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Kaprizov’s hot WJC start bolsters argument that Wild got a fifth-round steal

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Don’t blame prospect-minded Minnesota Wild fans for cackling with glee upon seeing the show Kirill Kaprizov put on tonight.

The prospect generated a hat trick (and two assists) for Russia in a 2017 World Juniors rout of Latvia, as the team bounced back from Monday’s 5-3 loss to Canada by dominating 9-1.

Really, Wild fans were probably pretty happy with what they saw of Kaprizov even in that loss, and also in how he’s playing so far in the KHL:

To be precise, the Wild selected Kaprizov, 19, with the 135th pick of the 2015 NHL Draft. (His selection seems to fall into a minor trend of people joking about Boston Bruins non-picks after New York Islanders prospect Mathew Barzal looked impressive on Monday.)

With Minnesota living off of its goaltending at times in 2016-17, it must be exciting to see a possible offensive catalyst in the prospect pipeline.

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Naturally, when you win 9-1, you’re getting contributions from other players.

Other standouts for Russia included Mikhail Vorobyov (four assists, 104th pick in 2015 by the Philadelphia Flyers) and Igor Rykov (three assists, 132nd pick by the New Jersey Devils in 2016). For more stats from that lopsided game, click here.

In other WJC news, Switzerland beat the Czech Republic 4-3 in overtime while Finland faces Denmark and Canada takes on Slovakia later tonight.

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.