Pre-game reading: A list of All-Star snubs, starting with Cam Atkinson

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— Up top, learn more about the early days of Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, the late Canadiens superstar whom Alex Ovechkin tied last night with his 544th career goal.

— A list of 17 All-Star omissions. Cam Atkinson is the first name mentioned, and there’s no doubt he was deserving of consideration. Only five players in the entire league have more goals than Atkinson’s 19. But with each team requiring at least one representative, he didn’t make the cut out of the star-studded Metropolitan Division. A pair of Blue Jackets, Seth Jones and Sergei Bobrovsky, did receive invites. In a related story, Max Pacioretty, David Pastrnak, and Michael Grabner also have 19 goals and didn’t make it. (Sportsnet)

— The one guy with 19 goals who did get invited was Ovechkin. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for the minutes he plays, keeping himself healthy, playing as many games as he has,” Capitals teammate Jay Beagle said. “He sometimes gets a bad rap, but seeing him from the inside and seeing what he does and how hard he works, it’s a special thing.” (Washington Post)

— It still remains to be seen if NHLers will participate in the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, but it’s worth noting that not a single American goalie was named to the All-Star Game. Granted, Jonathan Quick is hurt, so he couldn’t play anyway. But both Ben Bishop and Cory Schneider, USA’s other two goalies at the World Cup, are having down seasons. If NHLers do go to South Korea, it will be interesting to see which three American netminders make the cut. John Gibson and Connor Hellebuyck should be in the running as well. Maybe even Scott Darling, too. (Olympic Talk)

— The Boston Bruins could probably use a winger like Gabriel Landeskog, but Joe Haggerty argues they’d be nuts to trade Brandon Carlo or Charlie McAvoy in order to make it happen. “The notion of trading McAvoy or Carlo should be a non-starter, even for a talented 24-year-old player like Landeskog who has years of solid productivity in front of him. It appears the Bruins agree, especially now that Carlo has impressed in his first half-season in the NHL and McAvoy dominated all the big moments in helping Team USA win the World Junior championship.” (CSN New England)

— Halfway through the NHL season, it doesn’t look like Canada will get skunked again. After no Canadian teams made the playoffs in 2015-16 (for the first time since 1969-70), at least one, Montreal, seems a sure thing to be in the postseason come April. And if the playoffs started today, three others — Ottawa, Calgary, and Edmonton — would join the Habs. The remaining three — Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Toronto — are hardly out of the race either. (CBC Sports)

Enjoy the games!

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.