Good morning one and all. Things must be slow in the Burgh because Sid showing up at the DMV to renew his drivers license on Saturday (and apparently being shown to the front of the line) substituted for real hockey news. After a reasonably nice weekend that included Jason Dufner winning his first major, Rafa winning his 25th Masters 1000 title, and the start of the NFL preseason (we won't talk about baseball because, well, we just won't), we are one week closer to hockey. Off we go with today's compilation of news and views.
The Penguins have announced that tickets for the first preseason games will go on sale on Tuesday, August 27. Individual tickets for all regular season home games will go on sale Friday, September 6 (Penguins Announce Ticket On-Sale Dates). Also, all 6 preseason games will be televised.
We now have a new assistant coach in Jacques Martin, and no goalie coach yet. Martin is an experienced, defensive-minded coach whose vast trove of knowledge and authority ought to be received well by the players (Pens Counting on Martin's Experience). I like the hire, and I like that Bylsma recognized the areas where he could strengthen the team's approach and hired someone extremely respected and competent. Now, about that goalie coach... supposedly he's down to 3 final candidates. Get Tom Barrasso out of Russia and give that man a job.
Down Goes Brown lists things he'd fix in the NHL (get rid of that loser point already!), while Katie Baker fights for things that should never change in the NHL. Both are wonderful writers - check them out.
And last, and definitely not least, get ready for this pearl. The Cult of Hockey out of Edmonton has just updated their list of top 50 players in NHL history, first published in 2008 (Wayne Gretzky on Top of The Cult of Hockey’s Top NHL Player Rankings). According to them, Nicklas Lidstrom is the best player of the modern era, and Alex Ovechkin is the best player right now. Also according to them, Sidney Crosby has no place on this list (while Evgeni Malkin does, quite comfortably in a tie for 30th place). While I won't waste too many words explaining how ridiculous that is, the real reason I'm linking to this article is to illustrate how fraught with subjectivity these things are. So much of sports analysis resides on picking your set of criteria (in this case the authors chose votes for Conn Smythe, Hart, and Norris) and omitting others that don't fit the narrative, and off we go. I happen to be of Russian descent and a fan of Ovechkin and especially Malkin, but Sid is definitely one of the top 50, and probably top 25 players of all time even today, and when his career is all said and done, there could be a spot in the top 5 for him.