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. (Ducks.nhl.com)
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)
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.