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)

Canada scores five unanswered in 5-1 rout of Team USA at Worlds

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Team Canada’s veteran lineup was too much for the young Americans to handle today in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where the Canadians rolled to a convincing 5-1 victory as the preliminary round of the World Championship got underway.

The United States actually opened the scoring, on a first-period, power-play goal by Patrick Maroon. But Taylor Hall quickly tied it, and soon after that, Brendan Gallagher gave the Canadians the lead. Matt Duchene, Boone Jenner, and Brad Marchand added the insurance goals for Canada.

Keith Kinkaid was in goal for the Americans, Cam Talbot for the Canadians.

Auston Matthews logged 16:56 in ice time and registered three shots for Team USA, who play Belarus tomorrow.

The Canadians are off until Sunday, when they’ll take on Hungary.

Rangers’ Lindberg has hip surgery, will need six months to recover

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Oscar Lindberg #24 of the New York Rangers celebrates his second goal of the game at 5:12 of the first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Madison Square Garden on October 10, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Rangers announced this morning that forward Oscar Lindberg has undergone a “successful simultaneous bilateral hip labral repair.”

That’s a long way of saying he had hip surgery.

The Rangers say the expected recovery time for Lindberg is six months, meaning the 24-year-old is likely to get a late start to next season.

In 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL, Lindberg had 13 goals and 15 assists in 68 games. However, he was a regular healthy scratch down the stretch.

“I thought Oscar was playing well,” head coach Alain Vigneault said in March. “But when Rick Nash came back, we had 13 healthy forwards. It’s just the way it slotted out.”

In the playoffs, Lindberg dressed for just two of the Rangers’ five contests (Games 4 and 5 versus Pittsburgh).

Related: Rangers sign Lindberg

Report: Wild talked to Crawford, Boucher about head coaching gig

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Of all the available coaching gigs, Minnesota’s seems to be the most muddled right now — there’s still no word on the status of interim bench boss John Torchetti, and GM Chuck Fletcher has reached out to both Randy Carlyle and Bruce Boudreau.

Now, the Star-Tribune is reporting Fletcher has also contacted another pair of veteran coaches: Marc Crawford and Guy Boucher.

Crawford, fresh off a four-year stint in the Swiss League — where he coached coveted draft prospect Auston Matthews in Zurich — is gunning for an NHL return, and would even accept an assistant coaching position to get his foot back in the door.

Related: Marc Crawford coaching in Detroit? Hey, could happen…

Boucher, also coming off a stint in the Swiss League, wants back in the NHL as well. He was in the running for a pair of gigs last offseason — Toronto, which ultimately went to Mike Babcock, and New Jersey, which ultimately went to John Hynes.

An interesting wrinkle with the Wild’s coaching search? Per the Star-Tribune, it sounds like coaches might be asking as many questions of Fletcher as Fletcher is of the coaches. The longtime GM has come under fire recently for the club’s current roster makeup, which forced owner Craig Leipold to give Fletcher a public vote of confidence during the playoffs.

Caggiula expected to sign shortly, Canucks could be front-runners

during the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championships at Amalie Arena on April 9, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.The North Dakota Fighting Hawks defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats 5-1 to win the national title. Getty
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College free agent Drake Caggiula is expected to pick a team shortly, possibly even today.

The University of North Dakota winger had originally shortlisted six teams, according to a report. Those teams were Philadelphia, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Chicago and Buffalo.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said this morning on Edmonton radio that the Canucks are “maybe” the front-runners to land the 21-year-old. Vancouver signed Caggiula’s teammate, defenseman Troy Stecher, a couple of weeks ago, and Caggiula’s linemate, Brock Boeser, was drafted by the Canucks in the first round last year.

Recently, Boeser told Postmedia that he was trying to convince Caggiula to sign with Vancouver, where there will be plenty of opportunities for young forwards in the next couple of years.

If it’s not the Canucks, McKenzie said he’s heard the Oilers have a “puncher’s chance” of getting Caggiula.