Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 19, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(January 18, 2013 - Source: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America)

PHT Morning Skate: Who are the award winners at the halfway point?


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.

Although he’s been playing, Vincent Lecavalier’s foot still hasn’t fully recovered from the slap shot he absorbed on Feb. 2. Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher said the injury has been affecting Lecavalier’s push-off and timing, but on the plus side his foot has been improving lately. (Tampa Bay Times)

Forward Brooks Laich (groin) hasn’t skated with the Washington Capitals since Feb. 16. Meanwhile defensemen Mike Green (groin) didn’t skate Thursday morning and consequently missed his third straight game last night. (Washington Post)

ESPN’s Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun give their early picks for the Hart, Norris, Vezina, and Calder Trophies at the halfway point of the season. They also name who they think should be winning the Jack Adams Award and GM Of The Year races. (

Swiss hockey player Ronny Keller was paralyzed during a playoff contest. (Toronto Star)

The Chciago Blackhawks’ defensemen deserve a fair amount of the credit for allowing a league-best 1.79 goals per game. (CSN Chicago)

A look at the Ottawa Senators’ season at the halfway point. (Ottawa Citizen)

With blueliners Erik Johnson and Ryan Wilson sidelined, the Colorado Avalanche have been leaning heavily on defenseman Ryan O’Byrne. (Denver Post)

Henrik Tallinder was a late scratch from the New Jersey Devils’ game on Thursday due to a lower body injury. The 34-year-old blueliner did participate in Thursday’s morning skate prior to the contest. (The Bergen Record)

Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

Craig Anderson
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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.

Report: Teams ‘screaming bloody murder’ about Richards settlement

Mike Richards
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When the Los Angeles Kings announced they’d settled with Mike Richards, it didn’t take long for the accusations of salary-cap circumvention to materialize.

And though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly was adamant that the settlement was “far from” circumvention, apparently not everyone agrees with the league in that regard.

“Privately, other teams are screaming bloody murder and are threatening to make an issue about it at December’s Board of Governors’ meeting,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

Friedman goes into more detail in his story, so click the link to read more.

But remember how we wrote that the issue in this case was precedent, and that the “NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door”?

Well, one agent posed a good question to Friedman: “What’s to stop other teams from trying this?”