NHL Headlines 10/7

Cup Rematch: PPG Paints arena will be rocking in a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Final. The surprisingly 0-1-1 Penguins, who got hammered 10-1 against Chicago will take on the 0-1-0 Predators who lost a tough game against the Boston Bruins. This game comes almost 4 months after the last game of the Finals in which the Penguins beat the Preds 2-0 to capture their second straight, and 5th overall Stanley Cup. The Preds and Pens both searching for their first win of the season will make this a marquee matchup for tonight’s’ games.

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Golden Knights Shimmer: The Golden Knights won their first ever game last night against a good Stars team 2-1. James Neal scored twice in the affair, and Marc-Andre Fleury looked strong making 45 saves on 46 shots on goal. A solid outing for a team still in turmoil having to demote Theodore, Shipachyov, and Tuch to their AHL affiliate the Chicago Wolves. The Stars did not look bad, and got good goaltending. Ben Bishop’s injury does not look serious, but this offense will be able to carry them a game or two if he must sit out to Lehtonen. Vegas has a home and home against the Coyotes (one Saturday 10/7 and home opener Tuesday 10/10). Next up for Dallas is a game in St. Louis Saturday.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie; Oi, Oi, Oi: Australian Nathan Walker will become the first Australian born player to make his NHL debut for the Washington Capitals against the Montreal Canadiens. Walker has played the last 4 seasons in the AHL for the Hershey Bears and made the team out of camp this year. This is a major step for Australian players looking to break into the NHL. The AIHL is the professional league in Australia that contains 8 teams across the country. The travel is less than sub par, and they play in less than professional rinks. Hopefully this makes strides in growing the game in another part of the world. With the expansion of the game sin China during the preseason, and now Walker’s debut, the NHL has publicity in 5 continents across the globe and will grow the game. With players like Ben Simmons in the NBA, who is also from Australia, America now sees the athletic growth from the land down under. For more information about the AIHL and what Australian hockey is like, look up Sasky Stewart who is the digital media consultant and employee of the Toronto Maple Leafs, as well as an ambassador for the growth of the women’s pro league CWHL. This is a great stride for the Australian game and will create more publicity for the NHL worldwide.

Three-Peat…Nah…Well Maybe??

Finally, a team I enjoy writing a season preview for. Being a Penguins fan my whole life, the struggles of the early 2000’s have finally accumulated into happiness (talking to you Rags and Flyers fans). This past season has been a year for me to enjoy watching this team beginning to end. The only question moving forward is how can this team repeat…again? This off-season the Penguins figured out major decisions by resigning Brian Dumoulin, Justin Schultz, and Conor Sheary. To go along with that, and to solve the backup goaltending situation, they got a once quality starter in Antti Niemi for a dime on the dollar at $700K. With limited playing time behind 2-time Stanley cup champion, should have been rookie of the year (I may be a little biased) Matt Murray look for Niemi to be a top backup in the league. Looking at this roster, one spot sticks out like a sore thumb. The situation at 3rd line center. As of right now, their should be 4th line center, Carter Rowney is in that spot, while Greg McKegg is anchoring the 4th line. There has been plenty of talks between the Pens and Red Wings to bring 25-year-old Riley Sheahan over to the Steel City and maybe sending a player like Derrick Pouliot (23-years-old defenseman) could be sent Detroit’s way. This could sure up that third line vacancy left by Nick Bonino. This is a strong Penguins team that is not in an absolute cap crunch anymore. This, shall I say, be one more year of another deep postseason run for the Pens. From top to bottom, looking at all the analytics of each individual player, and goaltender, nothing makes it hard to say that the Pens can three-peat. Couple this with an angry Crosby on not winning the Hart trophy, watch out NHL.

New Additions:

Reeves Dab

Not too much to talk about here, yes, the Pens got Ryan Reeves (I stopped asking questions about this decision) and Matt Hunwick who is just a replacement for a lost Ron Hainsey.

The BIGGEST addition to the team this season is the newly found cap space from losing Kunitz in free agency and the Flower to Vegas. This pushes their cap space back to around 2.5 Million dollars which is enough to sure up that 3rd line center situation

Breakout Players:

Kris Letang: He is finally back and looking healthy like before. Expect Kris Letang to go back to Norris Trophy form and with the deadly power play the Penguins have, expect Letang to exceed over 60 points this next season

Jake Guentzel: After a historic, record-breaking post season, Guentzel can excel in his first full NHL season. Do not be surprised to see 25 goals and over 65 points playing with either Crosby or Malkin this is not a far reach whatsoever.

Sidney Crosby: Bold prediction, Crosby will come in 2nd in the Rocket Richard race (behind Laine), but he WILL win the Hart trophy this season. He does not like someone coming into the league and stealing his trophies away.



111 Points, First in Metro, First in Eastern Conference

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