Trying to move on from a rough Saturday night, the Penguins returned to practice on Monday looking to correct what had ailed them through the season’s first two games. It is a good thing the Pens have this four day break before their next contest on Thursday evening, because they look like a team who needs to re-calibrate so they can get back on track as soon as possible.
Ease into your Tuesday with a fresh edition of Pens Points...
It was an even split for the Penguins in their opening two games of the season but even a win on opening night came with a lot of issues on the defensive side of things. There is no question the offensive talent will win them a lot of games, but it will be fixing the blue line that solves the bigger issues. [Pensburgh]
Whatever head coach Mike Sullivan plans on doing to help fix the team’s early defensive woes, captain Sidney Crosby knows the team can’t sit and wait around for the defense to catch up to the offense or they could be facing another early hole. [Trib Live]
One option the Penguins seem to be exploring is one nobody would have seen coming a month ago. Replacing Olli Maatta, Juuso Riikola was paired with Jamie Oleksiak during practice on Monday in the designated third pairing. Riikola shocked everyone by making the team out of camp, now it seems like he will be making his NHL debut in the near future. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Following Saturday’s lopsided loss to the Canadiens, Mike Sullivan ripped his team a new one in the locker room after the contest. We won’t know until Thursday the full impact of Sullivan’s rant, but the coach feels safe in saying his message got through. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Sullivan reinforced his point during Monday’s practice with an uptempo, grueling skate that put players on notice just how serious their head coach was on Saturday night. During the session, Sullivan had his players focusing on the little details of the game he felt they were overlooking. [Pittsburgh Hockey Now]
After recovering from injury, goaltender Tristan Jarry was officially assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL over the weekend. This did not come as a surprise to Jarry, as he struggled late in the preseason and was always No. 2 behind Casey DeSmith from the beginning of camp. [Wilkes-Barre Times Leader]
If you were planning on attending Thursday night’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights to see Marc-Andre Fleury return to Pittsburgh, then we have some bad news. According to reports out of Vegas, Fleury will not be in goal for the Knights on Thursday. Instead, backup Malcolm Subban will get the start in goal. [Pensburgh]
A few days after Travis Williams stepped down as COO and General Counsel, the Penguins have already named his replacement. Kevin Acklin, former Chief of Staff to Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto, has been named as the Penguins Senior Vice President and General Counsel. Acklin will being work on November 1 and be in charge of development at the former Civic Arena site. [Penguins]
News and notes from around the NHL...
Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Auston Matthews was named the NHL’s first star of the week with five goals and three assists in the team’s first three games of the season. Jonathan Toews and goalie Ben Bishop were named the second and third stars, respectively. [Sportsnet]
Ready to feel old? Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov scored his first career goal on Monday evening, making him the first player born in the year 2000 to score a goal at the NHL level. [Yahoo! Sports]
Not even a week into the season, and the injuries are starting to pile up. James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers will miss 5-6 weeks with a knee injury, and Brandon Dubinsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets will be sidelined 4-6 weeks with a strained oblique. [Broad Street Hockey & The Cannon]
With the NHL set to expand to Seattle in the near future, the league will likely be wrapping up its expansion era when it hits 32 teams. That leaves a few prospective cities on the outside looking in and will have to find another way to get a franchise if they so wish. [Washington Post]