The PHT Nightcap: Thursday, July 29th

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.

Aaron Downey will get a tryout with the Detroit Red Wings

Marty Turco’s agent claims he’ll find an NHL home – On the same day as Antti Niemi’s arbitration case, no less. *Scratches chin*

Thrashers sign Andrew Ladd – He might not be a particularly consistent scorer, but you can’t question his toughness. (Unless you’re grading on a hockey player scale, I guess?)

Lightning re-sign Vladimir Mihalik – Mihalik happens to be on the bottom paring of one of my NHL ’10 franchise teams. Yup, that’s the only comment I have about him.

Tampa Bay makes ECHL’s Florida Everblades a new affiliate – Everblades, as in Everglades. That soothes my pun loving soul right there, folks.

Canucks color commentator Tom Larscheid retires

Sabres’ Tim Kennedy receives $1 million arbitration award – Is he really worth $1.4 million less than Clarke MacArthur?

Senators re-sign Peter Regin – Let the fun … Regin? *cough*

Kings D-man Matt Greene to miss three to four months after surgery – OK, it might be time for LA fans to start worrying a bit.

Stan Bowman gives a press conference regarding Antti Niemi – And pretty much repeats what everyone else said about the situation …

Sharks close to re-signing Setoguchi, also open talks with Joe Thornton – San Jose is wise to go with a one-year deal with Devin Setoguchi … they don’t want to get Cheechoo’d again, do they?

Arbitrator rules that Blake Wheeler should get one-year, $2.2M deal – Not a bad price for the budding power forward. The question is, will the Bruins pay him that much or will someone else nab him?

Sharks extend Jason Demers’ contract for two years – He’s still a bit raw, but there’s no denying his offensive talents.

Cover art for “NHL Slap Shot” – I’m really intrigued about EA Sports’ first hockey title for Nintendo’s Wii console.

NHL ’11 to introduce “the hustle button” – Smells like a speed burst button to me, folks.

Could Zdeno Chara, Joe Thornton’s new contracts create new trends? – The Ilya Kovalchuk contract situation might put a wrench in NHL teams’ plans to hand out “lifetime” deals, so will those new negotiations start new trends?

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    PHT Morning Skate: Sharks name stray cat after captain Joe Pavelski

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    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.

    –The stray cat that ran onto the ice prior to Game 1 between the Sharks and Preds has been named after Joe Pavelski. (Associated Press)

    –Speaking of that black cat, here’s a mountain of pucks shaped like the cat. (The Score)

    –When Lukas Head was younger, he played with Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban. Here’s his story. (Toronto Star)

    –Watch the highlights from yesterday’s game between the Stars and Blues. (Top)

    –A look behind the scenes of the NHL draft lottery. (Canadian Press)

    –Two-time Olympic gold medalist Sharon Szabados loves curing and the Oilers and she was forced to make a tough choice on Saturday. (Sportsnet)

    Pascal Dupuis, who was named one of the Masterton Trophy finalists, is adjusting to retirement. (NHL.com)

    Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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    The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

    San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

    The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

    Here’s the goal:

    Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

    Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

    Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

    Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

    The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

    Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

    The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

    Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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    It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

    After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

    In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

    You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

    It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:

    Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

    It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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    You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

    After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

    “Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

    “I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

    After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

    “We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

    And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

    Related:

    Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta