In case you haven’t heard, the NHL is planning on moving forward with Phase Three on Monday, which means official training camps will begin for all teams across the 24 team playoff that is planned on starting on August 1st. Lots more is going on as well, so I’ll try to keep it organized as much as possible. It’s been a long time since there’s been newsworthy articles to fill up a Pens Points. So buckle in and get refreshed with a Saturday morning Pens Points.
The NHL and the NHLPA each put pen to paper and reached a new agreement on a four year extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The two sides also agreed upon an official playoff plan with games starting in the two hub cities, Toronto and Edmonton, on August 1st. This is big news as a hockey fan as I’ve never actually recalled the two sides coming to an agreement so quickly in my lifetime. All it took was a worldwide pandemic. [NHL.com]
As mentioned above, Toronto and Edmonton are the hosts of the two hub cities. The Eastern Conference will play in Toronto and the Western Conference will play in Edmonton. The Stanley Cup Final will take place in Edmonton no later than October 4th. The 2019-20 season began on October 2nd, 2019. Here’s everything you need to know about the two hub cities. [NHL.com]
The league never reached a conclusion in the regular season (BOS did win the President’s Trophy), so the top four seeds in each Conference are at stake and should produce some excitement featuring the best teams fighting for the top positions moving forward. NBC Sports ranked each Conference by teams with the most on the line. [NBC Sports]
The New Jersey Devils quietly made some major news recently as they tagged former Penguins AGM Tom Fitzgerald as their new General Manager and his announcement of signing coach Lindy Ruff as new head coach. It led to mostly mixed reviews, and didn’t really get much of a reaction from me. Gone are the days of Lamoriello in New Jersey. [All About The Jersey]
From your friends at Pensburgh:
Now that things are official, you might as well get a familiar with the schedule against Montreal. If things go accordingly, there’s a chance that Sidney Crosby could play on his 33rd birthday on August 7th. Hockey in the dog days of summer. That sounds like a dream come true right now.
When the teams face off in August, each team will have 31 players in their bubble. That creates some interesting players on the fringe, as there aren’t many questions at the top. Here’s a pretty good look at what the Penguins will look like in Phase Four.
Even though most positions are settled, one major question mark, as always, will be the man between the pipes. Matt Murray has two Cup rings (as a rookie!), a .921 save percentage, and 2.16 GAA in 48 playoff games which sounds like a no-brainer in net. However, it’s not that easy of a decision as Tristan Jarry pulled more than his fair share early on last season to keep the Penguins in contention.
And in the fallout of the new CBA recently signed, the NHL will have a flat cap for the next two seasons equaling the $81.5 million this season. That ripple effect will be felt across the league and the Penguins will be no exception with several players due raises and several other bloated contracts that now become more costly long term.
As mentioned above, the Devils hired former Penguins Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald as new their new GM. Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has been around a long time in the NHL and his “GM Tree” has branches reaching far and wide all across the NHL.
Upon taking the Penguins job, Rutherford assembled a small dream team of assistant general managers. In his first season with the Penguins, Rutherford had Jason Botterill, Bill Guerin, Tom Fitzgerald, and Jason Karmanos beneath him. [PGH Hockey Now]
It’s been a long time since the Penguins played a game. That game was also a long time since Jake Guentzel played a game. His season was supposed to have ended on December 30th last year when he injured his shoulder and was projected to be out for 4-6 months. August 1st will make it seven months since that injury. The last time he touched a puck, he scored a goal. Hopefully he picks up right where he left off. [PPG]
The Flyers frenemy blog created a rivalry series like only Philadelphia could - by listing several reason to hate each team in the NHL from their personal and Flyers-centric feelings. They sometimes even mention what they like about other teams. They finally revealed how the feel about the Penguins, and also what they like about the Pens. Who knew they didn’t like Penguins fans so much? [Broad Street Hockey]
Thanks for stopping by and hopefully those links get you through the day a little quicker, which brings us one day closer to the NHL returning! Stay safe everyone.