James Neal

PHT Morning Skate: Where Penguins deliver pizzas


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.

Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates isn’t sure when defenseman Mike Green will be back, but it probably won’t be in time for Tuesday’s game against the Boston Bruins. (Washington Post)

Will signing Ryan O’Reilly lead to the Colorado Avalanche trading Paul Stastny? (Denver Post)

Ian Mendes lists 10 unexpected storylines of the 2013 campaign. Did you see any of these coming? (Ottawa Citizen)

San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat will miss at least two games due to a lower body injury. (San Jose Mercury News)

When the Chicago Blackhawks season began, their goaltending was one of their big question marks. Now netminders Corey Crawford and Ray Emery are counted as two of Chicago’s greatest strength. (Washington Times)

What did several of the Pittsburgh Penguins key players do before Monday’s 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning? Deliver pizzas. (Penguins.nhl.com)

Calgary Flames forward Jarome Iginla had just one goal in his first 16 contests, but he’s had no trouble finding the back of the net lately. (Calgary Sun)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed 19-year-old forward Josh Leivo to an entry-level deal. (Mapleleafs.nhl.com)

If you missed it, here are the highlights from Pittsburgh’s 4-3 win against Tampa Bay:

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GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.