Author: James O'Brien

Pittsburgh Penguins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Two

NHL on NBCSN: Penguins, Red Wings kick off latest Rivalry Night


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Detroit Red Wings at the Consol Energy Center at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight as part of a back-to-back set of games on NBCSN on Wednesday. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

A lot has changed since the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins faced off in the 2008 and 2009 Stanley Cup Final, but in some ways, plenty of key factors remain.

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are still the go-to guys for the Red Wings offense, even with the rise of younger players such as Gustav Nyquist. The Penguins still seemingly go as far as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury and Kris Letang can take them, even if the supporting cast (and front office) has changed dramatically.

From a more recent perspective, Pittsburgh hasn’t played since the Vancouver Canucks crushed them 5-0 on Saturday.

That sour end to their Western Canada road trip should provide plenty of inspiration as they host the Red Wings. Getting plenty of rest – at least by season standards – might be the biggest thing, really.

(Then again, the Red Wings have been off since Saturday as well, so each team should be as fresh as possible on Feb. 11.)

While the Penguins have been stumbling a bit, the Red Wings have been hot more or less since 2015 rolled around, most obviously considering their three-game winning streak. They’ve also won nine of 10 games as Petr Mrazek has really softened the blow of losing Jimmy Howard (who’s expected to suit up as a backup tonight).

The Penguins may or may not get Blake Comeau back in the lineup on Wednesday. Whenever Comeau can play, he might feel a little dizzy trying to fit into a lineup that’s changed quite a bit since he last played six weeks ago.

Whatever each team is going through at the time, the Penguins and Red Wings shouldn’t struggle to drum up some interest for the first of Wednesday’s two Rivalry Night games on NBCSN.

PHT Morning Skate: This kid has some serious skills


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Ten players who retired on teams that just seem kind of wrong. (The Hockey News)

The first tie game in hockey. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

On this day in 1971, the late Jean Beliveau collected his 500th goal.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $8,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday’s NHL games. It’s just $25 to join and first prize is $1,200. Starts Wednesday at 8pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Some aren’t taking the news of Jon Stewart’s departure too well.

This kid (who’s 10, at least according to TSN’s BarDown) can pull off the sort of hockey tricks most of us will never even approach:

Pavelski says Sharks’ struggles are on ‘everybody’

Calgary Flames v San Jose Sharks

Despite glimpses of the team that was once a regular-season juggernaut, the San Jose Sharks have inspired plenty of doubt in 2014-15. It sounds like they crisis of confidence extends to the locker room, too.

The Calgary Flames leapfrogged over the Sharks for second place in the Pacific Division with Monday’s 4-1 win, representing a decisive – maybe merciful – end to the two teams’ season series.

While the two teams are still tightly matched, the Flames dominated the five games between the teams, as the Sharks managed three out of a possible 10 standings points (going 1-3-1).

A banged-up defense was one thing that was cited in the loss, but Joe Pavelski’s among those who believe that the Sharks need improvements in every facet of their game, as he told

“Bottom line is it’s on everybody,” Pavelski said. “We weren’t good enough. Not one guy, not 20. We’ve got to find it.”

Maybe the Flames just represent a tough matchup for the Sharks, but standings points and final scores weren’t the only numbers that are a little troubling for San Jose. Consider this: Calgary sports a +19 goal differential this season, while the Sharks have only scored one more goal (154) than they’ve allowed (153).

Some of that might be chalked up to “puck luck” – their fairly low PDO argues as much – but it seems like the Sharks are slipping from an elite possession team to a merely good one.

Long story short, the Sharks’ margin for error might be shrinking, so Pavelski may be right that it’s ultimately on everyone (even if one might argue that certain facets of the roster are holding up their end of the bargain better than others).

Check out this video for more on the Sharks’ struggles.