PHT Morning Skate: Ranking each team’s goaltending outlook

–Sportsnet’s Sean McIndoe ranks every NHL team by their goaltending outlook. It’s not surprising to find the Carolina Hurricanes at the bottom of the list and the Washington Capitals at the top. After all, the Caps have Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer with the big club and first-rounder Ilya Samsonov waiting in the wings. (Sportsnet)

–Everyone in Alberta is hoping for a first-round matchup between the Flames and the Oilers this postseason. Edmonton may have won all four regular season battles, but three of the four contests were very tight. As the Edmonton Journal points out, there’s no doubt that this would be a terrific playoff series. (Edmonton Journal)

–After years of futility, the Toronto Maple Leafs finally appear to be on the right track thanks to Mike Babcock, Lou Lamoriello and Brendan Shanahan. It hasn’t been easy, but through drafting and finding young talent in the draft,  they’ve been able to make it work. “It was a challenge to do the things that needed to be done in Toronto, but it has worked out very well,” Lamoriello told USA TODAY. “We all interact the way we should interact and yet each of us have our own responsibilities. We don’t overlap.” (USA Today)

Jack Eichel extended his point streak to 11 games, but it wasn’t enough as the Sabres fell to the Flyers, 6-3, on Tuesday night. You can watch the highlights from the game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–The NHL general managers have been meeting in Florida to discuss some pretty radical rule changes. From altering the off-side rule to changing the point values for wins or overtime losses, quite a bit has been discussed. You’d think that an NHL veteran of 20 years would be a traditionalist when it came to changing rules, but Pens forward Matt Cullen isn’t thinking that way. (Pittsburgh Tribune)

–If you haven’t watched the Stars play lately, you probably don’t know who Remi Elie is. The 21-year-old was an emergency call up after Antoine Roussel got hurt, but he’s made quite an impression on the team’s coaching staff and he may forcing them to make him a regular. “What you saw in the first two [NHL] games is pretty much what he has done all season in terms of work, compete, forecheck. Now, subtle plays are starting to creep into his game offensively. He draws other guys in because of that work ethic. He’s taking advantage of it. That is good to see.” (NHL.com/Stars)

–Here’s a story for all the Power Ranger fans out there. The ECHL’s Toledo Walleye wore these sweet Mighty Morphin jerseys over the weekend. Warning: You might hate these jerseys if you’re not a fan of the color pink. This isn’t the first time the Walleye have rocked a creative jersey either. (Bardown).

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    PHT Morning Skate: Zdeno Chara shot catches emergency goalie in a sensitive spot

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    –Sean McIndoe looks at five players who became the unlikeliest first 50-goal scorers in their franchise’s history. McIndoe chose Rick MacLeish (Flyers), Rick Vaive (Maple Leafs), Vic Hadfield (Rangers), Guy Chouinard (Flames) and Mickey Redmond (Red Wings). (The Hockey News)

    –A lot of people think hockey players are the toughest athletes, but Islanders forward Anders Lee is here to tell you that they aren’t tough at all. In his story for The Players’ Tribune, Lee writes about a tough, young friend, who is battling cancer. “In the seven years since he has been diagnosed, he has gone through multiple surgeries. He’s had countless radiation treatments. He’s gone through chemotherapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplants. And he does it all with a smile on his face. So when I hear people refer to me as tough because I play hockey, I think of Fenov and kids like him.” (The Players’ Tribune)

    –The Boston Bruins needed an emergency goalie for their practice yesterday, and they settled on Massachusetts state trooper Kevin Segee. Surely, it was the experience of a lifetime for him, but it didn’t come without pain. Segee was clearly shaken up after getting a Zdeno Chara in the…well, you know. (CSN New England)

    –Blackhawks forwards Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane and Tanner Kero each had multi-point games in Wednesday’s 5-1 thumping of the Pittsburgh Penguins. You can watch the highlights from the game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

    –What was the world like the last time the Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs? Thanks to Sports Illustrated, we don’t have to wonder. In 1990, J.K. Rowling had just started writing the Harry Potter series, Donald Trump walked out of an interview with CNN because they were asking tough questions about his casino, the first known webpage was written and much, much more. (Sports Illustrated)

    –Edmonton Oilers players and their significant others came together to make 400-500 bowls of homemade soup for charity. It’s pretty cool to see most of the team be involved in such a nice event, even though the onion chopping station gave some of the guys a hard time. (Edmonton Oilers on Twitter)

    –Sportsnet has assembled the top hits of the week for your viewing pleasure. Hits from that Toronto, Columbus game made the video a couple of times:

    Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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    The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

    Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

    Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

    A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

    Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

    He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

    Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

    Spicy stuff.

    For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

    For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

    Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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    Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

    OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

    It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

    Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

    In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

    Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

    That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

    Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

    For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

    Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

    graphic via NHL
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    It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

    The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

    “It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

    The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

    Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

    Alrighty then.

    Click here for more details.