Chuck Kobasew, Gabriel Landeskog, Kyle Quincey, Jason Garrison

PHT Morning Skate: Where hockey turns into pinball


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.

“Neutral zone trap” used to be the catch-all phrase to describe hockey that was passive, bland and annoyingly successful to people not rooting for those passive, bland and annoyingly successful teams. Now it seems that shot-blocking is the new buzzword; The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek studies how hockey is “turning into pinball” because of the practice. (Does that make the Washington Capitals pinball wizards?)

The third overall pick of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft might be a tough draw for the Montreal Canadiens. (Montreal Gazette)

Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk is on the verge of hiring the guy who brought him into Dallas years ago: former Stars GM Bob Gainey. Mike Heika reports he’ll be an “important voice,” although the official title will probably be something like consultant. (Dallas Morning News)

San Jose Sharks-centric blog Fear the Fin has an interesting perspective on the Western Conference finals being that fellow Pacific Division teams Phoenix and Los Angeles will duke it out. With that in mind, they provide a rather interesting breakdown. (Fear the Fin)

The Coyotes and Kings’ season series and recent rivalry creates some serious baggage, but the victorious team could very well be the one that can put that aside. (

Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts focuses on the rumors of “strife” behind the scenes revolving around the Chicago Blackhawks’ power play struggles. (CBC)

Stanley Cup of Chowder poses perhaps the biggest question of the Boston Bruins’ off-season: Tuukka Rask or Tim Thomas? (SCoC)

The Phoenix Coyotes must balance “rest versus preparation.” (AZ Central)

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello believes that his team has “evolved into something special.” (Fire & Ice)

Behind Jeff Halpern’s “difficult” return after 19 games as a Washington Capitals healthy scratch. (

Sure, Tom Stillman inherits a promising team in the St. Louis Blues, but the new owner also inherits money headaches. (St. Louis Today)

Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible:



Commodore rips into Babcock on social media

Mike Commodore

Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.

Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.

As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being embarrassed in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.

Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.

“3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”

Commodore wasn’t done there:

And there was much, much more.

To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.