Author: James O'Brien

St. Louis Blues v Colorado Avalanche

PHT Morning Skate: Finding Martin Brodeur a home


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Is there any destination that makes sense for Martin Brodeur now that his St. Louis Blues journey is more or less finished? (The Hockey News)

Anaheim Ducks players share their fondest Teemu Selanne memories. (Ducks)

How cool would a defending champions vs. All-Stars format be? Cool enough that even Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter digs it. (LA Kings Insider)

Why it’s a “travesty” that P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty were All-Star snubs. (Montreal Gazette)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

A glance at the influence of “puck luck.” (Raleigh News & Observer)

Even the Columbus Blue Jackets aren’t excited for the start of the work week, apparently.

Which teams have been especially inept and adept at drafting since 2000? (Bleacher Report)

Update: Kings’ Pearson breaks bone in lower leg

New York Rangers v Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings delighted cheesy nickname enthusiasts by resembling “That 70’s Line” of Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli, but they’re dropping like flies on Saturday.

First, word surfaced that Toffoli is out indefinitely with mono. Now Kings fans cringe in anticipation to hear how bad Pearson’s issue might be as he fell feet-first into the boards during the second period of tonight’s wild game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Update: Bad news from LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen: the 22-year-old broke a bone in his lower leg.

As you can see, Rosen got confirmation from the team, but the Kings didn’t release any sort of injury timeline for Pearson. One would assume that we’ll know about that soon, whether that comes on Sunday or in this coming week.

California dream trip: Rangers stay hot by beating Sharks


A three-game road trip against challenging California opponents was supposed to humble the red-hot New York Rangers. Instead, it highlighted that the 2014 Stanley Cup finalists might be back in playoff form.

The Rangers swept all three games in this test of a trip, wrapping things up with a 3-1 win against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.

While it was a tough one, the Rangers deserve credit for shaking off Mats Zuccarello’s disallowed goal that maybe should have counted.’s Kevin Kurz ranks among those who believe that it should have given New York what would have been a 3-0 lead.

Want to judge for yourself? Check out the replays and click here for the league’s explanation:

It was ultimately a happy homecoming for Dan Boyle, as you can see here. (Well, mostly happy …)

More than anything else, this was about Henrik Lundqvist reminding the hockey world that he remains one of the best goalies alive, though. The Rangers trotted out some impressive stats for their franchise netminder:

Wow. Whether the Pacific is sliding or not, the Rangers have still been very successful against one of the West’s divisions:

The Rangers have now won five games in a row and a staggering 13 of their last 14 contests.

Just to reiterate, this is a rare accomplishment for Lundqvist & Co.

While the New York Islanders currently own the Metropolitan Division lead (57 points in 42 games played) and the Pittsburgh Penguins are right behind them (56 in 41), the Rangers are nipping at their heels with 52 points in 39 games. Considering the Rangers’ second straight slow start of the Alain Vigneault era, this is an impressive turnaround.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised, then.

Flames’ Ortio comes out of nowhere, shuts out Canucks

Joni Ortio

OK, technically Joni Ortio came from the AHL … and Finland before that. The Calgary Flames selected him with the 171st pick in the 2009 NHL Draft and he actually appeared in nine games last season.

Still, it felt like Ortio came out of nowhere on Saturday, probably especially to the Vancouver Canucks. Ortio stopped all 36 of their shots tonight to give Calgary a 1-0 win.

The Flames made the 23-year-old sweat it, too, as Mikael Backlund scored the game’s only goal 5:38 into the first period.

It’s unclear how long Ortio’s audition might be with the Flames, as the early word on Karri Ramo’s injury is that it doesn’t seem too significant.

Whatever the longer term case may be, Ortio generated some rare success for Calgary against Vancouver:

And prompted a laudably cringe-inducing pun:

He even survived potential jinxing from the Canucks’ Twitter account, which seems a little mean and maybe a little too deliberate to work:

Ortio’s AHL numbers have been pretty respectable (17-8-1 record, .916 save percentage), so maybe he’s career trajectory runs higher than “Who’s that guy who shut out Vancouver that one time?”

Meanwhile, the Canucks were happy with their efforts, if not their luck:

Kings, Jets engage in violent, high-scoring first period

Los Angeles Kings v Winnipeg Jets

As of this writing, the Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets have only played one period of hockey, yet you’d think it was a full night of action.

The score’s already 3-2 as the Kings stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to make it a game again. Three of those five tallies came on the power play, to boot.

There’s a reason why special teams units have been a factor beyond the efficiency of both team’s power play units, too. Simply put, it’s been a physical game so far; that much was probably most clear when Kyle Clifford caught Anthony Peluso with a controversial hit that caused a ruckus (as the Kings’ website notes):

Dustin Byfuglien has been throwing his big body around as well:

We’ll see if there are more fireworks as this game goes on.

Here’s an idea of how wild the start was, if you stretch the parameters ever so slightly:

Update: The Jets ended up winning 5-4 (shootout) in a contest that was still pretty contentious and exciting as it went on.