James O'Brien

2015 NHL All-Star Weekend - Mascot Showdown
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PHT Morning Skate: No Sparky in Brooklyn

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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.

New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple tracks down word that mascot “Sparky the Dragon” won’t join the New York Islanders in Brooklyn. Dry (some) of those tears, though: Sparky will still show up for some Long Island-area events. (Staple’s feed)

Aside: here’s hoping the Islanders roll out a really obnoxious hipster mascot. Maybe just this album cover with mascot legs?

How will the presence of metal detectors at all NHL arenas affect fans? (The Hockey News)

Early thoughts on 3-on-3 OT. (TSN)

The Toronto Maple Leafs and biomechanics. (Sportsnet)

“The kid who was better than Gretzky.” (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Ranking the Metropolitan Division’s top 10 defensemen. (Japers’ Rink)

Pre-season clips: Kessel exhibits early spark

Phil Kessel
AP
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Yes, it’s true that these games don’t “count.”

Yes, it’s also true that we’ll forget about most incidents that don’t lead to 10-game suspensions or big injuries.

Even so, some hockey fans appreciate getting a rundown of the more interesting moments from a given night of the pre-season, so let’s glide through a few quick bits.

  • Plenty of eyes (at least in the hockey world) were on Phil Kessel as he made his “debut” with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He didn’t disappoint, scoring twice as the Pens beat the Carolina Hurricanes 7-3.
  • Mathew Dumba scored the only goal, in OT, as the Minnesota Wild won 1-0 against the Winnipeg Jets:

NHL.com has a nice roundup if you want to catch up on all of the pre-season action from Tuesday. (Also, take a gander at Rotoworld’s NHL section.)

Oh yeah, and in case you missed it, Jack Eichel definitely stood out on Monday.

Report: Lawyers for alleged Kane rape victim to speak Wednesday

Patrick Kane
AP
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The lawyers for Patrick Kane‘s alleged rape victim are holding a press conference on Wednesday, WGRZ’s Scott Levin reports.

Few details regarding the press conference are clear at the moment, aside from the lawyers’ assertion that they’re going to address “recent leaks and rumors.”

The most recent bit of significant news came regarding reported DNA results from the case. We’ll find out more tomorrow afternoon if the attorneys will address that and/or other bits of information that have surfaced.

Kane has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

The 26-year-old forward participated in the Chicago Blackhawks’ pre-season game on Tuesday night.

Update: Canucks’ Higgins fractured bone in foot

Chris Higgins, Pekka Rinne
AP
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Vancouver Canucks forward Chris Higgins was walking around in a boot today for a reason: it turns out he fractured a bone in that right foot.

The team provided an update: he’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks, which then places that span as the minimum amount of time he’d miss.

It’s a shame that the 32-year-old will limp into the 2015-16 season, yet the timing could be worse.

Even if he makes the typical premature hockey player return, this injury should sideline him for long enough that the Canucks can take a longer look at replacement options. Rather than Higgins getting his reps, Vancouver receives more time to adjust.

This also gives management a partial preview of what the roster may look like without Higgins, which is relevant if they opt to trade him at some point.

It’s obviously not the best news for Higgins, but he at least has (a little) less incentive to come back too soon.

Benn, Hemsky likely in for Stars’ season opener

Jamie Benn
AP

If the regular season started on Tuesday, Jamie Benn thinks he’d be playing for the Dallas Stars, as he told the Dallas Morning News.

That’s not the case, however, so the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner won’t roll the dice as he (and Ales Hemsky) continue to recover from off-season hip surgeries.

Going further, Stars head coach Lindy Ruff raved about Benn’s fitness level, deploying a time-honored off-season trope in the process:

“I’m interested to see him,” Ruff to the DMN on a healthy Benn. “From a training standpoint, he’s probably in the best shape of his life. I think the part of being around and rehabbing and training all summer has been good for him.”

Ah yes, “best shape of his life.”

At 26, it’s at least a fairly realistic proclamation, as opposed to the many moments in which veterans possibly lack a certain level of self-awareness.

That’s all nitpicking, anyway, as the Stars would gladly “settle” for Benn to be himself. A healthy Hemsky would be a nice bonus, too.