PHT’s Morning Skate: Time to worry in Toronto?

5 Comments

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.

Interesting bit from Larry Brooks: the NHLPA audited the NHL and reportedly found that the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators were among the teams “cited for failure to declare hockey-related revenue.” Sadly for the players, they cannot revisit previous seasons, so it sounds like the owners pulled another fast on one them. (The New York Post.)

Speaking of the Predators (and coach Barry Trotz), the team participated in their 1,000th game on Saturday night. The Montreal Canadiens once again played the spoiler role with a 2-1 OT win, but it’s still an impressive feat for Trotz, who found a way to reach that milestone with the same franchise. Check out this video of the pre-game ceremony:

Trotz wasn’t the only defensive-minded bench boss to coach in his 1,000th game, though. Los Angeles Kings’ coach Terry Murray also reached that milestone as his team pounded the Minnesota Wild. (Kings)

An Anaheim Ducks fan turns broken sticks into walking canes. Yes, that is awesome. (Jeff Miller – The Orange County Register.)

Joe Pelletier reveals that the other “Scotty” Bowman (Ralph) scored the first penalty shot goal in NHL history 77 years ago today. (Greatest Hockey Legends.)

That Mike Smith signing is looking pretty shrewd through the first chunk of games, isn’t it? He notched a 31-save shutout against the San Jose Sharks to avenge that ugly season-opener that seems like an anomaly for the big goalie now. (The Associated Press.)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been out-scored 19-5 while going 1-3 in their last four games. Sure, Toronto is still on top of the Northeast Division, but is it time to get worried yet? (James Mirtle – The Globe & Mail.) In more sad news, here’s the Leafs’ own goal.

Well, Maple Leafs fans can at least comfort themselves in an old truculent standby: a random fight video. Delight as Mike Brown and Zenon Konopka punch each other a lot.

If the NHL season ended today, Phil Kessel would be the first American to lead the league in scoring. Maybe that will get a few more non-Leafs fans to pull for him, then? (Steve Simmons – The Toronto Sun.)

Jeremy Lynn floats a wild idea: is Marian Hossa currently the best player on the Chicago Blackhawks? (CSNChicago.com.)

The New Jersey Devils “trapped” the Washington Capitals into their own game, according to Joe Beninati. (CSNWashington.com.)

Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal

Getty
Leave a comment

By just about any measure, Monday’s been lousy to Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

He was pulled with a few minutes remaining in the first period after Chicago Blackhawks built a 3-1 lead, scoring those three goals on just eight shots on net.

You could summarize Vasilevskiy’s awful start by those numbers, or by how rare the 3-1 goal was for the scorer.

Tomas Jurco failed to score a goal or an assist in 16 games with the Red Wings, then went pointless in nine more games with Chicago before finally scoring his first goal of the season on Monday.

Now, Jon Cooper didn’t pull Vasilevskiy because Jurco scored that tally. Still, it rubs a little extra salt in his wounds all things considered.

Here’s the Jurco goal:

Patrick Kane‘s 2-1 goal might have hurt the most, actually, as it quickly dissolved a tying tally by Ondrej Palat:

Update: The Lightning decided to put Vasilevskiy back in net to begin the second period. Interesting.

Coach Q thinks Anisimov will be back by playoffs for Blackhawks

Getty
Leave a comment

The bad news is that Artem Anisimov seems likely to miss all – or at least most – of the regular season for the Chicago Blackhawks with his lower-body injury.

The good? Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville believes that Anisimov will be ready once the playoffs swing into motion, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.

Anisimov was hurt when he got tangled up with Canadiens forward Alex Radulov on March 14:

The Blackhawks have been filling Anisimov’s typical spot alongside Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin with Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz lately. There have been flashes of brilliance with Schmaltz, but Chicago would probably feel most confident with Anisimov back in his familiar place.

Chicago’s Central lead is pretty secure over the Minnesota Wild at the moment, which likely reduces motivation to rush Anisimov back before he’s truly ready. The Blackhawks close out their regular season on April 8, so there’s still time for him to heal up.

Ducks demote Enroth, so Gibson’s close to a return

Getty
1 Comment

The Anaheim Ducks are flying high – er, waddling with some swagger? – right now thanks to Jonathan Bernier‘s somewhat shocking turnaround, but the pending return of John Gibson is promising.

(Especially since the Ducks will likely want him to shake off some rust before the playoffs begin.)

While it’s not clear if he’s exactly 100 percent healthy just yet, the Ducks sending Jhonas Enroth back to the AHL is a strong sign that Gibson is close.

Enroth actually never got a shot to start for the Ducks, as his last NHL appearance came on Nov. 30, closing off his ill-fated run with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Considering that Enroth was once a fairly hot commodity as at least a promising backup, it will be interesting to see how his 2017-18 season pans out. Will he get more or less of a chance than he received this season?

Bernier, meanwhile, is richly rewarding the Ducks for sticking with him.

He’s provided them with a Vezina-caliber March: 9-1-1, 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage with one shutout. You almost wonder if there’s at least some potential for a goalie controversy if Gibson stumbles whenever he gets back into action … but hey, having two good goalies to choose from is better than none.

(Which was the scenario that must have scared the Ducks when Gibson got hurt in the first place.)

WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning

Getty
Leave a comment

The Tampa Bay Lightning almost certainly haven’t faced the Chicago Blackhawks in a game this important since the two teams were vying for a Stanley Cup.

While the Blackhawks have already punched their ticket to the postseason and are merely trying to pad their lead in the Central Division, the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives. At the moment, they rank three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final spot in the East. With a game in hand, they can make up a lot of ground tonight.

With all of that in mind, it should be an entertaining contest. You can check it out on NBCSN, watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.