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PHT Morning Skate: Matthews to play first game against hometown team

Auston Matthews, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft and one of the early season frontrunners for the Calder Trophy, will get his first opportunity to play his first game against his hometown team, the Arizona Coyotes, on Thursday night when they pay a visit to Toronto. Matthews grew up going to Coyotes games where he watched players like Shane Doan and Danny Briere, two of his favorites. Now he gets an opportunity to actually play in an NHL game against Doan. “Just being able to get to know him the past couple of years, the type of guy he is, the type of player he is and person he is in the community, it’s awesome,” said Matthews. [Toronto Sun]

-Bruins defenseman Kevin Miller suffered an upper body injury on Wednesday night. Coach Claude Julien had no update on his status immediately after the game. He exited the game after the second period and did not return. [Boston Globe]

– Vancouver Canucks prospect Brock Boeser will not play in the World Junior championships for team USA because of wrist surgery that will sideline him until January. Boeser has 16 points in 13 games for the University of North Dakota this season. He was the Canucks’ first-round pick, No. 15 overall, in 2015. [The Province]

-Former NHL goalie Anders Lindback has signed a contract with Rogle BK in Sweden. He played four games this season with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League. He spent parts of six seasons in the NHL with the Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres, and Arizona Coyotes. [Rogle BK]

-Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil played in his 1,000th NHL game on Wednesday night. A lot of those games were Battle of Ontario games against the Senators’ fierce rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Listen to former Maple Leafs forward Darcy Tucker talking about Neil and some of his encounters with him on the ice. [TSN]

-Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of the Penguins trading Rob Scuderi to the Chicago Blackhawks for Trevor Daley. It turned out to be one of the moves that helped put them on a path to win the Stanley Cup. [Pensburgh]

-The Penguins extended their winning streak to seven games on Wednesday thanks to Bryan Rust‘s overtime goal. You can watch the highlights of that game right here. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers extended their winning streak to 10 games with a win over the Colorado Avalanche.

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.