of years.”

The Athletic launches in Pittsburgh, steals writer from existing sports subscription service, then Montreal-based writer calls out Mario Lemieux over White House visit. Hilarity ensues.

New Logo – let me know what you think!

 

4 wins away…

Here we go again…
Stanley. Cup. Finals.
The hardest trophy to win in sports is just 4 wins away for two teams. The Preds were the pre-season favorites, and I wanted to pick them in my (abysmal) playoff bracket. The Pens have had some highs and lows through the regular season and playoffs battling some significant and lengthy absences from everyday players. 

This could be the last set of games for multiple players in a Penguins uniform and a couple more may choose to retire. Matt Cullen is looking for his third cup ring and might very well hang them up at the end of the year. Kunitz, a guy I have constantly said the Penguins should trade, is going for his fourth, and without him the Pens might not be in this situation. Kunitz may very well cement himself in grinder history with his Cup rings and Olympic Gold, and who would blame the 37 year old forward? Stories like these are what push the Pens. Hagelin stated after ECF G7 that he looked at Cullen sitting beside him on the bench and didn’t want his last NHL game to be a Game 7 loss. 

Most analysts break down series by comparing the teams Goaltending, Defense, and Forwards against each other. I think if you compare Rinne vs. Murray, Preds top 4 D vs. Pens patchwork backend, and the Top 2 lines of both teams, I don’t think anyone can say the Predators are NOT the favorite to win Lord Stanley’s Mug. 

BUT…

Murray doesn’t face Rinne head to head. The D-men don’t go out there to match up against Subban & Josi. 

The Penguins have rolled their lines all season so expect then to do that early in games and when they have a lead. They go four centers deep and with a few tweaks and some hopeful injury reports have speed and grit on every line. How will the Preds D withstand a constant attack? Rinne can stop anything at points in his game, but if the Penguins can keep enough pressure and throw the kitchen sink at him, will he remain a brick wall? The Penguins blueliners have done an excellent job insulating Murray who has been nothing short of fabulous since returning. This patchwork-6 goes out, does a yeoman’s work and waits for their next opportunity. Murray is calm beyond his years, thrives under pressure, and has excellent hair. 

Looking from this point of view, I find it much harder to pick a favorite. The ’08 Penguins making their first SCF got shellacked in their first 2 games against the Red Wings and couldn’t scratch their way back for a third win. From this homer (not to be confused with Homer [Iliad] or Homer [Simpsons]) I’m looking for the Penguins to come out strong and keep their home ice advantage. 

Whatever you do, whomever you root for, just watch the games and enjoy!

The Continuation of the Chronicling of the Chronicles

Ladies and gentlemen, you can cease your relentless outrage; by popular demand, PA Puck Chronicles has returned, with more Philly surliness, more Pittsburgh (expletive) and a complete and thorough omission of any mention of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Except for that one.

Speaking of which, let’s talk about anything else.  

zach-werenski-shirt-960x480

You know, I’d sign a hockey jersey for somebody too if they wore a picture of my face to a game.

Therapists have told me, and several bartenders agreed, that I should just enjoy these playoffs and appreciate the opportunity to see the creativity and drive of hockey’s best on the sport’s most exciting platform.  I don’t understand why I can’t find a therapist who is a reasonable human being.  

Instead, I’m going to stubbornly hang out over here in the offseason.

ohnmaxkbucxy

The Flyers find themselves in the advantageous spot of selecting second overall in next month’s entry draft.  From what I’ve read from the scouting community, there is little consensus in the debate between Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier other than that Patrick has the size advantage and a superior shot, but Hischier is more creative and a better overall skater.  

And ol’ Ronny Hextall gets to sit back, congratulate his scouts on a job well done and let the New Jersey Devils decide who they take second overall.  And then he’ll tell his scouts to get back to work because the Flyers have ten more picks after that first rounder.

Don’t you worry PA Puck Chroniclers, we’ll be back soon.  I just can’t deal with the hate mail any longer.  And the protesting has to stop (We have a lot of fans in Venezuela).

Special thanks to the overwhelming support of our fan.