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.
New York Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald is getting more minutes with the man advantage while Lubomir Visnovsky recovers from a concussion. The Islanders were already leaning heavily on MacDonald and he ended up logging 31:26 minutes in the team’s 5-4 overtime defeat to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. (Newsday)
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz talks about the Olympics and playing on a line with Sidney Crosby. (Penguins.nhl.com)
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Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella was asked about the New York Rangers struggles since he was fired, but he wouldn’t take the bait. “I don’t work there anymore and I’m certainly not going to criticize,” Tortorella said. (Newsday)
Newly retired goaltender Martin Biron singled out Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Smyth as his toughest opponent during his 16-season career. (NHLPA)
The New Jersey Devils are turning to video of retired forward Tomas Holmstrom to help them with their power play. (The Star-Ledger)
Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman took was in attendance for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ game against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. Although he went there to evaluate some of the Canadian talent, projected Team USA forward Phil Kessel stole the show with his hat trick. (Toronto Star)
The Penguins didn’t alter their roster much over the summer, but that doesn’t mean that nothing’s changed since their elimination in the Eastern Conference Finals. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Hightlights from Minnesota’s 2-0 win over Nashville:
The wait is finally over. The 2016 Stanley Cup Final is about to begin.
Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks received some time to lick their wounds after three grueling playoff rounds, so expect Game 1 to be fun, even if there might be a subtle bit of rust here or there.
The star power is considerable. The beards are burly (at least on the Sharks’ side). It’s time to get cracking.
Game 1 airs on NBC. You can also stream it via the link below and enjoy some “NHL Live” coverage leading in.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Plenty of people believe that the San Jose Sharks’ defense is superior to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ personnel, but it’s one thing to be better on paper. When you’re on the ice, against a speedy and talented team, can you really stop the Penguins?
All signs point to sorely underrated Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic drawing the difficult assignment of trying to slow down Sidney Crosby.
Vlasic, a former Team Canada teammate of Crosby (as you can see from this post’s main image), realizes that he’ll have his hands full. In fact, he seems to believe that this will be an even tougher challenge than trying to solve St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko.
The fantastic all-around defender isn’t exactly expecting to reinvent the wheel in his strategy against Crosby.
“It will be the same as in the first three series,” Vlasic said, via The Hockey News. “We’re playing against the top players on every time – Sid, (Evgeni) Malkin and those types of guys for Pittsburgh. Me and (Justin Braun) will just keep doing what we did, taking away time and space and hopefully it works out.”
The two players have had glowing things to say about each other for some time, but don’t be surprised if this high-level competition turns those happy thoughts into hard feelings.
It stands as one of the matchups to watch in what could be a fresh and fascinating Stanley Cup Final.
This summer looks like it could be one of changes for the Detroit Red Wings, even beyond the most obvious storyline of Pavel Datsyuk‘s future.
One area where the Red Wings would like to make some tweaks is in net, namely in trading Jimmy Howard. The Detroit Free-Press points out that GM Ken Holland admitted that moving the former franchise netminder “might be good for the organization.”
It’s reasonable to wonder what kind of market there will be for Howard, whose deal ($5.29 million cap hit through 2018-19) looks pretty tough to stomach on paper.
Maybe it’s best to consider the Red Wings’ options if Howard starts the 2016-17 season off on a strong note, or something of that nature. Perhaps an expansion draft could “solve” that problem if Detroit cannot find any takers?
The Red Wings remain forward-thinking and patient, which likely explains why the Free-Press focuses on their confidence with prospect Jared Coreau.
“In the big scheme of things, he’ll play in Grand Rapids for another year, but now we know he can play a lot of minutes if needed,” Goalie coach Jeff Salajko said. “Jimmy Howard played four years in the minors. We’re not rushing Jared, but he is going to be an NHL goalie, there is no doubt in my mind about that.”
In other words, a pairing of Petr Mrazek and Coreau wouldn’t just be a cost-effective duo … it might just be the Red Wings’ ideal scenario in the not-too-distant future.
From the NHL:
Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.
Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.