It’s generally assumed by everyone who knows anything about hockey that the Pittsburgh Penguins will be trading Marc-Andre Fleury instead of protecting him and losing goaltender Matt Murray to the expansion draft. And while I agree that losing Matt Murray for nothing would be terrible, I also feel that, if I were GM Jim Rutherford, I’d trade Matt Murray over trading Marc-Andre Fleury.
The first time I went to a Pittsburgh Penguins game in person it was March 15, 2015, an afternoon game against the Red Wings. It was the second of back-to-back afternoon games, and Evgeni Malkin had been injured the game before against the Bruins. The whole team was injured and trying to battle through it – that game, Patric Hornqvist would crack his ribs but play through them to the end of the season.
I hardly remember the game, honestly. I was in such a haze of overwhelmed excitement that unless I had pictures, I’d think going to it was all some weirdly vivid dream I had. One of the pictures I took was of this guy:
The bond between athletes and popular board game Settlers of Catan is not a new one. But until now, we didn’t know that it had spread into hockey.
This Tuesday, the Penguins posted the annual holiday gift baskets that each player creates and then is auctioned off for charity. While most Penguins fans don’t have a cool $500 to drop at minimum, it’s always amusing to browse them and see what each player considers “important”. (Nick Bonino’s basket, for example, is all for dogs. Good man, Nick Bonino.) And Eric Fehr apparently considers Settlers of Catan essential to the “spend a day like Eric Fehr” starter pack.
Which begs the question – what would it be like if the rest of the Penguins players all picked up Settlers of Catan the way the Green Bay Packers did? After much thorough research and investigative journalism, I was able to determine that this is how games between the team would go:
Here’s the problem with being a hockey fan in Boston: it’s wicked expensive to see it played live, especially at a professional level. I’m not even a Bruins fan (sorry, guys), and just attempting to see [team name redacted because I want you to like me enough to keep reading this article] maybe once a year was something I very quickly decided was not worth it.
I got into hockey about five years ago, and women’s hockey was something I settled on as a way to see good hockey without NHL prices. Conveniently, Boston also had a team that had all my favorite Olympian players, and by going I supported women instead of Jeremy Jacobs, real-life Scrooge McDuck, so it was a win-win. In terms of gameplay, the only real difference between women’s and men’s hockey is that there’s technically no hitting or fighting in women’s hockey. (Technically.) Checking still happens a lot, and once in a blue moon, there’s even a fight. Personally, though, I’ve never really enjoyed the “physical game” aspect of hockey, I much prefer the speed and skill aspects of it, which women’s hockey has in spades.
Hopefully by now you’re thinking “hey, that does sound like a great time, how do see one of these games?” Good news! Thanks to the NWHL starting this year, it’s now really, really easy. Just follow my handy tips:
With his stellar performance to start the season (a 7-2-0 record, .931 save percentage, 1.89 goals against average, and three shutouts), it seemed inevitable that the Penguins would re-sign Marc-Andre Fleury. While some Penguins fans pointed to Fleury’s off-season meltdowns as reason to trade him, others said that Fleury showed marked improvement since being coached by Mike Bales and seeing a sports psychologist, and that the Penguins’ loss in the playoffs last year was largely the result of a lack of offensive prowess, not a goaltending issue.
Furthermore, Penguins fans on both sides of the argument had to face the grim reality of the current goalie market, which is extremely barren. A goaltender of Fleury’s caliber or an upgrade who is eligible for hire simply doesn’t exist, and certainly not at a price the Penguins could pay. Fleury stood to gain a large amount of money on the open market if the Penguins didn’t make their move – either to trade or re-sign him.
An inescapable craze struck the nation this off-season, more feel-good than Guardians of the Galaxy and catchier than the song “All About That Bass”. I am referring, of course, to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We here at The Pink Puck not only nominated our readers, but we’re so dedicated to giving back that we have watched every single video of an NHL player doing the ice bucket challenge (yes, every single one), and fellow Pink Puck writer Mollyhall and I have teamed up to bring you the best of the best, cream of the crop challenges you can’t afford to miss.
Stay frosty, friends, and don’t forget to donate.
Early this afternoon, new Penguins GM Jim Rutherford moved to name Mike Johnston the new head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Johnston, 57, has been coaching since he was 23. Most recently, Johnston was head coach of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, but he has coached at the collegiate, minor league, NHL, and even Olympic level. Johnston is considered responsible for the turn-around of the Portland Winterhawks, who had missed the playoffs three years in a row before his tenure. During his tenure as both head coach and general manager, the Winterhawks made the playoffs for five straight seasons and came away with a Memorial Cup.