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Travis Hamonic has some thoughts on his league-worst minus-17 rating

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Though plus-minus has been discredited as a meaningful stat in recent years — and we’ll just avoid this part of the conversation entirely, thanks — some folks still pay attention to it.

Why? Well, it does remain one of the sortable metrics on NHL.com’s player stats page and, should you go there and sift through, you’ll see that Islanders d-man Travis Hamonic ranks dead last, with a minus-17 rating through 24 games played.

“Do I know it’s there? Sure,” Hamonic said of this plus-minus, per Newsday. “Sometimes things are your fault, but I can’t change it. Fresh slate, play better. It’s a tough question to answer.

“I can’t go online and remove it. You’re stupid if you don’t see it, but like any stat, there’s a lot that goes into it.”

We’ve seen players allude to their ugly ratings before. When Jason Spezza hit minus-17 during the ’13-14 campaign, he admitted it was “frustrating.” That same season, Chicago’s Patrick Kane got off to a slow start with a minus-9 rating, and acknowledged it was “a number that obviously didn’t look good.”

Hamonic has struggled at times this year, but has also been a victim of circumstance. The Isles in general have been lousy, sitting 19th in shots per game (29.3) while surrendering the third-most in the NHL (32.4). Hamonic’s regular d-man partner Nick Leddy hasn’t played especially well either — he had an awful turnover against the Jackets on Saturday, which ended up in the back of the Isles net — and, as a result, the pair has had a tough time.

Advanced metrics confirm as much. Both Leddy and Hamonic are hovering around 43 percent CF for the season. Per Newsday, that ranks both among the bottom 25 players in the league.

If there’s a silver lining for Hamonic, it’s that he may not have the NHL’s worst plus-minus for long. Hot on his heels are a pair of skaters at minus-16: Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter, and Calgary’s T.J. Brodie.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok

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The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.