When we last left the Penguins, they were about to begin a four-game stretch against four of the worst teams in the league. One intelligent hockey journalist said the Penguins needed seven of eight points against the trash fire schedule for it to be a success — and with a game pending Thursday against Winnipeg, the Penguins have grabbed five of six points.
A win against the Jets and the Penguins are exactly as good as they should be against these bad teams.
These are points are much-needed, because while the Blue Jackets are fading, the Rangers and Capitals (8-2-0 in their past 10 games and winners of six straight) can’t stop winning. The Metropolitan is a competitive nightmare with no end in sight, like a children’s beauty pageant circuit or a presidential campaign. If the Penguins are to hold off the Rangers for second in the Metro or chase down the Capitals for the division title, they can’t leave points on the table against the lesser teams.
Speaking of points left on the table, what’s taking Sidney Crosby so long to reach 1,000 points?
After being stuck on 998 points for two games, Crosby got one measly assist in the Penguins’ 4-0 win against the stinky Canucks on Tuesday night. Doesn’t he know that some people have things pre-written about him getting to 1,000 points and how he compares historically to the handful of players to reach that mark faster? Talk about selfishness.
But you know who isn’t having a hard time racking up points lately? Our player of the week.
Player of the Week
Phil KesselMatt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Phil Kessel. Three games, three goals, one goal in each.
That’s American efficiency, baby. He also had an assist. He’s only 368 points shy of 1,000 for his career. Will he get there before Crosby? Only time will tell.
You know who else is hotter than Crosby? Evgeni Malkin, aka the 101st best player in NHL history, aka Mr. 101, is back from a lower-body injury and lighting things up. He returned Tuesday after a two-week absence and had a goal and an assist. He’s only 186 points from 1,000.
The race is on, Sid.
Player of the Weak
Marc-Andre Fleury. Dude, you have one job: Make yourself at least slightly attractive for one team to take you in a trade. Head coach Mike Sullivan gave you the cushiest of starts — against the Arizona Coyotes. And you lose! And you allow four goals! On 25 shots!
Trading Fleury is just about an impossibility now. Just hope he’s at least serviceable over the last two months.
Wrestling with Reality
If you’re like me, an adult who doesn’t watch “pro” wrestling, you thought the Hagelin-Bonino-Kessel line earned its “HBK” line nickname because of the first letters in their surnames. It was simple enough. It was like the old-timey Devils line of Elias-Gomez-Gionta that was dubbed the “EGG” line. Yeah, that’s a dumb name for a line, but it was easy to figure out.
If you’re not like me, and you spend your valuable money and time on watching large men in their underwear participate in bad acting and choreographed combat, you know the “HBK” line is cute because it also references Shawn Michaels, a wrestler-turned-serial-killer that was dubbed the HBK Killer.
No? Then what does HBK mean? Heartbreak Kid? Really? Isn’t heartbreak one word? Shouldn’t it be HK? God, you people and your wrestling.
Anyway, Michaels got to meet the HBK Line at a charity event hosted by ex-Steeler Brett Keisel, who shaves his long beard to raise money for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and … man, doesn’t Michaels look like a super-jacked version of Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella? You throw a hat on Torts and Michaels, stand them side-by-side and they could be father and son. (Ed note: Tortorella is 58 years old. Michaels is 51. Maybe … brothers?)
If you ever wanted to see Kessel trim another man’s beard while a guy with a theme song titled “Sexy Boy” looks on, this is the #content for you.
He’s right. It’s not a question. But at least we solved the whole “how hasn’t Crosby gotten to 1,000 points yet” thing.