The PHT Nightcap: Friday, July 23rd

Even in the depressingly hockey-free summer, we expect to be a productive bunch here at Pro Hockey Talk. Sometimes it might be difficult to follow our pace. We understand that. For that reason, whenever we can, we’ll put all of the day’s stories in one convenient post called the PHT Nightcap. Enjoy, hockey fans.

Henrik Zetterberg’s wedding photos show that they party like it’s 1929 – So weird. So Swedish.

Dallas Stars sign Fabian Brunnstrom – Example 4,350 of why most sought-after imports don’t work out.

Agents say that the NHL cannot block Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract – They also deny fan-created rumors that their hearts are made out of coal.

MSG Network won’t bring back Billy Jaffe – Jaffe was too critical of the Islanders, apparently. I hear they’re auditioning someone who will be more in line with their preferences regarding criticism. That person is blind.

Sami Salo out indefinitely – Well, at least he didn’t injure himself riding a motorcycle or washing his car.

War veteran chooses to lose limb to keep playing hockey

Cliff Viner named sole managing partner of the Florida Panthers – In semi-related news, James Brown was named the soul managing partner of the afterlife. That’s an R & B joke, folks.

Blackhawks sign Bryan Bickell – They lost a lot of girth this summer, but Bickell will keep them in the heavyweight division.

Kevin Smith discusses “Hit Somebody,” filming in Detroit – If I were to make a movie about Smith’s career, it would be called “Hit or Miss.”

Would Detroit be better off without Mike Modano? – I’d say yes.

Yzerman’s latest moves – It’s been a summer of considerable change in Tampa Bay.

Updates on Nicklas Grossman, James Neal, Bobby Ryan – Will James Neal get a “real deal”?

2011 NHL All-Star Game logo to be unveiled Monday – The Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels will probably not be involved. Probably not.

Poile reflects on signing Blake Geoffrion, growing hockey in Nashville – It’s been an uphill battle in Tennessee, but signing a native of the area must be a good sign. (Even if his lineage indicates that the game was passed down from his father rather than the NHL team).

Gilbert Brule could get a big raise – Perhaps the true danger of free agent signing periods lies in the smaller deals, rather than the blockbuster Kovalchuk-type contracts? No, it’s probably in the latter, but still.

Tyler Seguin impressed by turnout, fan knowledge during Bruins development camp – That kid’s a keeper, I tell you.

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    Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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    Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

    Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

    McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

    Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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    The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

    They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

    The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

    Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

    The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

    The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

    Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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    Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

    Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

    Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

    via Getty Images

    The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

    Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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    It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

    Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

    Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
    Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

    This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

    The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

    This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

    And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

    Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

    The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.