The PHT Nightcap: Friday, August 13th

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.

The free agent market has been unfriendly to veteran talent – That’s just AGEISM, man.

Kings beat reporter shoots down rumor that was wrongfully attributed to him – One of those stories that justifies those typical “The Internet is the Wild West” discussions.

Could the Capitals trade Dave Steckel? – I’m a sucker for those faceoff specialists. Blame video games.

Panthers loan Alexander Salak to the Swedish Elite League – Hopefully those Swedes aren’t like my third grade best friend or they’ll never see their copy of “The Outsiders”  – er, goalie – again.

Bob Probert’s family agrees to publish his memoirs – Please tell me that “punching” will be in the title of that book … or at least some kind of “probing” pun. (Seriously, though, that could be a great read.)

Cam Janssen dismisses baseball fights – Is it me or are hockey players modest … except when it comes to talking about how tough they are? I mean, they are super-tough, but still.

Patrick Kane gets stuck on a fire truck ladder during his day with the Cup – There aren’t many dull moments with that kid, on or off the ice.

Peter Forsberg’s not optimistic about a return – It’s not surprising to read about Foppa’s health problems, but they do kind of bum me out.

Tomas Kaberle update

Bill Daly draws a line in the sand about contracts – Even if that line is still kind of … subjective.

The best seasons for players over 35 – Gordie Howe is like fine wine, if fine wine could hurt you really badly in its prime.

THN’s top 10 players – Is Jonathan Toews really a top-10 player? What about Steven Stamkos?

What about … Patrick O’Sullivan? – He has his warts, for sure, but at the right price he could be a steal.

The Sporting News closes down its hockey blog – Saying goodbye to “The Grinder.”

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    After healthy scratch, Severson vows to play ‘next 80 games’

    Jimmy Hayes, Damon Severson
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    Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.

    It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.

    “I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”

    Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.

    Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.

    Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.

    “He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”

    Virtanen to make NHL debut tonight versus Kings

    Jake Virtanen
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    Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.

    The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.

    “I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”

    Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.

    The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.

    If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.