Dany Heatley

Heatley to open with Getzlaf and Perry?


From NHL.com’s Curtis Zupke:

There’s two ways of looking at this.

One, in a positive light — Heatley’s a left-handed shot that would (theoretically) play LW with Perry on the right and Getzlaf down the middle. In that sense, it’s a natural fit. Two, Heatley’s frame (6-foot-4, 221 pounds) and skating ability (or lack thereof) is more suited to the puck-possession, big-bodied style that the 6-foot-4, 221-pound Getzlaf and 6-foot-3, 212-pound Perry play.

But there’s also the negative way to view this.

What often seems like a good fit doesn’t always work. Last year, the Ducks signed Dustin Penner in the hopes of recreating some of the magic he had with Getzlaf and Perry during the 2006-07 campaign, but it never panned out. Penner’s game simply tailed off too much; after a good start to the season (he had 16 points in 15 games in November), he scored just four times in 27 games prior to getting dealt to Washington for a fourth-round pick… which didn’t sound like the most pleasant departure.

From the OC Register:

Penner said the interaction with [Ducks GM Bob] Murray was short and quick.

“He just said, ‘You’ve been traded to Washington,’” Penner said. “I said, ‘Why?’ And then he said, ‘Cap room.’ And then I left.”

Just like that, Penner’s second stint with the Ducks didn’t last eight months. The big winger who won a Stanley Cup with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in 2007 was brought back on a one-year, $2-million deal to reignite the chemistry they had as a trio.

Penner arrived in training camp out of shape but worked his way back on to the top line and had his best run after an October concussion with seven goals and 12 assists in 18 games. His production tailed off but had picked up right before the trade.

Heatley, much like Penner, has been criticized for a lack of fitness and conditioning during his NHL career.

That said, Heatley — a two-time 50-goalscorer that popped 24 during the ’11-12 season — appears to be already focused on playing with Perry and Getzlaf, which may spur him on to arrive at Anaheim’s camp in the best shape imaginable:

Fight Video: Schenn, Chychrun drop the gloves as Coyotes score

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Brayden Schenn had a big game in Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

He scored a goal and had two assists in the defeat, but he also dropped the gloves with rookie Jakob Chychrun.

As you can tell by the video at the top of the page, Chychrun went after Schenn because the Flyers forward flattened Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone (Chychrun got two additional minutes for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct).

The fight occurred just as Martin Hanzal scored to the go-ahead goal in the game.

The officials reviewed it to see if it would stand or not (ultimately it did).

The momentum swung Arizona’s way after that, as they scored 1:39 later to extend their lead to 4-2.

PHT Morning Skate: Scheifele and Seguin play rock, paper, scissors after pregame warmup

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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.

–How do you decide who gets to be the last player off the ice after warmups? Play rock, paper, scissors of course! (Top)

Connor McDavid has the city of Edmonton buzzing again. (The New York Times)

–The fight against Alzheimer’s means a lot to Leafs president Brendan Shanahan. (Sports Illustrated)

–Justin Bieber played hockey with a pro team in the UK and pulled off a serious celebration. (BarDown)

–Would Wayne Gretzky have set all those records if he was playing in today’s NHL? Mike Brophy weighs in. (CBC.ca)

–Six forgotten players that are off to fast starts in 2016-17. (USA Today)

Kings win ugly with Budaj, making things even uglier for Predators

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31:  Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings reacts to the overtime goal of Jeff Carter #77 to beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 at Staples Center on October 31, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

How would you describe the Nashville Predators’ Stanley Cup bandwagon at the moment? A few flat tires? One of those abandoned school buses at a dump?

An unlikely occurrence – Peter Budaj winning four straight games for the Los Angeles Kings, all in overtime, all seriously in 2016 – puts a spotlight on an unsightly start for Nashville following a 3-2 OT decision.

In other words, it was another night where the Predators (early or not) didn’t look the part of Stanley Cup contenders.

Pekka Rinne has often been the scapegoat for Nashville’s losses, and his recent numbers justify some of the criticisms. Thursday doesn’t fall into that pattern, however. Instead, the Predators wasted a strong performance from their $7 million man, who stopped 42 out of 45 shots.

Budaj? He only needed to make 24 out of 26 stops to keep his unexpected winning streak going.

For the Kings and Predators, very different patterns continued on Thursday night.

Los Angeles has people wondering “How long can they win with Budaj?” and “Is there a team that can finally hog the puck against the Kings enough to expose him?” Don’t blame Kings fans who never want this strange sequence to end.

Nashville devotees, on the other hand, must wonder if they’re stuck in some sort of sick nightmare.

They’ve been a chic pick to win it all, yet they’re now at 2-4-1 with three away contests remaining on a challenging five-game road trip.

It’s early, but the headaches just keep multiplying for the Preds.

Mrazek comes up big as Red Wings win sixth in a row

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 21: Petr Mrazek #34 of the Detroit Red Wings looks on in the first period while playing the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena on October 21, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Are the Detroit Red Wings for real or are they headed toward a humbling regression? We might have to wait until their goalies look human before that question can really be answered.

For yet another game, Detroit’s netminder was outstanding, with Petr Mrazek helping the Red Wings beat the St. Louis 2-1 via a shootout (and a pretty stressful shootout in that).

It took eight rounds until Henrik Zetterberg managed Detroit’s second and decisive tally of the “skills competition,” and now Detroit is on a six-game winning streak.

Mrazek made 31 out of 32 games through overtime and was only beaten by Alex Steen in that shootout, stopping seven of eight attempts. He’s faced more than 30 shots on goal in all six of his appearances in 2016-17.

It is not as if there has been a big drop-off when Jimmy Howard has taken the net, either. Howard has only given up one goal in his two games, winning both of them.

Are the Red Wings asking a lot of Mrazek and Howard? Yep. Just take a look a this lopsided possession chart from Natural Stat Trick for another reminder.


You can see why skeptics murmur about this six-game winning streak being fool’s gold, but the Red Wings keep finding a way to win. Usually, it’s their goalies who have been doing the heavy lifting.