Jimmy Howard

PHT Morning Skate: Where Detroit is “Fifth Element” bad

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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.

The Detroit Red Wings are in a bad way after a 4-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. How bad? George Malik thought of the Bruce Willis oddball film “The Fifth Element,” but took the high road in not making a reference to Chris Tucker’s hair. (The Malik Report)

Speaking of things getting bad, Damien Cox believes that the Toronto Maple Leafs should cut ties with Phil Kessel. Wait, what? (Toronto Star)

With the GM meetings wrapped up, NHL.com’s Dan Rosen tabs five executives who should have the most exciting and/or interesting stretch runs. It must not have been easy to narrow that list down considering all the interesting playoff races … (NHL.com)

Marty Turco on Tuesday’s meltdown against the Tampa Bay Lightning: “You couldn’t write it any worse.” Sounds like a challenge. (CSNNE.com)

Sean Leahy looks into the Buffalo Sabres’ potentially history-making run from the bottom of the East to an unlikely playoff spot. Sure, they made a big run last season, but it would be nothing compared to doing it this year. (Puck Daddy)

Ilya Bryzgalov’s “positive vibes” have been humongous big for the Philadelphia Flyers lately. (CSNPhilly.com)

Jame McGinn delayed Adrian Dater’s exit from the press box, but helped to prompt a series of interesting thoughts about the Colorado Avalanche’s big win against the Buffalo Sabres. (All things Avalanche)

Bad news for the Washington Capitals: top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov will stay in the KHL next season, according to Slava Malamud. (Capitals Insider)

What’s a bigger deal: that the Columbus Blue Jackets “won” the tanking war by losing to the Edmonton Oilers last night, or Jim Matheson used the phrase: “nattering nabobs of negativism”? I’d lean toward the latter, but either way, here’s your challenge of the day: use the phrase “nattering nabobs of negativism” in a random conversation. (Edmonton Journal)

Is Dale Tallon producing anti-bulletin board material or just telling the truth when he calls the Washington Capitals the favorite to win the Southeast Division? (Florida Sun Sentinel)

Bolts lose ‘minute-munching defenseman’ Garrison for 3-5 weeks

during Game Two of the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 6, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.
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The Tampa Bay Lightning expect defenseman Jason Garrison to miss 3-5 weeks with a lower-body injury.

Garrison was hurt in Monday’s 5-1 loss to Ottawa. The 31-year-old played just 4:10 of that game, missing the final two periods.

“That’s a tough one too, because he’s a big minute-munching defenseman for us,” coach Jon Cooper told reporters. “A big body and size.”

Garrison has just four goals and three assists in 52 games, but he’s third on the Bolts in average ice time (18:23), second in blocked shots (76), and third in hits (69).

Matt Carle replaced Garrison for Tuesday’s 4-2 loss in Montreal.

Kadri fined $5K for throat slash gesture at Giordano

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
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Nazem Kadri‘s “inappropriate gestures” on Tuesday night have left him lighter in the wallet.

On Thursday, the NHL announced that Kadri has been fined $5,000 — the maximum allowable under the CBA — for making a throat slash gesture at Mark Giordano during Calgary’s 4-3 win over the Leafs two nights ago.

The incident occurred after Kadri took exception to a heavy Giordano check. While on the bench, the Leafs forward made the gesture, one the NHL has been cracking down on since 2000.

Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.

Report: Detroit interested in Columbus d-man Tyutin

Fedor Tyutin, Ryan White
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From the Columbus Dispatch:

The Red Wings had much brass in the building on Tuesday to watch the Blue Jackets play the Islanders in Nationwide.

GM Ken Holland was there, along with special assistant to the GM Kris Draper, and pro scout Kirk Maltby.

It’s believed the Red Wings were taking a close look at Fedor Tyutin, who is likely to be dealt by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

Tyutin, 32, has this and two more years remaining on a six-year, $27 million deal with a $4.5M average annual cap hit. One of the longest-tenured players in Columbus franchise history — he’s spent eight years with the Jackets, and played in both of the teams’ playoff appearances — Tyutin has fallen on hard times this year, and has been made a healthy scratch on a few occasions by head coach John Tortorella.

Unsurprisingly, Tyutin’s numbers are way down. He’s goalless with just two points through 43 games, and is averaging just 17:47 TOI per night — the lowest total of his career.

It’s not surprising Detroit’s kicking the tires on Tyutin. D-men Niklas Kronwall and Mike Green are both out of the lineup with knee and groin injuries and, last night versus Ottawa, Danny DeKeyser took a Dion Phaneuf shot to the knee.

 

All eyes on Schwartz ahead of return to sputtering Blues lineup

Jaden Schwartz
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The St. Louis Blues have not played particularly well since around Christmas.

It’s a story that hasn’t received much attention league-wide, because the Blues’ goaltending has been good enough to cover up a lot of their problems. Brian Elliott had a .937 save percentage in January. He’s up to .958 in February.

But there’s a reason the return of Jaden Schwartz, likely Friday in Florida, has the Blues players so excited.

“He’s a guy that brings a lot of energy to our lineup,” captain David Backes told the Post-Dispatch. “He’s a relentless forechecker who hounds the puck and that’s exactly what we could use right now.”

Backes has clearly been listening to head coach Ken Hitchcock, who’s been growing increasingly frustrated at his team’s inability to play in the opposition’s end. In their past five games, the Blues have managed shot totals of 25, 23, 27, 24, and 22, which isn’t very many at all.

“We’ve needed the power play the last two games, thank God, but we just don’t, we don’t compete when we get checked in the scoring areas near as hard as we have to,” Hitchcock told reporters.

Once Schwartz gets back up to speed, he should help. Last year, he finished second on the team in goals (28) and fourth in shots (184).

But he won’t solve everything, particularly with Alex Pietrangelo sidelined now.

In their 20 games since Christmas, the Blues are in the bottom 10 in score-adjusted Corsi (a measure of puck possession), and that isn’t like them at all.

Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made