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.
Brandon Saad was disappointed to find out that he didn’t make the United States’ 2014 Winter Olympic squad, but he feels he’s taken a big step forward this season and hopes to get another chance to represent his country in the future. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Cory Schneider was similarly snubbed, but in his case it sounds like it came down to a decision between him and Jimmy Howard for the final goaltending slot. For his part, Schneider felt it would have been an “incredible” experience, but he also believes that he could have done better in the first half of the 2013-14 campaign. He’s focused on improving for the sake of the New Jersey Devils. (The Bergen Record)
San Jose Sharks forward Joe Pavelski did make the squad and he’s one of the 13 players returning from the 2010 silver medal winning team. He thinks that run will help give them some extra confidence. (San Jose Mercury News)
Team USA GM David Poile thinks John Carlson has evolved “from somewhat of a defensive defenseman to a two-way defenseman.” That helped the 23-year-old Capitals blueliner in his quest to make the Olympic team. (CSN Washington)
In an attempt to tell Ryan Kesler that he made the team, the USA Hockey accidentally contacted a 67-year-old Canadian. The man was happy to take Kesler’s spot, adding that he felt “Canada would be even happier if I played for you.” (Puck Daddy)
Shifting to the Canadian team, Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall has excelled offensively this season and is doing better without the puck, but he still doesn’t think he’ll make the cut. (Edmonton Journal)
Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon said that his team’s situation looked “bleak,” but the players are starting to believe in each other. (Sun Sentinel)
It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.
In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.
Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:
You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.
The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.
As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.
In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.
That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.
Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.
The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.
The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.
So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.
He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:
The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).
In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):
Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone.
So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.
Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.
Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?