Shane Wener, Ryan Suter, Curtis Glencross

PHT Morning Skate: Where Suter’s more important than Weber

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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.

Sure he doesn’t have Shea Weber’s looming size, booming shot or kabooming hits, but there are some who believe that Ryan Suter might be more important to the Nashville Predators than his attention-grabbing partner. (Section 303)

Want the lowdown on the guy who trolled pancake-loving Los Angles Kings forward Dustin Penner with an Aunt Jemima container? Fake Chris Kontos has you covered. (The Royal Half)

Tomas Vokoun apparently wants to play the puck more often going forward. No word on if he’s invested in Bad Idea Jeans, too. (The Washington Times)

I haven’t seen a story about the historical ramifications of this, but John Erskine received a triple-minor penalty in Washington’s 3-0 win against Montreal last night. He received a double-minor for high-sticking and a single minor for elbowing. It’s a solid testament to the Habs’ futile power play that the Capitals still left the game with a shutout, though.

How different are the Capitals under Dale Hunter, really? (CSNWashington.com)

Peter Mueller produced a glorious three-point night that many – myself included – worried wouldn’t happen again after his most recent bout with concussions. (All Things Avs)

Don’t look now, but the Jiri Hudler that the Detroit Red Wings once really missed seems to be back to that form – or at least close. (Detroit Free Press)

Mike Boone says that you “had to stay up late to gauge precisely how bad things are for your Montreal Canadiens.” I prefer broad strokes rather than precise aims, however, so I’ll just tab things as “really bad” for now. (Habs Inside/Out)

The Carolina Hurricanes made a trade with the Florida Panthers that includes Evgeni Dadonov, who better be known as “Big daddy” if that isn’t already his nickname.* (Hurricanes)

Click on the link to read Brian Burke’s “Ally Award” acceptance speech. (Maple Leafs)

Finally, here’s something from then “I totally meant to do that” department: Western Michigan’s fake/double slap shot:

* – What’s the deal with people calling each other “Big daddy,” by the way? That’s one creepy term of endearment.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
AP
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.