Max Pacioretty

Science wonder or bad decisions? Max Pacioretty could return for playoffs

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When Max Pacioretty was diagnosed with a broken neck and a severe concussion following the brutal hit he took from Zdeno Chara last week it was assumed the Pacioretty would miss the rest of the season and the playoffs thanks to the injuries.

Obviously we know that hockey players seem to be tougher than us regular puny humans, but the news today that Pacioretty is aiming towards returning to action during the playoffs is stunning and surprising no matter what. Canadiens coach Jacques Martin says that while things looked bleak before, they’re getting better quickly.

Team doctors informed the coach that Pacioretty will be able to resume training, with contact, in three to five weeks.

He is to take complete rest until March 26 and then begin rehab.

“It looked for a moment that his career was in danger so it’s good news that he’ll be able to get back to practice,” said Martin.

With that sort of time frame, that means Pacioretty is on an even quicker pace to returning to action than Marc Savard was last year when he came back from his hit delivered by Matt Cooke that gave him a concussion. Obviously we’re not doctors here nor are we even paramedics with a degree from an website that was delivered written in crayon, but you’ll have to forgive us if we’re just a little bit wary of how quickly he’s trying to come back from this.

We discussed it a bit yesterday how coming back quickly from head injuries did nothing to help both Savard and Philadelphia’s Ian Laperriere. Given how serious Pacioretty’s injury was reported to be it would seem prudent to us that taking as much time as needed to come back would be the right move. We’re not the player here and we don’t know what it’s like to deal with such injuries so perhaps our skepticism is unwarranted.

Perhaps former Michigan Wolverine Max Pacioretty lives up to being a Wolverine in the most comic book hero-like senses when it comes to recovering from injury, but we’re nervous for him and we’re hopeful that the doctors and the Habs are wise about this. The last thing anyone needs to see is another brutal setback and potentially career-ruining injury because a guy wanted to get back on the ice sooner than he should have. If it turns out that it’s the right move for him, it’s a wonderful story and makes him a marvel of modern science.

PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
AP Photo
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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.

In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (

Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.