Dustin Penner, Michal Rozsival

PHT Morning Skate: Where we look at the Kings, Coyotes, Rangers’ mediocre starts

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.

28-year-old defenseman Anton Babchuk has missed the Calgary Flames’ first seven contests due to a shoulder injury, but he’s now cleared for contact. Unfortunately the news isn’t as good for top prospect Sven Baertschi. (Flames.nhl.com)

The Winnipeg Jets decided to return 19-year-old forward Mark Scheifele to the OHL after a four-game trial this season. His junior coach thinks that the lockout and financial considerations ultimately hurt Scheifele’s chances, who was taken with the seventh overall pick in 2011. (Winnipeg Sun)

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau gave a straightforward reason as to why 20-year-old forward Devante Smith-Pelly was returned to the minors after only five games: He wasn’t getting enough playing time. “In and out of the lineup, for a kid that age, is stunting his growth,” Boudreau said. (Orange County Register)

A look at why the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, and Phoenix Coyotes have all gotten off to mediocre starts despite making it to at least the semifinals last season. (Sportsnet)

26-year-old forward Patric Hornqvist (shoulder) is progressing nicely according to Predators coach Barry Trotz. Based on his original timetable, Hornqvist should be back by mid-to-late February. (The Tennessean)

The Edmonton Oilers have been devastated by injuries over the past several years. Oilers coach Ralph Krueger is hoping to change that…next season. (Edmonton Sun)

The little things are turning into big problems for the Washington Capitals. (Washington Times)

With Miikka Kiprusoff sidelined due to a lower body injury, this is a big opportunity for 24-year-old goaltender Leland Irving. Typically netminders don’t get too many chances to prove themselves as Kiprusoff’s understudy. (Calgary Sun)

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)

Video: Dion Phaneuf’s assist is his first point with Senators

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Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.

Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.

You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.

Here’s his second assist for good measure:

Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.