Dave Bolland #36 of the Chicago Blackhawks scores past Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins in the third period in Game Six of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 24, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(June 23, 2013 - Source: Jim Rogash/Getty Images North America)

PHT Morning Skate: Goalie rankings, 2013’s best games


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.

Former NHL forward Nikolai Zherdev has signed with the KHL Lev Prague. (Ria Novosti)

Sam McCaig gives his rankings of the NHL’s top 30 goaltenders. (Yahoo!)

A detailed look at Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor Lewis. (LA Kings Insider)

Dallas Stars assistant GM Les Jackson was happy with what he saw from 20-year-old defenseman Jamie Oleksiak in his first pro season. (Stars.nhl.com)

Adam Kimelman lists off the best games of the 2013 campaign. (NHL.com)

Is it time for the NHL to expand to 32 teams? Ken Campbell argues that it’s viable from a talent pool perspective. It’s worth adding that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly recently said that the Pacific Northwest would get “serious consideration” if the league were to expand or relocate a franchise. (The Hockey News)

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.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.

CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?