James O'Brien

Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild - Game Three
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Deep Wild D could mean fewer minutes for Suter

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Even Ryan Suter‘s critics must wonder: do his stats dip because of his resounding workload?

The 2015-16 season may provide that answer, at least based on the beginning of Minnesota Wild training camp.

Head coach Mike Yeo plans on playing Suter about 24-26 minutes per game, which is a significant drop from his run of playing almost half of every contest, as the Pioneer Press’ Chad Graff notes.

A few days ago, Yeo gave Suter the vote of confidence in a Q & A with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, although his praise also gives the impression there’s room for improvement.

“He had statistically maybe not his best year, but he did a lot of really good things,” Yeo said. “Second half of the year we were the best team in the league, and he was our leader on the back end. I don’t think he deserves to beat himself up, especially given the circumstances of the passing of his father and the mumps. He’s motivated, he’s excited to have a good year.”

There’s no response from Suter just yet, but if he feels the same way as fellow workhorse Drew Doughty, then he’s eating hockey Brussels Sprouts on Friday:

This is less about Suter being put in timeout and more about other defensemen joining “the grown-up table.” Just ponder Minnesota’s impressive depth:

Mathew Dumba said he “isn’t taking anything for granted,” and with good reason. Despite receiving plenty of offers, Mike Reilly isn’t necessarily guaranteed a spot on the team heading into next season.

Suter probably wants to be on the ice as much as possible, yet this situation bodes well for the Wild overall. Perhaps we’ll even see the end of (some) “overrated” debates in the process?

Warm greeting from ‘Hawks fans gives Kane ‘chills’

Patrick Kane
AP
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A day after a very poorly received Chicago Blackhawks press conference, things went a lot better for Patrick Kane & Co. at training camp on Friday.

The crowd of about 4,000 people reacted warmly to Kane’s presence at Compton Ice Arena at Notre Dame, according to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News.

“That’s a pretty cool reaction, especially given the circumstances,” Kane said . “You didn’t really know what to expect. I thought it was one of those things when you’re going on the ice you don’t know what’s going to happen. To hear that reaction from the crowd definitely gave me chills. It was an exciting moment.”

Harrington posted this Vine, so see for yourself:

On Thursday, Kane didn’t really answer many questions while Chicago denied claims that they’ve handled the situation in a “tone-deaf” way.

Puck Daddy shares more reactions from Blackhawks fans.

Clitsome fails physical, unlikely to play for Jets

Grant Clitsome
AP

Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice said that Grant Clitsome failed the team’s physical and is unlikely to play hockey next season, TSN’s Michael Remis reports.

The 30-year-old defenseman’s 2014-15 season was cut short because of a back injury that eventually required surgery, and it’s likely that is still the issue for him.

Winnipeg dealt with quite a few injuries on defense last year, yet they made big steps forward without Clitsome.

In all honesty, the team is probably comfortable moving on without him, whether this setback keeps him out for the 2015-16 season or perhaps even longer.

PHT Morning Skate: Tom Hanks, Martin Short and OHL

7th Annual Backstage At The Geffen Gala
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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.

Plenty of bits in Elliotte Friedman’s latest “30 Thoughts” column, with one of the more intriguing bits being the Los Angeles Kings’ easier said than done goal of knocking Drew Doughty‘s ice time down from 29 to 25 minutes per game. Bold prediction: split the difference and expect 27. (Sportsnet)

As far as CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty is concerned, many (now-former) Boston Bruins were simply “too soft” in 2014-15. (CSNNE.com)

The five greatest moments of Simon Gagne’s career. (The Hockey News)

What we can gleam from the NHL’s first games ever. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

The lion really sells Jonathan Bernier‘s new mask:

Someone wants to make a fourth Mighty Ducks movie, but Disney apparently isn’t particularly interested. (BarDown)

From the “Um, What?” files: Martin Short and Tom Hank cheer on … the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs?

Yes, McDavid is already piling up highlights

Connor McDavid
AP
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When Connor McDavid isn’t getting hit hard enough to frighten the most reactive worry warts among Edmonton Oilers fans, he’s creating all sorts of offense in the “pre-pre-season.”

McDavid and fellow high draft pick Leon Draisaitl put on a clinic on Wednesday, combining for seven points as the Oilers’ group of rookies beat the University of Alberta Golden Bears 6-3 in what amounted to a hockey friendly.

The best clip was one of McDavid’s three assists, as he set a goal with this no-look beauty:

Yeah, that’s one of those “man among boys” moments, like watching Jonathan Toews during his second NCAA season.

One could contend that McDavid will likely need to feed pucks into smaller windows during 2-on-1 situations in the NHL than during this nice bit, but still:

McDavid discussed the impressive turn out (more than 14,000 fans at Rexall) and the latest exhibition after last night’s win:

Does this ratchet up your anxiety to see McDavid face competition that’s at quite a higher level than the University of Alberta (sorry, Golden Bears)?

Well, that’s sort of the point, so get excited.