First call: Max Talbot has a birthday, Madison Bumgarner doesn’t like ‘openers’
In Tuesday’s “First Call,” we celebrate a birthday for Max Talbot. We start looking at the Penguins versus Oilers matchup. Madison Bumgarner takes a stand.
On a night where the Penguins won in Philadelphia, it’s only fitting that Max Talbot was celebrating a birthday.
Talbot is playing with Omsk in the KHL. The Penguin playoff hero turned 35 years old yesterday.
However, in April, “The Shush” will turn 10.
In both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, it will live forever. So happy birthday “Mad Max!”
Speaking of hockey fights
The hockey officiating website Team Stripes posted this video on Twitter yesterday.
It’s QMJHL linesman Mat Hicks, instructing officials on what to do during a fight.
In this video, @QMJHL linesman Mat Hicks gives us a run-down of some tips for handling brawl or multiple fight situations. Be sure to use this advice to help out the next time a fight breaks out! #TeamStripes @ScoutingTheRefs @ScoutingTheQ pic.twitter.com/tEagVZbaDA
— Team Stripes (@GoTeamStripes) February 11, 2019
Right. Good advice.
Then, when he’s done with all that, he goes back to ignoring all the hooking, obstruction, and stick work that led to the brawl in the first place.
Right team, right time
It’s a good time for the Penguins to get a visit from Edmonton.
The Oilers come into PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday night at 8. They have just 53 points. Only two teams in the Western Conference have fewer.
Connor McDavid and company have lost seven of their past eight games.
The Oilers are 24th in the league in goals per game. And only three clubs have allowed more goals.
The Pens won both games last year 2-1 and 3-2. They won the first match this year, too, by a score of 6-5 in overtime.
McDavid is still performing well, though. He’s got the second-best point total in the NHL with 81. Only Nikita Kucherov has more with 84. His 31 goals rank seventh in the league.
Pulling an A.B.?
Some MLB teams are considering going with “openers” instead of closers.
You know, starting a pitcher who is responsible for throwing the first few innings, and then giving way to someone out of the bullpen.
Sort of the opposite of a closer.
San Francisco star pitcher Madison Bumgarner has informed his team that if they try to do that on a day where he is expected to do most of the pitching, he will boycott the game.
Bruce Bochy — via MLB.com — revealed that Bumgarner texted him to say that “If you’re using an opener in my game, I’m walking right out of the ballpark.”
I’d imagine the Giants wouldn’t do that. But if he did, would he walk out of the stadium in a big fur coat like Antonio Brown?
If only he had decided to walk out before that 2014 Wild Card game at PNC Park.
Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter @TimBenzPGH. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.