Welcome to Jesperi Kotkaniemi day. The Montreal Canadiens have not tipped their hand regarding their decision to match or let Carolina have the RFA in exchange for a first and third-round pick. Kris Letang didn’t show up on recent Team Canada Olympic projections, and the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled something of a little surprise with one of their PTO adds.

My gut reaction was Montreal would let Kotkaniemi walk, and I’ll stick with it.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Brian Boyle didn’t play last season, but the cancer survivor will be in the Pittsburgh Penguins training camp with a chance to make the team and fill the fourth-line center role. 

Head coach Mike Sullivan is the Team USA Olympics coach, and he’s bringing along Todd Reirden and Andy Saucier. 

NHL News & National Hockey Now:

TSN: Travis Yost sorted through the remaining free agents. Zdeno Chara and Erik Gudbranson show up on the list. 

San Jose: I’m a staunch vaccination guy, but I’m not sure about this one. San Jose Sharks assistant coach Rocky Thompson is out because he says he can’t get vaccinated and claims a medical exemption. 

Speaking of the San Jose Sharks, I feel like I started something. Don Brennan thinks Hertl is the guy for the Ottawa Senators.  

Sportsnet: Sidney Crosby is Canada’s second-line center, but I would quibble with a few of Chris Johnston’s selections for Team Canada, including a few of the forwards ahead of Mathew Barzal and two of the defensemen ahead of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.

NYI: The New York Islanders finally announced all of their contracts and new contracts this week, including deals with Kyle Palmieri and Zach Parise. They still need a puck-moving d-man. Is Noah Dobson that guy?

Detroit: Filip Hronek led the Detroit Red Wings in scoring last season with 26 points. On Friday, the RFA blueliner signed a healthy bridge deal worth $4.4 million per season. 

Ottawa Sun: The Senators gave 23-year-old winger Drake Batherson a six-year deal worth almost $30 million. 

Does it feel to anyone else like we missed another summer? Ribfest is going on around Heinz Field if you need an outdoor event. There was a pink-clad ribs booth, Lips Smacking BBQ (or something like that). They’re the leader in the clubhouse after I tried a few of the hottest sauces–theirs was the best.

Let me know what you find.

Also, if you’re going to watch the Penn State game, DraftKings offers a $200 bonus for betting $1. Here’s the promo. 

To my many Pitt friends, no one said you couldn’t bet against Penn State.

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