The PHT Nightcap: Monday, October 5th

While the season won’t actually start until Thursday, 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.

Roman Hamrlik and Andrei Markov back to practice – Good news for the Montreal Canadiens, though both might take some time to get back to 100 percent.

Andreas Lilja won’t catch on with San Jose, might need to go overseas – Obviously he must regret passing up on that $1 million deal with Detroit.

Vancouver trades Shane O’Brien to Nashville for Ryan Parent – The Predators love to trade Ryan Parent. It’s a fact.

Waiver moves: Islanders nab Michael Grabner, etc. – Grabner might get a chance to catch on at Long Island. He should because the window is closing on his NHL career.

Rangers rookie Derek Stepan hopes to stick with Rangers – If he can stick with any roster, the Rangers would be it considering how weak they are at the center position right now.

Maple Leafs name alternate captains, Tomas Kaberle is not one of them – Aww, sorry Tomas.

Devils may start the season with only 20 players for salary cap reasons – See, Darryl Sutter, you’re not all alone in salary cap desperation …

PHT readers predict 2010-11 division winners

Thrashers sign first rounder Alex Burmistrov – This gives him a chance to make the team going into the season.

Polls: who will with the Western and Eastern Conference titles this year?

Patrice Bergeron and Antoine Vermette lead their teams in international competition – Bergeron had an especially great game, scoring two goals and adding three assists.

Florida Panthers and Erik Gudbranson fall short of an entry-level deal – Kind of surprised they couldn’t reach a deal with a rookie maximum salary in place.

Alex Pietrangelo, Tyson Strachan make the St. Louis Blues – Pietrangelo in particular could be an impact player in the NHL at some point in the future.

Linus Omark is not pleased about not making the Oilers – What, so he didn’t grow up dreaming about playing minor league hockey in Oklahoma? Weirdo.

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    The Colorado Avalanche’s win streak hits double digits

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    The streak is now in double digits.

    The Colorado Avalanche won their 10th straight game on Monday night, taking down the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2.

    Yes, that’s 10 wins by the team that ended last season with an NHL-worst 48 points.

    Hockey is wonderful, isn’t it?

    The Avalanche have been pretty darn good during that streak, outscoring opponents 41-16 during that span. Scoring four goals per game on average will win you more than it won’t.

    And the Avs have had success on the back end. Jonathan Bernier has been completely lights out during the streak. He is on a streak of his own with nine straight wins, becoming the third netminder in franchise history to win nine in a row.

    Colorado’s streak is also an NHL-best this season and it’s the second longest streak in Avs history (they won 12 straight during the 1998-99 season).

    The Avs are sitting on 57 points, good for the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Jason Zucker takes a puck to the head (video)

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    How in the world did he get up?

    Too many players have been getting drilled in the head lately by slap shots. It’s an ugly site to behold whenever it happens

    Somehow, however, Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild was able to pop right back up and head directly to the dressing room. No passing GO on this one.

    The puck hit him so squarely in the helmet that it ricocheted back toward the Thomas Chabot, who uncorked the shot in the first place.

    Even more insane is that Zucker was able to return to the game.

    Talk about hard-headed.

    Who could take Taylor Hall’s place if he has to miss the All-Star Game?

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    With Taylor Hall set to miss the next couple of games due to a hand injury, and with that injury putting his All-Star Game prospects in jeopardy, we look at the players who are worthy of replacing the New Jersey Devils forward if he has to miss this weekend’s festivities.

    Two names that immediately come to mind are Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel and Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier.

    There was already an argument that Kessel deserved to be at the ASG over Sidney Crosby. He was leading the Penguins in points then and two weeks later, he continues to pace Pittsburgh with 21 goals (tied with Evgeni Malkin) and 54 points, three more points than Crosby.

    Couturier has already smashed his previous career highs in both goals (26) and points (47). He’s been part of the reason that Claude Giroux is already headed to the ASG and deserves to be there himself.

    At third would have to be Sebastian Aho. The talent in the Metropolitan is evident with his snub. He’s clearly the best player on the Carolina Hurricanes this season (no disrespect to Teuvo Teravainen).

    Aho is well on his way to eclipsing his rookie-season totals and a big reason why the Hurricanes are three points back of a playoff spot.

    Beyond those three guys, there’s a few that certainly deserve the honor:

    • Anders Lee has 27 goals this season, seven off the pace he set last season with half the season to go.
    • Jakub Voracek leads the NHL with 45 assists, four more than teammate Giroux.
    • Evgeni Malkin. Not having a bad year.

    It’s important to remember that the at-least-one-player-per-team rule goes out the window when it comes to replacing another All-Star.

    There are certainly some very deserving names that didn’t get the first call.

    But life’s about second chances.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    WATCH LIVE: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks

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    Projected Lines

    Tampa Bay Lightning

    Nikita KucherovBrayden PointTyler Johnson

    Vladislav NamestnikovSteven StamkosChris Kunitz

    Alex Killorn — Matthew Peca — Yanni Gourde

    Michael Bournival — Cedric PaquetteRyan Callahan

    Jake DotchinAnton Stralman

    Mikhail SergachevDan Girardi

    Braydon CoburnAndrej Sustr

    Starting goalie: Andrei Vasilevskiy

    NHL on NBCSN: ‘Out of sync’ Lightning look to end three-game losing skid against ‘Hawks

    Chicago Blackhawks

    Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsAnthony Duclair

    Patrick SharpNick SchmaltzPatrick Kane

    Alex DeBrincatArtem AnisimovRyan Hartman

    Tomas Jurco — David Kampf — Vinnie Hinostroza

    Duncan KeithJordan Oesterle

    Erik Gustafsson — Brent Seabrook

    Michal KempnyConnor Murphy

    Starting goalie: Jeff Glass