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.
Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean didn’t think much of Mika Zibanejad’s conditioning, attitude, or even play when he started the season with AHL Binghamton. However, MacLean thinks the 19-year-old rookie forward has grown a lot. (Ottawa Citizen)
The Los Angeles Kings are auctioning off a Stanley Cup championship ring for charity with the proceeds going to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and City Year Los Angeles. You can also bid on a dinner with Kings president and retired Hall of Fame player Luc Robitaille. (LA Kings Insider)
Ted Black, the president of the Buffalo Sabres, doesn’t seem to have a problem with the fans booing because they haven’t been able to produce a winner yet. “I’d be more concerned if fans stopped caring,” Black said. (Buffalo News)
Edmonton’s City Council has approved the deal for the Oilers new arena, but more money still needs to be raised. (NHL.com)
The New York Islanders have stayed in the playoff race by fighting hard in the third period of close games. (New York Newsday)
The Detroit Red Wings will try using Valtteri Filppula as a center on Thursday. Filppula has experience in that position, but has been more recently serving as a winger. He’s been struggling offensively this season after recording a career-high 66 points in 2011-12. (Detroit Free Press)
Having defenseman Brent Burns serve as a forward has sparked the San Jose Sharks’ offense. (CSN Bay Area)
New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (eye) took part in an optional practice on Wednesday. His right eye is still blurry, but his peripheral vision is “fine.” (New York Newsday)
Here are the highlights from Boston’s 5-4 victory over New Jersey:
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Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
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.