NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Pittsburgh Penguins
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NHL bye week nonsense; Awkward Mario; Will Crosby show up to the All-Star game?

The Penguins haven’t played since last year. Dave Lozo is NOT COOL with that.

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Did you forget the NHL instituted bye weeks this season? Can you believe how silly this is? The Penguins haven’t played since New Year’s Eve and won’t play again until Jan. 8. On the bright side, the Penguins didn’t have to worry about a New Year’s Day hangover.

On the dark side? Everything else.

The Penguins were rolling. They won four in a row. Marc-Andre Fleury was getting it together. And now they get a week off. If there was ever a time when you’d want a week off, it’s probably the week after an outdoor game, but instead the Penguins get this.

The Penguins were scheduled to play their first game after the bye at home at 1 p.m. next Sunday. You know who else plays at 1 p.m. next Sunday? The Pittsburgh Steelers at home in a wild-card game against the Miami Dolphins. The Penguins moved the game to 5 p.m. to accommodate fans. But still.

If no one is at the Penguins game, it’s possible they’ve been forgotten completely. Thanks, NHL bye week.

All-Star Captain

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Toronto Maple Leafs
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL revealed the captains for this year’s 3-on-3 All-Star spectacular, and Sidney Crosby will have the honors for the Metropolitan Division. This means he gets to assign players to events during the skills competition, assuming he goes to Los Angeles for the game.

Crosby has missed five All-Star Games for assorted injuries and withdrew from the game in Columbus in 2015 with a lower-body injury that hardly was serious. He was not selected last year but this year he is healthy and charged with being the face of the Metro team.

So will he go? Or will a minor “injury” prevent him from going to Los Angeles?

Considering this is the NHL’s centennial celebration season, it would probably take a significant injury to keep him from the game. Plus, he wasn’t picked last year (or did he ask out of it?), so he’s due to actually attend this one.

NHL’s hockey operations department picks the rest of the players, so will they pick Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel or will one get snubbed? There’s only room for 10 more players so send your thoughts and prayers for Kessel.

Player of the Week

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at New Jersey Devils
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

It was just two games, but they were two very good ones for Fleury. He went 2-0 and stopped 56 of 59 shots (.949) in wins against Montreal and Carolina. He stopped 37 shots against the Canadiens and all 19 shots he faced in relief of an injured Matt Murray to beat the Hurricanes.

In his past four appearances, Fleury has a .943 save percentage. If he’s turning a corner, especially with Murray banged up, it will be big for the Penguins’ second half (and his trade value in the postseason).

Player of the Weak

They played two games and won both. Everyone gets a pass. Player of the Weak is on a bye.

Height of Awkward

Someone asked, “How creepy is this Mario commercial?” but then they deleted the tweet for some reason.

This is the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen.

It starts off fine. A young boy with a life-size poster of his idol, Mario Lemieux. What’s better when you’re a kid? You can use the poster to chart your growth as you … hey! It’s the real Mario! What a special moment!

OK, now he’s touching the kid. Why isn’t the kid happy? Oh my god, Mario is picking up the kid. Is he mad at the kid? Maybe the kid thinks so, because he has not cracked a smile once. Shouldn’t the kid be excited? Now he’s tilting the kid toward the poster. What in the world is happening?

If you told me the kid had no idea Mario would be on the set for this, I’d believe you. He’s looking from the poster to the real Mario as if he doesn’t recognize the real Mario. Maybe that’s why he’s afraid. “Who is this tall man in the helmet? What’s he doing? Where is my dad? I need help and no one is helping. Why? Why?!?!”

So, I say this is a solid 66 out of 66 on the creepiness scale. I blame most of it on the 1980s.