Did you forget the NHL instituted bye weeks this season? Can you believe how silly this is? The Penguins haven’t played since New Year’s Eve and won’t play again until Jan. 8. On the bright side, the Penguins didn’t have to worry about a New Year’s Day hangover.
On the dark side? Everything else.
The Penguins were rolling. They won four in a row. Marc-Andre Fleury was getting it together. And now they get a week off. If there was ever a time when you’d want a week off, it’s probably the week after an outdoor game, but instead the Penguins get this.
The Penguins were scheduled to play their first game after the bye at home at 1 p.m. next Sunday. You know who else plays at 1 p.m. next Sunday? The Pittsburgh Steelers at home in a wild-card game against the Miami Dolphins. The Penguins moved the game to 5 p.m. to accommodate fans. But still.
If no one is at the Penguins game, it’s possible they’ve been forgotten completely. Thanks, NHL bye week.
The NHL revealed the captains for this year’s 3-on-3 All-Star spectacular, and Sidney Crosby will have the honors for the Metropolitan Division. This means he gets to assign players to events during the skills competition, assuming he goes to Los Angeles for the game.
Crosby has missed five All-Star Games for assorted injuries and withdrew from the game in Columbus in 2015 with a lower-body injury that hardly was serious. He was not selected last year but this year he is healthy and charged with being the face of the Metro team.
So will he go? Or will a minor “injury” prevent him from going to Los Angeles?
Considering this is the NHL’s centennial celebration season, it would probably take a significant injury to keep him from the game. Plus, he wasn’t picked last year (or did he ask out of it?), so he’s due to actually attend this one.
NHL’s hockey operations department picks the rest of the players, so will they pick Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel or will one get snubbed? There’s only room for 10 more players so send your thoughts and prayers for Kessel.
Player of the Week
It was just two games, but they were two very good ones for Fleury. He went 2-0 and stopped 56 of 59 shots (.949) in wins against Montreal and Carolina. He stopped 37 shots against the Canadiens and all 19 shots he faced in relief of an injured Matt Murray to beat the Hurricanes.
In his past four appearances, Fleury has a .943 save percentage. If he’s turning a corner, especially with Murray banged up, it will be big for the Penguins’ second half (and his trade value in the postseason).
Player of the Weak
They played two games and won both. Everyone gets a pass. Player of the Weak is on a bye.
Height of Awkward
Someone asked, “How creepy is this Mario commercial?” but then they deleted the tweet for some reason.