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Three, no FOUR Stars of the Week

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Bringing you an extra fresh set of stars this week.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning
I love Phil.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hello friends. After a brief hiatus (of the unintentional variety), we’re back this week to give you some more good stuff from the Penguins. Since it’s been a while, I’m gonna play with fire and do FOUR stars — gotta get you that good content.

4. Phil Kessel

God bless Phil Kessel. Yes, he had the overtime winners against both the Oilers and the Jets (#300 #JustPhilThings), but I really just want to take a moment to appreciate Phil here.

Hotdogs taste better out of The Cup! #twotime #statestreetbrats

A post shared by Phil Kessel (@phil_kessel_81_) on

A post shared by Phil Kessel (@phil_kessel_81_) on

My guy posted it twice! I love this man.

3. Steve Mears

Steigy was a legend, I guess. He’s been a mainstay of the Pens for decades, and has made a permanent mark on the club.

All that said — thank the lord that he’s no longer doing play-by-play. I couldn’t even listen to him anymore, it got so bad. Everyone rags on Pierre about his random tangents about where different folks played in Juniors and who they played with, but at least that’s all incredibly impressive knowledge to actually have. Steigy just… talked about random shit. All the time.

At the very least, Mearsy would have been addition by subtraction, but I’ve genuinely enjoyed having him on the broadcasts. He’s sharp, he knows his stuff — he just needs to figure out a goal call and he’ll be set for years.

2. Riley Sheahan

I also wrote last time about the Pens’ third line center situation, and while it isn’t completely solved, they made a big step in trading for Riley Sheahan.

Yeah, Sheahan went a full season without scoring (I’m rounding up), but according to Prashanth Iyer at The Athletic ($), the odds of that happening were less than 0.1%. That’s very low!

Sheahan screams “Jim Rutherford/Mike Sullivan Reclamation Project,” which cannot be a bad thing on its face. Look at Justin Schultz — a bit of usage adjustment and expectation setting and he’s thriving. We can only hope the same will happen with Sheahan.

Lord knows it can’t go as badly as Niemi.

1. Casey DeSmith

I wrote last time about how Antti Niemi was leaving a bit to be desired as the Pens’ backup goaltender. Well… it was more than a bit, since they sent him packing this weekend on the backend of another absolute stinker in net.

The Pens are really struggling to find someone to fill the shoes of Marc-Andre Fleury in this spot, but there is reason for excitement. Sorta. DeSmith probably isn’t the long-term solution here, but he’s been crushing the AHL this season, and he certainly isn’t Niemi, so. Great stuff here.

Apologies again for leaving you guys hanging since last time. I’ll be back next week, so tune in again. Go ‘guins.