PHT Morning Skate: Steckel thrilled Leafs traded him to ‘superior’ Ducks


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.

Florida Panthers goaltender Jacob Markstrom has had difficulty getting comfortable in the opening minutes of his recent starts, but he broke that trend on Tuesday. (Sun Sentinel)

Former 34-goal scorer Michael Grabner (shoulder) might return to the New York Islanders’ lineup as early as Thursday. (New York Newsday)

David Steckel sees his trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs to Anaheim Ducks as a good birthday present. “You know you’re going to a superior team right now and it’s going to be fun,” he said. (Ducks.nhl.com)

San Jose Sharks forward Ryane Clowe admitted that he has watched video of himself from his more successful years and he wonders if there’s something he was doing then that he’s not doing anymore. He has no goals and nine assists in 25 games this season. (San Jose Mercury News)

Jaromir Jagr has historically been very effective against the Dallas Stars’ upcoming opponent, the Colorado Avalanche. (Dallas Morning News)

Edmonton Oilers coach Ralph Krueger likes the progress his team has made. 30-year-old blueliner Nick Schultz feels his teammates are starting to buy into the system. (Edmonton Journal)

For the Calgary Flames, losing is becoming all too familiar. (Calgary Sun)

Could we be in for an uneventful trade deadline? (Ottawa Citizen)

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
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Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: