PHT Morning Skate: Where Penguins might be interested in Iginla

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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.

Dallas Stars forward Derek Roy returned from a groin injury on Feb. 4, but he only recently told coach Glen Gulutzan that he’s finally feeling 100% healthy. It’s probably not coincidental that Roy has five points in his last three games. (Dallas Morning News)

Ryan O’Reilly beat himself up for accidentally scoring on his own net in his first game with the Colorado Avalanche since holding out as a restricted free agent. However, Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco wasn’t particularly harsh in his assessment of O’Reilly’s play. (Denver Post)

Patrick Kane double-shifted in Chicago’s 2-1 shootout victory over Detroit on Sunday and consequently led all Blackhawks forwards with 23:29 minutes on the ice, but Kane never says no to more playing time. (Chicago Tribune)

40-year-old goaltender Martin Brodeur will miss at least two more games due to his sore back. He hasn’t played for the New Jersey Devils since Feb. 21. (New Jersey Online)

If the Calgary Flames decide to put Jarome Iginla on the market, will he end up playing with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh? (Ottawa Sun)

The Tampa Bay Lightning have called up 21-year-old forward Ondrej Palat from the minors on Sunday. He was taken with the 208th pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but has been excelling in the AHL and might make his NHL debut on Monday. (Lightning.nhl.com)

Legendary coach Scotty Bowman thinks teams should spend time practicing shootouts. Devils coach Pete DeBoer might follow his advice, given New Jersey’s 0-3 record in shootouts this season. (New Jersey Online)

Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall missed Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild due to a strain in his leg. It would have been his first contest against the Wild since his hit on Cal Clutterbuck put the Wild forward on the injured reserve list with a thigh contusion. Hall served a two-game suspension for kneeing. (Edmonton Sun)

The Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins exchanged in a fierce and close battle on Sunday as they both sought to claim sole possession of the Northeast Division lead. If you want to check out the highlights, you can do so below:

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Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.

Blackhawks bolster Central lead, shine harsh light on Penguins’ struggles

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Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.

With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.