Author: James O'Brien


PHT Morning Skate: Making the most of those rare goals


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.

Jincy Dunne and the U.S. women’s under-18 team beat Canada to take gold, doing so for the first time since 2011. (IIHF)

Anaheim Ducks players reflect upon Teemu Selanne’s big night. (Ducks)

Fascinating question: could Dustin Byfuglien win the 2015 Norris Trophy even though he may only play on defense for half of the season? (The Hockey News)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

It may take a while to get William Nylander ready for the big time. (Sportsnet)

Here are the little Dominik Hasek banners Buffalo Sabres fans will receive for attending tonight’s celebration:

What would you do if you were an enforcer who barely scored any goals? Well, you might wear a T-shirt emblazoned with that moment, as San Jose Sharks fighter John Scott did. (Via Mirco Mueller’s Instagram page)


In case you’re curious, here’s video of the goal itself:

Lundqvist wanted to make All-Star team, will rest instead


New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist told the New York Daily News that he wanted to make the 2015 NHL All-Star Game roster, yet he’s not using that “snub” as motivation, either.

“Not really,” Lundqvist said. “I’ve been planning not to go (to Columbus in late January), spend time with family and recharge. I feel like there are a lot of good goalies and the competition is tough, but I think about it. I want to be one of those guys, obviously. I see myself as a guy that can compete against the guys that are there, but at the same time there are guys having strong seasons right now.

It’s easy to see why Lundqvist isn’t totally heartbroken about this situation, especially since he’s probably been the most consistently “All-Star caliber” goalie in the NHL during the last decade or so. He’s made three teams, yet with how erratically the events have been happening lately, his frequently elite numbers argue that he doesn’t have much to prove.

Beyond that, one wonders how many players are secretly glad to get the break, even ones who don’t profess to planning exotic vacations like Joe Thornton did. Lundqvist, 32, noted that he’ll use the break to “recharge” and spend time with his family.

In a way, the Rangers are probably glad he didn’t make it, unless this disrupts his rhythm.

Lundqvist has been absolutely lights out since December 8, winning 11 of 12 games, pitching a shutout and allowing two goals or less in all but two contests.

After another slow start (5-3-0 with a troubling .891 save percentage in October), “The King” has ranked among the league’s best once again. He probably doesn’t need an All-Star nod to confirm that.

Wild’s Suter: ‘Every day is a bad day right now’


If the Minnesota Wild weren’t in “playing bad enough that their coach might get fired” form before this weekend, they hit that point with dispiriting losses on Saturday and Sunday.

While head coach Mike Yeo acknowledges that his job may be in peril amid this slump, he’s also resolute in staying the course strategically. One can see why, as beyond generally poor goaltending, Yeo was left saying “everything” was a problem after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Nashville Predators.

His players don’t seem to have any better clue about what exactly is going wrong, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported after the Chicago Blackhawks shellacked them 4-1 last night.

“I was talking with Zach [Parise], and we’ve never been through … we’ve never seen anything like this,” Ryan Suter said. “I don’t know what the heck is going on, but every day’s a bad day right now.”

Suter added, “When it rains, it pours, and it’s pouring.”

However you like to slice up losing streaks, Minnesota comes out ugly as of late. They’ve lost five in a row, 11 of 13 and 16 of 23.

The Star-Tribune notes that GM Chuck Fletcher said that it’s not just a matter of coaching. While some of that might be standard “vote of confidence” behavior, they’ve been a respectable possession team who seem to be suffering from bad puck luck. Yeo probably isn’t blameless, yet poor goaltending and key players with low shooting percentages* indicate that things aren’t going Minnesota’s way right now.

While that train of thought argues for patience, sports are ultimately results-driven, especially when teams up their spending like the Wild have over the years (at least with splashy free agent signings).

There’s something cruelly fitting about former Penguins front office members Yeo and Fletcher badly needing a win as they visit Pittsburgh tomorrow. We’ll see if that storyline ends in a sad way for one or both of them, as it seems like the Wild are short on solutions at the moment.

* – Jason Pominville has just nine goals on 128 shots. Mikko Koivu has six on 104. Ryan Suter, Thomas Vanek, Charlie Coyle and others are connecting on less than 10 percent of their shots (sometimes missing that standard mark by quite a bit).

Leafs recall first-rounder Nylander (to AHL)

Wiliam Nylander

The Toronto Maple Leafs recalled first-round pick William Nylander from Sweden’s MODO, and while that seemingly only amounts to him moving on to the AHL, it was enough of a development to generate a widespread reaction this morning.

(For what it’s worth, the Leafs themselves haven’t announced it yet, but MODO and a wealth of other sources passed the word along.)

Some Maple Leafs fans may want to see the promising son of Michael Nylander in action at the NHL level this season, yet it sounds like the plan is to get him acquainted with the North American game. TSN’s Bob McKenzie cites that plus some upheaval with MODO as to why this move was made, while Sportsnet’s Damien Cox reports that he won’t play at the NHL level “regardless of injuries.”

Some wondered if the 18-year-old might jump straight to the Leafs after impressing the organization shortly after they selected him eighth overall in 2014. Toronto resisted, and Nylander’s acquitted himself nicely overseas, scoring 20 points in 21 games for MODO.

At minimum, a few more eyes could be on the AHL’s Toronto Marlies thanks to this move.

PHT Morning Skate: Finding Martin Brodeur a home

St. Louis Blues v Colorado Avalanche

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)