Nicklas Backstrom #19 and Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals talk during the second period against the Montreal Canadiens at Verizon Center on January 24, 2013 in Washington, DC.
(January 23, 2013 - Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)

PHT Morning Skate: Where Backstrom’s a big part of Ovechkin’s success


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.

Derick Brassard wasn’t happy with his performance on Saturday against the New York Islanders, but the Rangers forward has been working hard to bounce back tonight. (New York Newsday)

Hobey Baker winner Drew LeBlanc is hoping to play with the Chicago Blackhawks before the season ends. Coach Joel Quenneville isn’t making any promises. (CSN Chicago)

Nicklas Backstrom has played a big role in Alex Ovechkin’s recent success. (Washington Times)

It might be a painful experience, but Carolina Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller is trying to learn from his team’s struggles this season. (The News & Observer)

The Florida Panthers won’t make the playoffs, but they still have goals for their final seven games. (

The New York Islanders certainly aren’t dismissing the Panthers as they get ready for tonight’s match. They know just how tough teams with little left to play for but their jobs can be. (New York Newsday)

Yesterday, the question in Edmonton was if Oilers GM Steve Tambellini should be fired. Today it’s if Craig MacTavish is the right man to replace him. (Edmonton Sun)

20-year-old forward Tobias Rieder has agreed to terms with the Phoenix Coyotes. (

Highlights from Chicago’s 5-2 victory against Dallas:

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Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.