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Erik Karlsson will have big-time expectations to meet this coming season after the Pittsburgh Penguins defender won the Norris Trophy last season and was the object of desire on the NHL trade block. The Montreal Canadiens told Casey DeSmith to sit tight, that they’re trying to trade a goalie. The new EA Sports NHL 24 wants to wear out its players, and Brandon Sutter signed a PTO with Edmonton. And Jonathan Toews is saying goodbye.

Yep, I just knew Day 2 of the road trip up north would be the universe’s counterbalance for enjoying Day 1 far too much. I mean, of course, right? Inexplicably, the Pa. Grand Canyon is closed while they remodel the parking lot and small campground. Dinner was a chicken bruschetta so rubbery that when I tried to throw it away, it merely bounced back at me, and the rain rolled in hours before schedule.

But I got ice cream. And a 3,000-calorie brownie sundae with a peanut butter ripple base and enough hot fudge to give Milton Hersey a chocolate buzz makes everything better. I’m not ready to head home, but I have no idea where to go next.

It’s taken six weeks to decompress from my whirlwind season, but I’m finally starting to feel like a human being. Don’t tell anyone.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: What can you expect this season from Norris Trophy-winning Erik Karlsson?

Just like the Penguins did, the Montreal Canadiens have four goalies. GM Kent Hughes called Casey DeSmith and told him to be patient. The Canadiens are pushing to move a goalie, and DeSmith is on the NHL trade block.

Steelers Now

Training camp is OVER!

The last-day takeaways: The offense popped, and so did Kenny Pickett.

A depth running back is making waves, too. The Steelers news.

Podcast: The Afternoon Drive with Zachar Smith, Alan Saunders, and Derrick Bell. (Subscribe! We won’t bombard your downloads with dozens of shows you’ll never listen to.) Less work for Najee Harris?

Pittsburgh Baseball Now

Good news: The Pittsburgh Pirates prospects are ranked 2nd in baseball. The Pirates prospects report.

John Perrotto writes that the Pirates are developing their own Mr. Smile. More professional Pirates analysis.

NHL News & National Hockey Now:

Chicago Hockey Now: He’s not retiring, but he’s not playing this October. Jonathan Toews posted an emotional farewell to the Chicago Blackhawks fans.

I’ll say it first. If Toews can get healthy over the next few months and reports are correct that he’ll take a bargain deal — the Penguins should probably be first in line if they have the money.

Perhaps we should keep an eye on the young teams in the Eastern Conference. One or more will challenge the Penguins for a wild-card spot.

Detroit Hockey Now: Since Jeff Petry is homeward-bound, what does the Detroit Red Wings blue line look like?

NYI Hockey Now: Exaggerations and expectations. What to expect from Mathew Barzal.

TSN: Travis Yost did a little digging. What does Tomas Tatar bring to any team?

ESPN: I don’t get it, but I’m increasingly confused by the insanity of this world. The new EA Sports NHL 24 wants to make its players tired.

There is no link, but CapFriendly reported that the Edmonton Oilers signed Brandon Sutter to a PTO.

And we are sad to share the news. I had a couple of conversations with Rick, but just in passing. He loved what he did. He was one of the few voices that defined the position and was immediately recognizable. He entertained fans as much as the game.



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