PHT Morning Skate: A trade wouldn’t surprise Hemsky

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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.

Ales Hemsky thinks the Edmonton Oilers will “probably” trade him this season. He’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and the Oilers’ chances of making the playoffs are slim. Still, being involved in trade rumors is nothing new to him and he’s trying not to focus on it. (Edmonton Sun)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has entered into preliminary talks with GM Bryan Murray about a possible contract extension, but how the team does over the coming weeks might impact on those negotiations. (Ottawa Citizen)

Jonathan Drouin, who was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning with the third pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has recovered from a concussion. (Toronto Sun)

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall thinks that the Detroit Red Wings struggles have been closely related to missed opportunities with the man advantage. It certainly doesn’t help that they’ve dealt with more than their fair share of injuries lately. (Detroit News)

They’ll try to reverse their fortunes against Anaheim tonight. The Ducks haven’t endured the same offensive problems the Red Wings are currently going through. That’s due in large part to their top line for Corey Perry, Dustin Penner, and Ryan Getzlaf, which have combined for 43 points in the Ducks’ last 14 matches. (

With the Christmas roster freeze looming, what will the Toronto Maple Leafs do with Morgan Rielly? (Sportsnet)

The Washington Capitals plan to keep goaltender Philipp Grubauer on their active roster for now, even though Michal Neuvirth has recovered from an ankle injury. Grubauer has been great, but as coach Adam Oates noted, the sample size is small. (CSN Washington)

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?