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.
Dustin Brown’s season started off rough and nearly ended up being even harder thanks to trade rumors. Through it all though, he’s proving to be the leader the Kings needed all along. (Los Angeles Times)
Ryan Miller said last night’s win over Washington was “a lot of fun.” Let’s not ask the Caps about it though. (CSNWashington.com)
Joe Thornton wants his Sharks to enjoy the pressure they’re under to make the playoffs. That’s a novel approach. (CSNBayArea.com)
Go figure: The Red Wings start getting healthy and they start scoring goals. That’s… Not a coincidence. (Detroit Free Press)
Barry Trotz don’t care about no stinkin’ milestones. 500 wins? Pssh, whatever. (Tennessean)
Explain this: The Canadiens are out of the playoffs, they said they wanted to get a good look at their kids and yet Blake Geoffrion continues to sit. (Montreal Gazette)
San Jose’s Andrew Desjardins is responding the right way after being benched. (CSNBayArea.com)
The Winnipeg Jets don’t believe it’s all over for them. The standings seem to indicate otherwise. (Winnipeg Sun)
The Wild will at least get a look at prospect Jason Zucker over their last few games as he’s signed out of Denver University. (Star Tribune)
Toronto’s Mike Brown says he’s not about to change his game in spite of it leading to nagging injuries. (Toronto Sun)
Last night’s Blues win over the Predators featured two of the three of the league’s highest-scoring pairs of defensemen. (Post-Dispatch)
Bruce Boudreau’s tantrum against Boston the other night was nearly one for the ages according to Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register. (OC Register)
From the NHL:
Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.
Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.
PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.
Now he knows.
“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”
The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.
More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.
It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”
Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.
“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”
Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.
RTV Slovenia has the story here.
The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.
The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.
Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.
Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win
PITTSBURGH — Matt Nieto is healthy, and ready to go.
But it doesn’t look like he’ll go tonight.
The San Jose Sharks are unlikely to make any lineup changes for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh — at Monday’s optional morning skate, Nieto stayed out late with the extras while the guy he’d (presumably) replace in the lineup, Dainius Zubrus, told NHL.com he was in.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t reveal any lineup decisions during his morning media availability, instead talking up both Nieto (for his speed) and Zubrus (for his “heavy” game), adding he liked the versatility the two give the club on a night-by-night basis.
Nieto suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of the Nashville series, and missed all of the Western Conference Final.
Prior to getting hurt, he had three points in 11 games — this after a regular season in which he scored eight goals and 17 points in 67 games.