Taylor Hall

PHT Morning Skate: Taylor Hall would like his slump to go away


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.

Taylor Hall is slumping and it’s his second season in the NHL. What do they call those things again…? (Edmonton Journal)

Calgary’s Paul Byron would like it if the Sabres stopped holding his first NHL goal puck hostage from last season when he was a Sabre. Tough crowd in Buffalo, eh? (Senators Extra)

Make it 6-8 weeks for Scottie Upshall to be out of the Panthers lineup. That didn’t seem to bother them last night thumping Dallas 6-0. (TSN)

The Ducks have their fingers crossed that Niklas Hagman can find his game and help the Ducks snap out of their losing ways. Good luck on both accounts there. (L.A. Times)

NHL concussion numbers are down so far this year? Apparently so. (Toronto Sun)

Scoring first could make all the difference in the upcoming Ducks-Kings home-and-home series. (L.A. Kings Insider)

New Jersey’s Adam Larsson doesn’t think Milan Lucic was gunning for him specifically last night. Don’t tell the Sabres that though. (The Star-Ledger)

Kerry Fraser says diving is still happening and officials can solve that by calling the penalty. Why wasn’t he this vocal when he was a referee? (TSN)

The Sharks are good but they want to get better in the faceoff circle. Just let superhero Joe Pavelski handle this. (CSNBayArea.com)

Former Panther Radek Dvorak says that Stephen Weiss should be Florida’s next captain. But that would make sense, Radek. (Sun Sentinel)

Finally, check out the kick save and a beauty by Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer to help bail out Henrik Lundqvist. (NHL)

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen