PHT Morning Skate: NHL reveals 33 of the 100 greatest players of all-time

1 Comment

–This year, the NHL is celebrating its 100th anniversary. They’ll have a number of special announcements and events throughout 2017, including naming the top 100 players in league history. They started by announcing the first 33 players on Sunday, while the rest will be announced later on this month. Gordie Howe, Jean Beliveau and Tim Horton are all part of the first batch of players on the list. (NHL)

–There was a lot of hype surrounding Auston Matthews this season and not only has he met expectations, he’s surpassed them so far. None of Matthews’ former teammates are surprised by the success he’s having in the NHL at 19 years old. “I think I had a good year, [but] it’s completely different what he’s doing. He’s taking the league by storm. He’s becoming a superstar or he is a superstar [already],” said Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin. (Canadian Press)

–Devils forward Beau Bennett is fully capable of poking fun at himself on social media, but he wasn’t always that way. “I think when I was younger, I was new to social media and new to being in the forefront of media stuff, [and] when people would chirp me and stuff, I just took the high road in terms of deleting my Twitter, because you can’t go at fans. I didn’t want to read it. Now, for some reason, a switch went off in my brain, and I love it. It entertains me,” Bennett told Sports Illustrated.

–The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings went head-to-head in a thrilling outdoor game on Sunday. Auston Matthews, who I mentioned before, scored the Centennial Classic-winning goal for the Leafs. You can watch the highlights by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Bruins forward Frank Vatrano missed the first 34 games of the 2016-17 season because of foot surgery. But since he’s been back, he’s given his team a huge offensive boost. The 22-year-old already has two goals, two assists and a plus-3 rating in five games.  “I knew I was going to get there eventually, I just had to be patient and I wanted to be ready when I stepped [back] in the lineup. They knew when I was ready so I stepped right in. Obviously [the foot injury] was frustrating, but I’m glad to be back now with the guys,” said Vatrano. (CSN New England)

–Not only did Team Canada lose to Team USA at the World Junior Hockey Championship over the weekend, but they also lost top pairing defenseman Philippe Myers to injury. There’s a chance he might be done for the tournament, which is a huge blow for them. Now, Canada has no choice but to move on. (TSN)

–This may have gotten lost in the shuffle on Friday night, but Carolina Hurricanes prospect Alex Nedeljkovic scored a goal during an ECHL game:

Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

Leave a comment

This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

1 Comment

Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

So far, it shows, too.

The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

Getty
1 Comment

The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.

WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry

Getty
Leave a comment

A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.

As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.

While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.

Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.

It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.