Flyers end Rangers' season via shootout

Olli Jokinen.jpgLet me say this: there could not be a funnier (or more fitting) way for the New York Rangers’ season to end than with Olli Jokinen failing.

Jokinen is a symbol of all that is wrong with the team. Sure, I actually liked the idea of Glen Sather trading for Jokinen for a simple reason: his contract is expiring after this season and – if there’s any logic to the Rangers front office – he won’t be back any time soon. Then again, this is the team that gave Bobby Holik a superstar contract. They’re Murphy’s Law with money.

Instead of handing the responsibility to Marian Gaborik (far and away the team’s best offensive player), John Tortorella decided to go with the playoff-deprived Jokinen. To be fair, Gaborik is only 2 for 18 or 11 percent in his career while Jokinen is an impressive 14 for 35 for 40 percent (according to NHL so Torts was actually going with the numbers. But sometimes you have to put a big game in the hands of your most talented player. It’s why Sidney Crosby was chosen twice in Team Canada’s shootout and Alex Ovechkin was given three tries in Russia’s.

We can debate the move all day, but I howled with laughter when I saw that Jokinen was the third choice. (Then again, I laughed when P.A. Parentau skated out and he went on to score a funky awesome goal.) Just about all the playoff matches are set but the Flyers still have to await the result of the Buffalo-New Jersey skirmish to find out who their first round opponent will be.

Neither team really impressed me with their efforts, but I think the right teams made the playoffs. Boston and Philadelphia have a better chance of doing damage – or at least putting up a fight – than the Rangers could do. At least that’s how I see it.

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    NHL on NBCSN Doubleheader: Wild vs. ‘Hawks; Pens vs. Sharks

    Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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    NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight with a pair of interesting games. It all gets underway when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Minnesota Wild at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

    The Wild come into this game having lost three in a row and six of their last seven games to close out the month of November.

    The good news for Minnesota is that Zach Parise returned to their lineup last Friday after missing eight games because of a knee injury.

    He has no points and minus-2 rating since coming back.

    Besides the two teams Parise’s played for (New Jersey and Minnesota), there isn’t a team in the league he’s produced less against than the ‘Hawks.

    The 31-year-old has three goals and seven points in 20 games against Chicago.

    The Blackhawks are off to an average start, but they’ve proven that they’re still tough to beat at home.

    Chicago is 8-2-1 at the United Center this season.

    This will be the Hawks’ first home game since Nov. 15. They closed out their six-game road trip with a 3-2 OT loss to the Kings on Saturday.

    Following that tilt, NBCSN will broadcast the late game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks at 10:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here.

    The Penguins closed out the month of November with a pair of disappointing losses to the Blue Jackets (OT) and Oilers (SO).

    Pittsburgh hasn’t won a game in regulation since Nov. 19 when they defeated Colorado 4-3.

    You can’t blame Evgeni Malkin for the Penguins’ recent struggles.

    The 29-year-old has scored each of Pittsburgh’s last four goals and he has 10 points in his last three contests.

    November was very kind to the Sharks.

    The team set a new franchise record by sweeping a six-game road trip that saw them win in Detroit, Buffalo, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Columbus.

    They lost their first game back home to Chicago, but they closed out the month with a 5-2 win over the Flames on Saturday.

    Sharks defenseman Brent Burns scored a pair of goals when these two teams met on Nov. 21. San Jose won that game by a score of 3-1.

    PHT Morning Skate: Legendary broadcaster Doc Emrick sits down with HBO Real Sports


    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    Legendary broadcaster Doc Emrick sat down with Andrea Kremer to discuss his 40 years in hockey. (Above)

    Watch as a group of people (including some former NHLers) take part in a pond hockey game on the Rocky Mountains. (Bardown)

    Check out Josh Jooris and Johnny Gaudreau‘s crib:

    Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser explains why Brad Marchand deserved a penalty for his collision with Henrik Lundqvist. (TSN)

    The EIHL’s Braehead Clan suited up in a kilt-like uniform.

    Today’s the day you can start voting for your 2016 NHL All-Stars. (

    The Panthers are healthy scratching Bolland, and he is their highest-paid forward, but they insist they’re not sending a message

    Dave Bolland, Derek Nansen
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    It feels like there’s a story brewing in Florida, where Dave Bolland — the team’s most-expensive forward, at $5.5 million a season — has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games.

    But according to head coach Gerard Gallant, there’s nothing to see here. Move along.

    “There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said, per the Miami Herald. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

    Bolland had just one goal and five points in 18 games prior to getting parked in the press box. Well, technically he got dropped to the fourth line before hitting the press box, but you get the idea. He’s not exactly in Gallant’s good graces.

    Not helping Bolland’s case is the fact that, as Gallant pointed out, the club is playing pretty well without him. The Panthers have rebounded from a rough start to November by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Red Wings, which set them up nicely for the remainder of this current five-game road swing.

    Florida has games still to play in St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus and New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see when — or, if — he draws back into the lineup.

    In closing, a reminder that Bolland’s in the second of a five-year, $27.5 million deal.

    Canucks rookie Virtanen exits with upper-body injury, won’t return


    After sitting out Friday’s game in Dallas, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had to be excited at drawing back in for tonight’s game against the Ducks.

    Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long.

    Virtanen suffered an upper-body injury after playing just 1:45 in the opening frame, and was ruled out of the contest during the intermission. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but it looks like Virtanen was injured on a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

    Virtanen didn’t take another shift following the incident, and Getzlaf was given a minor penalty on the play.

    While we don’t know what the injury is or it’s severity, losing Virtanen for any length of time would have ramifications for the Canucks and this year’s Canadian entry at the World Juniors. There has been talk of Virtanen possibly being released by the Canucks to participate in the tournament; last year, he was part of the team that captured gold in Montreal and Toronto.

    Virtanen has played in 18 games for the Canucks this year, scoring one goal and four points while averaging 10:17 TOI per night.