Fischler’s One-Timers: What the Penguins should do with Crosby, and defending Julien

Stan Fischler
Sidney Crosby

* Now’s the time for the Penguins to trade Sidney Crosby. The No-Longer-Kid is on the downside of his peak and won’t achieve his heroics of yesteryear. Still time for the Pens to cash in on a return. Who’d be realistic trade partners? How about the Canadiens, Maple Leafs or Kings?

* Anyone who says the Penguins never would deal their captain has forgotten that icons Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier once said au revoir to Edmonton. Only Edmontonians were unhappy.

* When the Rangers waived Tanner Glass, the move told the rest of the NHL that the Blueshirts could win without a certified tough guy. The trend continues. That, however, could change if Alain Vigneault decides to give Dylan McIlrath a regular turn on defense. Right now, Dan Boyle is in Dylan’s way.

* If The Hockey News ever publishes another wonderful “Jersey Issue,” I would include the star-spangled uniform worn by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutters (1942-44) in the thrilling, old Eastern Amateur Hockey League.

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Remembering Phil Kessel as a Leaf

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
Phil Kessel (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The end of the 2014-15 NHL season was anything but sunshine and roses for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs went from being in a playoff position before the new year to winning just nine of 44 games over the final four months of the season. They plummeted to the fourth-worst in the standings.

The team’s stars were bound to come under fire with a winning percentage like that poor and right winger Phil Kessel was front and centre.

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Bigger villain: Stars audio guy or puck-stealing fan?

Jared Clinton
A fan in Pittsburgh snatches a souvenir away from a young boy. (via YouTube)

Because it’s the day before Halloween, October 30 goes by a few names. Some call it Mischief Night, others say Devil’s Night and there are those who refer to the eve of Halloween as Gate Night. It’s a day known for playful troublemaking as part of the spirit of Halloween.

However, there are those who tend to jump the gun, and Thursday there were two offenders up to some shenanigans to kick off Mischief Night a bit early. In Dallas, the Stars’ production crew came up with an evil plot to hurt the ears of fans arena-wide, while one fan in Pittsburgh snatched a souvenir away from the hands of a young man. Read more

Hanifin, Reinhart probably stay in NHL, but other teams have decisions to make

Noah Hanifin (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Noah Hanifin was a healthy scratch Tuesday night for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Detroit Red Wings and Sam Reinhart was not on the ice for practice Wednesday morning for the Buffalo Sabres. It’s enough to get a guy to thinking there’s a chance these guys might not be much longer for the NHL this season.

After all, Reinhart played in his ninth game of the season Sunday night and Hanifin had played eight before being scratched. Both are teenagers on entry-level deals and their teams must decide very soon whether it would be best to keep them in the NHL or send them to the minors so their contracts slide back a year.

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Stars’ Jason Demers suspended two games for elbowing Penguins’ Nick Bonino

Jared Clinton
Jason Demers elbow on Nick Bonino (via Streamable)

The NHL Department of Player Safety has suspended Dallas Stars blueliner Jason Demers two games for his elbowing major on Pittsburgh Penguins center Nick Bonino.

Demers’ elbow on Bonino occurred late in Thursday’s contest between the Stars and Penguins. With the Stars up 4-1 over the Penguins in the third period, Bonino came towards Demers, who was chasing a loose puck into the corner following an empty-net attempt. As Bonino came near, Demers lunged backwards with his body and caught Bonino in the face with an elbow: Read more

Penguins move Kessel off Crosby’s line. Too soon or the right move?

Matt Larkin
Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Can Phil Kessel’s demotion to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ second line be surprising and unsurprising simultaneously?

On one hand, any time a goal scorer of Kessel’s ilk gets pulled away from an elite playmaking center, it’s a shock. No one will ever mistake Kessel for a complete player. But the few tools he does possess in that belt sure are effective. Kessel has great speed, soft hands and an electric wrist shot. So when we consider his skill set, it feels crazy to imagine him failing to gel with any great offensive player, let alone Sidney Crosby, one of the world’s best.

On the other hand, plenty of people predicted Kessel and Crosby would fit together like a Lego brick and a jigsaw puzzle piece: awkwardly. Kessel is a sniper but prefers to generate chances for himself off the rush. There aren’t too many Kessel one-timer highlights, right? It feels like every Kessel goal comes from him gaining the zone and uncorking his trademark wrister from the right wing. His first tally as a Penguin:

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Torts, Duclair, Dupuis and Hamburgler all mark firsts tonight

Anthony Duclair (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins get to see what they’ve been missing, the New York Rangers get to see what might have been, the Ottawa Senators get to see their feel-good story from last season and the Columbus Blue Jackets get to see how their new world will look as the NHL marks a hosts of firsts tonight.

* The one that will be the most compelling is John Tortorella’s first game behind the Blue Jackets bench when they visit the Minnesota Wild. A season that started with such high hopes has evolved into a disaster in a hurry. Should the Blue Jackets lose in Tortorella’s debut tonight, they’d be owners of the worst start in the NHL in more than 70 years. Tortorella obviously will not have a chance to put his stamp on the team in time for this game, but motivation should not be a problem for them. Teams often receive an early bump from a coaching change and that’s exactly what the Blue Jackets are seeking with
Tortorella behind the bench.

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