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PHT Morning Skate: Pondering playoff format changes

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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.

USA Today’s Kevin Allen has a bold idea: if the NHL plays a shortened season, should there be more playoff teams? Specifically, should they let 16-24 squads make it? (USA Today)

Sure, he drops a double negative in his actual quote, but it’s still heartening to hear that Kevin Lowe thinks that they’re will be a season. (Dan Tencer and Inside Sports)

Rob Zamuner wonders what’s next for concussion prevention and treatments. (The Sporting News)

Another edition of fans venting about the lockout. (Puck Daddy)

It sounds like Sidney Crosby is done with being involved in lockout meetings. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

The tickets to an ECHL game that’s happening at the Shark Tank sold out very quickly. (Fear the Fin)

A heart-breaking story about a fan’s father experiencing his final (barely hockey-related) moments. (Arctic Ice Hockey)

Ralph Krueger discusses his unusual route to becoming an NHL head coach. (

Sabres waive d-man Donovan

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Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.

The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.

The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.

Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.