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.
What could be the greatest compliment for Nicklas Lidstrom? Patrick Kane telling the world that he’s sick of playing him and wish he would just retire because he’s so good. (mlive.com)
Remember the ridiculous Bruins/Stars fight fest in Boston last year? The Razor boy remembers and has a hypothesis why it all went down. The rematch is tonight. (Dallas Morning News)
J.S. Giguere prepares to return to Anaheim to play for the first time since he was traded from the Ducks almost two years ago. “This game has been on my mind all year.” (Avalanche Official)
After missing six straight games with back spasms, the New Jersey Devils will get Henrik Tallinder back for their New Year’s Eve tilt against the Pens. (Star-Ledger)
More good news on the injury front: Andy McDonald is practicing with the Blues again. We all know that concussions take a while, but at least he’s out there with the “no contact” jersey. Baby steps. (Post-Dispatch)
This morning’s history lesson: Rangers fans can thank their own ownership for the formation of the Flyers. (NHL.com)
Coming into the World Junior Championships, Team USA expected to lean on Minnesota Wild prospect Charlie Coyle. So why was he stapled to the bench in a must win game against the Czech Republic? Apparently it’s rather difficult to play with the flu. (Coming Down The Pipe)
The Avalanche prepare for life without Matt Duchene. (Denver Post)
John Tortorella says that sometimes there’s “no honor” in the game; yet when his player pummels an unwilling opponent, it’s just a case of someone who “got what he deserved.” (NY Daily News)
Finally, Daniel Alfredsson shows everyone how to score a 400th goal in style. Yep, an OT game-winner will do just fine. (NHL)
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.”
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.