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.
In contrast to Maple Leafs bench boss Randy Carlyle, Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock thinks players will be energized when they return from the Olympics. (Detroit News)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $600. Starts Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Although Nathan Horton had a strong debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the fact that he missed the first half of the season has caught up to him. (Columbus Dispatch)
Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester’s inclusion in Team Canada had a lot to do with his success during the world championships. (Calgary Sun)
After being sidelined for most of the 2012-13 campaign, the New York Islanders were expecting that this would be a development season for Calvin de Haan. Instead the 22-year-old blueliner has taken a major step forward and is logging big minutes with the Islanders. (Newsday)
Speaking of young defensemen that have been making their mark this season, Olli Maatta has bounced back nicely after he was listed as a healthy scratch on Dec. 31. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Kirk Penton argues that the Winnipeg Jets need to shift Dustin Byfuglien from the blueline to forward. (Winnipeg Sun)
Marcus Kruger has replaced Michal Handzus as the Chicago Blackhawks’ center for Patrick Kane’s line. (Chicago Tribune)
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety has come down on San Jose tough guy Micheal Haley.
On Monday, Haley was suspended one game for his sucker punch of Preds forward Calle Jarnkrok, near the end of Nashville’s 7-2 over the Sharks on Saturday.
“Haley forcefully punches a player who is off balance, not engaged in the confrontation and not even looking when the punch is thrown,” the DoPS explained, via video. “This is a forceful punch on an opponent who is not able to defend himself at the time.”
The DoPS did acknowledge Jarnkrok’s hit on Haley that preceded the punch — Jarnkrok was given a boarding minor on the play — and also noted that Haley explained he was seeking retribution for said hit.
In addition, the DoPS acknowledged this was Haley’s first offense.
As a result of the suspension, Haley will now miss San Jose’s next game — tomorrow at home against the Rangers — and will be eligible to return on Thursday, when the Sharks take on the Oilers in Edmonton.
Haley will also forfeit $3,472.22 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Some interesting comments today from Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, after goalie Tuukka Rask returned to practice.
Cassidy’s remarks came in the wake of Saturday’s big win in Brooklyn — a game that Rask missed with a lower-body injury.
“He had a good practice today,” Cassidy said of Rask, per CSN New England. “He’s a guy that’s played a lot of hockey this year … and he’s not a 240-pound goaltender that can handle all of the games, all of the workload every year. We know that. I’m not going to put limitations on him, but we probably overused him at the start of the year. At this time of year, it gets tougher and tougher with any player that’s been overplayed.”
It remains to be seen which netminder will get the nod tomorrow against Nashville at TD Garden. Anton Khudobin stopped 18 of 19 shots in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Islanders. After a 1-5-1 start to the season, the 30-year-old backup has won his last five starts.
But Cassidy insisted today that Rask is the Bruins’ “No. 1 goalie.”
“He’s our No. 1 and his health is very important,” said Cassidy. “When he’s physically ready to go and he tells me that, then we’ll make that decision.”
Logan Couture took a puck to the face Saturday in Nashville, forcing him to leave an eventual 7-2 loss to the Predators — and leave it without all his teeth.
Today, the San Jose forward is seeing the dentist. The hope, according to head coach Pete DeBoer, is that Couture’s injury isn’t as serious as initially feared.
“You see him the next day, the swelling wasn’t as bad as we thought,” DeBoer said Monday, per CSN Bay Area. “He’s seeing the dentist today, and going to have some dental work done. But, I think the initial prognosis is that we feel pretty fortunate that with the amount of damage compared to what it could have been.”
The slumping Sharks, losers of six straight, have seven games left in the regular season. They host the Rangers tomorrow.
The two top scorers on the Western Michigan Broncos have signed with NHL teams, according to ESPN’s John Buccigross.
Forward Matheson Iacopelli, 22, has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted him 83rd overall in 2014 out of the USHL. Iacopelli had 20 goals and 16 assists in 40 games this season.
Forward Griffen Molino, meanwhile, will join the Vancouver Canucks organization. Undrafted, the 23-year-old Molino had 15 goals and 18 assists in 40 games this season.
Iacopelli (6-3, 206) and Molino (6-0, 185) were linemates with the Broncos, along with senior Sheldon Dries.