PHT Morning Skate: Where the first round is the most dangerous

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.

Need a reason to root for the Florida Panthers or just a really compelling oral history of what it’s been like to follow the team from one fan? Kent Russell put together a fantastic (and personal) piece on that subject for Grantland. (Grantland)

To the surprise of few, Patrick Marleau is being fitted with goat horns in some circles. (

Interesting stuff from George Malkin on all the potential upsets: he discusses Scotty Bowman’s theory that “the first round is the most dangerous round.” Personally, I think every round is equally dangerous, because you can lose four games in any respective one and such. (The Malik Report)

Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture were great in Game 4 for the San Jose Sharks, but not quite great enough. (Fear the Fin)

Joe Haggerty believes that the Washington Capitals’ complaints about officiating after the Nicklas Backstrom suspension paid off in Game 4. (

Dirk Hoag wonders if the Nashville Predators can deliver that knockout blow to the Detroit Red Wings. (On the Forecheck)

From the “could have been a big concern but it’s kind of not” department, it sounds like Jaroslav Halak isn’t anywhere near a return. Bad news for Halak, not that big of a deal for the St. Louis Blues – at least not right now. (

The Philadelphia Flyers need to regain their discipline after the Pittsburgh Penguins’ power play capitalized on their mistakes in Game 4. (

Taking a look at Daniel Sedin’s “instant impact.” (

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.