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 Chicago Blackhawks picked up some forward depth today, adding winger Tomas Jurco in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings.
In return, the ‘Hawks sent the Wings a third-round draft pick in 2017.
Jurco has only appeared in 16 games this season. He has no goals and no assists.
The 24-year-old was forced to undergo back surgery this past offseason.
“I could still play with it but the worst for me was sitting on the bench all the time,” Jurco said in November, per NHL.com. “Sometimes I’d have to get up and walk. Sometimes I’d stretch it. It was bad and I’ve been sitting a lot for the last couple of years on the bench. It was really tough but I’m glad it’s gone and I’m excited for a fresh start.”
A pending restricted free agent, Jurco’s cap hit is just $900,000.
In a corresponding move, the ‘Hawks assigned rookie forward Vinnie Hinostroza to the AHL.
— Up top, Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan talks about the upcoming trade deadline. The way his team has been playing, it’s no surprise to hear he doesn’t expect to be very busy.
— The Caps are in the second year of a two-year window, and the urgency to finally win a Stanley Cup couldn’t be higher. Says MacLellan: “That doesn’t mean that going forward we’re not going to be good, but something’s got to give because of the roster we have. Something’s got to fall out, and I’m not sure what it’s going to be, but it’s not going to be the same.” (NHL.com)
— The Montreal Canadiens, no longer a sure bet to make the playoffs, are one of the teams eyeing Arizona center Martin Hanzal, reports Pierre LeBrun. Hanzal is a pending unrestricted free agent. The 30-year-old has 15 goals and 10 assists in 50 games this season. (TSN)
— Hockey history buffs will enjoy this story on Billy Coutu, a.k.a “Wild Beaver,” who was banned by the NHL for life after attacking a couple of referees in 1927. Coutu tried to resurrect his career in the minors, but with little success. (Sports Illustrated)
— Blackhawks rookie Nick Schmaltz stayed hot last night with a goal and an assist against the Coyotes. “I’m making more plays off the rush, in the zone,” he says. “I’m definitely more accustomed to playing this style and hopefully we can keep it going because I know that’s how the Blackhawks have played in the past. And it only helps our team game when every line is playing well.” (CSN Chicago)
— Tomorrow’s outdoor game in Pittsburgh is a big one for the Flyers — but not because of the spectacle of the event. To stay in the playoff race, Philadelphia badly needs the two points. “Honestly, it’s business first,” says head coach Dave Hakstol. “There is something to the event and certainly something important with family and the type of event it is. But, let’s be honest. Right now, it’s business first. That’s what our focus will be.” (CSN Philly)
Enjoy the games!
The mumps are back.
Three years after a league-wide outbreak sidelined a slew of players, the Canucks have announced that d-man Troy Stecher has been diagnosed with mumps, while four other players — Chris Tanev, Nikita Tryamkin, Mike Chaput and Markus Granlund — have presented symptoms.
More, from the club:
The team has worked from the outset with the Vancouver Health Authority, NHL, NHLPA and BC Centre for Disease Control to minimize transmission of the illness.
In keeping with BC Centre of Disease Control and Vancouver Coastal Health guidelines, players presenting symptoms are immediately being tested and quarantined in isolation for a five-day period from the onset of symptoms or until test results prove negative.
Vaccines are also being administered to minimize further risk of contraction along with universal preventative hygiene measures as recommended by Vancouver Coastal Health including disinfecting all dressing room areas.
Vancouver’s in the midst of its bye week. Saturday’s home date against the Sharks will be its first since a 3-2 loss to Philly on Sunday.
Given that Stecher’s out and the other four are being quarantined, the Canucks project to be severely undermanned tomorrow. There was no immediate announcement for AHL recall plans, or emergency roster replacements.
Following Saturday’s game, Vancouver is back in action again on Tuesday, when it hosts Detroit.
The Anaheim Ducks have acquired winger Patrick Eaves in a trade with the Dallas Stars. The cost was a conditional second-round draft pick in 2017.
Eaves, 32, is enjoying a career year with 21 goals in 59 games. A pending unrestricted free agent, his cap hit is just $1 million. It was expected that he’d be traded prior to next week’s deadline.
Eaves join a Ducks team that could use a few more goals. Of note, Corey Perry has struggled offensively, scoring just 11 times in 62 games.
Below is the condition on the draft pick, which could turn into a first-round selection.
Based on draft position, Dallas will receive the middle pick of Ottawa, San Jose or Toronto’s second-round selections in 2017 per the conditions in which Anaheim acquired the pick from Toronto in a previous trade. Should Anaheim advance to the third round of the postseason and Eaves plays in 50% or more of their games in the first two rounds, the selection becomes the Ducks first-round selection in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Related: The Wild have options in search for forward depth