PHT Morning Skate: Ryan Suter is more than Shea Weber’s wingman

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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.

As respect for Shea Weber has exploded around the league, there are those who may have forgotten that Ryan Suter could be just as good. (Tennessean)

Whether he’s ready or not, the magical 2011 has finally come to an end for Logan Couture. (CSN Bay Area)

Cam Charron talks about Petr Mrazek’s celebrations and reminding everyone that hockey games between young kids (the World Juniors) is supposed to be fun. (Backhand Shelf)

Talk about living the charmed life. Not only has Adam Henrique had a chance to break into the NHL, he’s getting the chance to do so between Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise. This is taking the “putting him in position to succeed” idea to a whole new level. (Star-Ledger)

The good news is that Team USA looked a lot better in their narrow defeat to Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. The bad news is that the game didn’t mean a thing (for either team) after back-to-back losses by Team USA earlier this week. (Buzzing the Net)

Is it too soon to call the Avalanche losers in that Semyon Varlamov trade? What about the Erik Johnson trade? Adrian Dater says the jury is still out. (Denver Post)

Tim Thomas spoke out about going 11 days between starts after the Bruins 4-2 loss in Dallas. Actually, he refused to say anything—which told us all we needed to know. (Boston Herald)

Matthew Hulsizer had until midnight to complete his purchase of the St. Louis Blues. Since the deadline has come and gone, now what? (Post-Dispatch)

Panthers’ enforcer Krys Barch was ejected from Saturday night’s game after a linesman heard him drop a racial slur directed at PK Subban. Judging by the Panthers general partners comments, the game misconduct could be the least of Barch’s worries. (On Frozen Pond)

Finally, Steven Stamkos finishes the year in style. A hat trick for Stammer and the 500th assist for Martin St. Louis. He’s going to be pretty good when he grows up. (NHL)

Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.

Gibson (lower-body injury) will play again this regular season, says Carlyle

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The Anaheim Ducks have been without goalie John Gibson for almost two full weeks because of injury, but head coach Randy Carlyle provided reason for optimism on Thursday.

Per reports, Gibson took part in practice and Carlyle has said that his No. 1 netminder will play again during the regular season. Anaheim has nine games remaining on its schedule.

That’s good news for Anaheim heading into the post-season.

While Gibson has been out, Jonathan Bernier has stepped beyond his back-up role and provided solid goaltending for the Ducks during the stretch drive — which should also be a bonus for this club with the playoffs quickly approaching.

Bernier has wins in six of his last seven starts. In nine games this month, he has only twice allowed three goals or more.

The Ducks have fought their way back into contention for the Pacific Division with a recent surge that has coincided with San Jose’s current skid — only four wins in their last 10 games and four straight losses.

Related: Career back on track, Bernier hopes he can re-sign in Anaheim