PHT Morning Skate: Blue Jackets season-ticket holder continues buying seat for late girlfriend

–The Buffalo Sabres have done a great job making a difference in their community. The team’s foundation typically donates over $500, 000 per year to various charitable organizations around the city, and the players spend countless hours helping people in need. (Buffalo News)

–Dylan Strome broke camp with the Arizona Coyotes, but he ended up being returned to his junior team in November. Even though he wasn’t planning on being at the World Junior Hockey Championship, Strome has embraced his role as a leader on Canada’s squad. “It’s pressure for Canadians, but it’s good pressure. You want to be the guy. You want to be the next [Jordan] Eberle. You want to be the guy that scores the goal or be on the team [that wins],” he said. (Canadian Press)

–This Columbus Blue Jackets season-ticket holder continues to buy a seat for himself and his late girlfriend, who used to attend games with him before her death in 2011. “I keep it because it’s her seat. She is there, she is at the game. Can you ever imagine what will happen when we get into the Stanley Cup final and she doesn’t have a seat?” (Columbus Post-Dispatch)

–Lightning forward Steven Stamkos had knee surgery back in November, but we haven’t heard much about him since then. The Tampa Bay Times took a deeper look into his recovery. “It’s a milestone-based recovery,” said Scott Faucet, who’s an orthopedic surgeon. “You can’t work on strength if your knee is swollen. If you’re not strong enough, you can’t do a single leg squat or tolerate 5, 10 minutes of skating.” (Tampa Bay Times)

–The Hockey News looks back on the “punch-up in Piestany” brawl that occurred between the Russian and Canadian teams at the 1987 World Juniors. Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan was right in the thick of things. As a result of the brawl, Canada was kicked out of that tournament. (The Hockey News)

–Hockey’s a physical game, which means that you can lose your teeth every so often. The Los Angeles Kings have a few players missing chiclets and in this edition of  “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,” some of the guys explain how they lost their teeth. Drew Doughty lost them on two separate occasions. Once, he took a puck to the mouth and the other time, it was a high-stick that did the damage. (BarDown)

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    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


    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.