Notes After 1 Day of NHL Action

Auston Matthews now has 7 points in 2 season-opening games.  *Disclaimer: Do not hold breath waiting to see what he does in next season’s inaugural game.  Doctors say that holding breath for that length can sometimes cause death.  PAPuckChronicles and all affiliates are not responsible for any voluntary suffocation.

Wayne Simmonds is on pace to score 246 goals this season.  

The Oilers have decided to rename the franchise The Edmonton McDavids.  Leon Draisaitl was the only member of McDavid’s supporting cast that could be found for comment.  Those comments were in German

Alex Pietrangelo is awesome (not news, but it needed to be said).


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!


El Capitan Returns

Let us just call Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews rabbits…

Sidney Crosby returned from a concussion on Tuesday after an abysmal display by the Penguins in the previous game against Nashville. The Panthers did an excellent job keeping him off the scoreboard. Until they didn’t. They left him alone in the slot. On a powerplay. ALONE.

That play helped spark the Penguins to another 3-2 win, their 4th of the season. And let’s face it…the Penguins going 3-2-1 without Crosby is about as good as they could hope for. The big stars stepped up as expected but there is only so much you can accomplish without having the best player on the world in your lineup.

I can’t wait to see if he can go on a tear and run the league as he has in the past.

McDavid and Matthews came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. I am surprised Matthews has been able to score like he has and the Toronto media hasn’t eaten him alive yet. I expect McDavid to stay in the top 5 in scoring all season. IF he can stay healthy (with the big goon Lucic by his side, I don’t expect too many body shots getting through without repercussions).

Shout out to Matt Cullen, the ageless wonder. Not many 4th line centers in this league that coach would willingly put in the spot typically occupied by the #1 center.


Fleury Watch is on….
-Murray signs a new deal
-Murray returns from injury and is placed in the back up roll awaiting his first start of the season
-Penguins don’t send Condon down yet to risk losing him on waivers

…this will be a fun progression of events as the trade deadline approaches. If he doesn’t move by then, I wonder what tricks JR has up his sleeve for the expansion draft.

Fun fact:
There are 79 rookie skaters in the NHL so far this year…the Penguins have 1, Scott Wilson. They also have 1 rookie goalie waiting to play his first game of the season (4 rookie goalies have GP in the NHL this season) and he has his name on the Cup…Matt Murray.



Fleury Trade Theories

Let’s face it: Fleury’s on his way out of Pittsburgh.  Here are some of my hopeful trade partners and possible returns:


Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury


Winnipeg: An antique Atlanta Thrashers jersey with fabled Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk’s name on the back (Current ebay price: $40)


Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury + Kris Letang’s hair


SKT Moscow: An actual flower and Kris Letang’s lost dignity


Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury + Matt Cullen’s freedom


Buffalo: Ryan O’Reilly’s stick.


Pittsburgh: Marc-Andre Fleury


Las Vegas: ….  ….  maybe they’ll pay for his plane ticket after the expansion draft?


But on to real news.  Travis Konecny has more points than all but 3 players in the Penguins lineup.  This kid has shown poise, creativity and confidence.  I’m elated.

Oh, and let’s not talk about Sean Couturier just yet.  Let’s let everyone else figure it out on their own…

The Flyers early schedule has been rocky, to say the least, but has also shown flashes of excellence in short bursts.  The Flyers will pair up Ivan Provorov with Brandon Manning tonight, as the Streit/Provo combination hasn’t lived up to expectation thus far.  This may initially look like a throwaway pairing, but Manning has built a modicum of trust with the coaches in the first four games, and his 3 assists and +3 rating really represent the effort he’s been putting forward in my eyes.

I’m unlikely to catch tonight’s game, unfortunately, unless my lovely girlfriend and I are going to start making hockey games at weddings a tradition, which, now that I’m thinking about it, is kind of an excellent idea.

Side Note: Good for Vancouver and good for Edmonton.  So far.

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