Dan’s Daily: Reaves Suspended, Leafs Choke, NHL Trade Rumors Begin

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There was high drama on Monday, and that drama will beget more drama. The NHL gave Vegas Golden Knights tough guy Ryan Reaves the boot for only a couple of games. His coach said no biggie because no one was injured. The Toronto Maple Leafs choked away a 3-1 series lead and lost Game 7 to the Montreal Canadiens. And the NHL trade rumors have begun, including some noise around Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin.

The Malkin story will be around until it happens or squashed, but I’ll caution everyone to take every report in the manner in which it’s given. Trade interest doesn’t mean an impending trade, and the Penguins’ willingness to engage or discuss doesn’t mean they’re trying to trade him.

PHN+: There is one team with known interest in Malkin, and Malkin has known interest in them, but it’s complicated. The folks who went “Off the Record” with us this week include an NHL GM, a coach, and an executive. In fact, all contributed to the Evgeni Malkin trade talk. 

Our OTR column has been a crystal ball for coming hockey news.

NHL & The National Hockey Now Network

There is a new Hockey Now launching this morning…We went and got ourselves some Hall of Fame talent!

NHL playoffs:

Vegas: Ryan Reaves was suspended for two games. Vegas was still unhappy about Ryan Graves’s hit on Mattias Janmark, but Reaves got two from DoPS. 

Colorado: Adrian Dater did a little venting and analysis of the situation. 

NYI: The New York Islanders survived a third period collapse and won Game 2 in OT. Our Christian Arnold was in Boston for full coverage. 

Boston: Oh, so close. Jeremy Lauzon’s ill-advised pass became a Casey Czikas goal. 

I don’t make a secret of it–I really hope the New York Islanders blueprint doesn’t catch on. Teams need more high-end talent or up-tempo schemes, but if a team can win on their heels, that’s not hockey that will interest fans beyond the hard-core loyalists.

Sportsnet: The sick pit in the stomach of Toronto Maple Leafs fans may last a while. Toronto gagged away a 3-1 series lead and choked away their first playoff victory in 16 years. The Montreal Canadiens stuffed that talented roster like a turkey in Game 7. And talk of changes is already hitting Toronto…

Montreal Gazette: How about his headline: Canadiens Send Leafs Packing, Restore Balance to the Universe. You gotta love it. Here’s the reporting and series analysis from Montreal. 

Gee, you don’t think Montreal and Toronto have a rivalry, eh? The series win may have saved or certainly fortified GM Marc Bergevin’s job. And cost a few in Toronto theirs.

I like Winnipeg’s chances against Montreal.

NHL trade rumors…

The Athletic: The Columbus Blue Jackets let Artemi Panarin play out his final year with the team before he bolted via free agency. Columbus All-Star defenseman Seth Jones said he wants to test free agency next summer, but Columbus won’t sit back and get nothing this time. Cue the NHL trade rumors…

ICYMI: The Athletic is trying to sell after merger talks fell through. The New York Times is kicking the tires, but the Athletic has burned through a lot of money. 

The Athletic has been the best and worst thing to happen to the sports reporting world. Some venture capitalists tried to corner the market and collapse newspapers–that’s bad. But lots of good people have good jobs–that’s good. The NYT would be a good fit.

I’m currently in Denver, headed to Vegas later this week for the Avs-Golden Knights series. Someone asked me on Twitter if the Penguins could have played with Colorado. And the answer–unequivocally–is yes. However, Colorado did enough good things to get good looks; backside trailers, won enough net-front battles to keep Vegas honest, and defended hard in front of their net, too.

The Penguins really aren’t far away. But they’re not getting younger. It’s been great to really get a good look at other teams for context.