James O'Brien

2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic - Ottawa Senators v Vancouver Canucks

PHT Morning Skate: Canucks skate back to uniform nostalgia, too


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.

Honestly, NHL Twitter accounts doing a #NHLMovieNight was a little annoying at times on Thursday as people watched “D2: The Mighty Ducks,” but it did prompt an adorable dog moment that should brighten your day:

Speaking of nostalgia for things from the 90’s, the Vancouver Canucks will embrace one of their most popular old duds, at least for one night:

Check out the letter Andrew Ference sent out after he was snubbed by Central Scouting. It still took him until the eighth round (208th overall in 1997) to get drafted, though.

Ranking all 30 NHL teams by their off-season moves. (Sportsnet)

Why Mike Green could fit in really well with the Detroit Red Wings. (Eye on Hockey)

The Nashville Predators continue to tweak their brand. (Predators)

Doan isn’t in a rush to retire

Ian Wals, Shane Doan

Brace yourself if you’re opposing the Arizona Coyotes: it doesn’t sound like Shane Doan is pondering retirement just yet.

Yes, the hard-hitting captain of the Coyotes does turn 39 in October.

He’s also an “old” 39; Doan has a whopping 1,394 regular season games* and 55 postseason contests under his belt. That’s a lot for any player, especially one who emphasizes such a physical style of play.

While it’s probably worth noting that he’s saying these things during the low-impact month of August, it’s still interesting that Doan told Fox Sports Arizona that he might want to play even after his contract expires after the 2015-16 season.

“I always want to approach it that way until I know I’m done,” Doan said. “I’d like to have a good year. If I feel I can still help the team and they still want me, we can go from there.”

Doan seems fairly happy about Arizona’s off-season, too. He believes that they’re going “back to that old pack mentality” that suited them well a few years ago.

One would assume that signs of progress would make Doan want to play quite a bit longer for the Coyotes … assuming that the feeling is mutual.

* – In case you’re wondering, Doan currently is tied with Stan Mikita at 35th place all-time with 1,394 games played. If he managed to appear in all 82 contests in 2015-16, he’d end that campaign ranked 20th overall.

Richards, NHLPA seem to have a good case against the Kings

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

From the viewpoint of at least one legal expert, it sounds like the NHLPA may have some success with its grievance filed against the Los Angeles Kings for terminating Mike Richards’ contract.

To remind you of the situation, the Kings seemed primed to buy out Richards, yet they instead terminated his deal while citing a “material breach” of his contract related to a border incident. As of this time, it doesn’t appear as though any charged surfaced from the reported incident. The NHLPA finally filed a grievance on Richards’ behalf a few days ago.

So, do the 30-year-old forward and the players’ union have a case? It sure sounds like, especially if Forbes’ Eric Macramalla is correct in his assessment.

The full explanation is worth your time, but the short version from Macramalla is that it comes down to how this terminated contract ignores the process laid about by the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse And Behavioral Program Policy.

The most severe discipline called for under the Drug Policy for repeated rehab failures is a one year suspension without pay with reinstatement at the discretion of the league. We do not know all the circumstances surrounding Richards. The starting point, however, is the Drug Policy and its prescribed treatment protocols.

The Drug Policy does not call for the termination of a player contract in the event of an arrest or conviction related to drugs. It calls for a lot less.

Macramalla points out something that’s sneakily the most important detail, though: it sounds like the situation will get a fair arbitrator.

The grievance will not be heard by Gary Bettman or Roger Goodell for that matter. This goes to an impartial arbitrator with extensive labor law experience.

That’s pretty huge, to be honest.

He also breaks down a recent history of grievances regarding terminated contracts in other sports, concluding that those situations often end up in a player’s favor.

Again, check out the Forbes piece if you’re even slightly interested in the situation, as there is a lot of great information.

One way or another, it should be a fascinating situation to watch, and an important decision regarding guaranteed contracts and the league’s drug policy.

Praise rolls in for Sami Salo upon retirement

Toronto Maple Leafs v Tampa Bay Lightning

Injuries might have been a frequent headache for Sami Salo during his hockey career, but he was still able to make an impression on quite a few people.

Finnish outlet Ilta-Sanomat passes along word that Salo said he “can no longer play,” or some rough translation of that, which ultimately means that he’s retiring from hockey.

It looks like a wrist or hand injury is the final ailment that meant curtains for the 40-year-old veteran, but it’s clear that he’s absorbed a lot of wear-and-tear over the years.

Salo played 13 seasons in the NHL, making his biggest impression during nine with the Vancouver Canucks. His last NHL appearances came during his second season with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2013-14.

Teammates, coaches, writers and fans came out in droves to tip their caps to the retiring Finn.

That’s some great praise for a guy who suffered through often awful injury luck and had to prove himself as a ninth-rounder (239th overall) back in 1996.

Two-time Stanley Cup-winner Bob Fillion passes away at 95

Guy Lafleur, Bob Fillion
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Former Montreal Canadiens forward Bob Fillion died at age 95 on Wednesday, the team announced.

It’s been a tough year for the organization, as Elmer Lach and John Mahaffy also passed away earlier in 2015.

At 95, Fillion had been the oldest Canadien. Habs PR ambassador Rejean Houle told the Canadian Press that Gerry Plamondon, 91, is now the oldest surviving member of the franchise.

Houle described Fillion (pictured to Guy Lafleur’s right in this main photo) as a “real Canadiens fan” after his career.

“He had the problems of old age; I guess you could say he died of natural causes,” said Houle. “He was a real Montreal Canadiens fan.

“He always came to the building and took notes. He followed the team very closely.”

Fillion won two Stanley Cups with the Canadiens: one in 1944 and one in 1946. He generated 103 points in 327 regular season games and 11 points in 33 playoff contests.

Greatest Hockey Legends provided some interesting insight about his career and hobbies:

He may not have been a Picasso on the ice but Fillion was very much interested in artists of a different sort. He often visited artist studios while on road trips and took up painting himself! It may have been a bigger passion for him than hockey!

Bob, the brother of Marcel Fillion who played 1 game in the NHL, worked in public relations for years after retiring from hockey.