Author: James O'Brien

Alex Ovechkin

PHT Morning Skate: Ovechkin in a music video almost too weird to exist


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.

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell believes that 3-on-3 overtime would “all but kill” the shootout. (The Hockey News)

Fascinating stuff about Taylor Crosby – sister of Sidney – trying to carve out her own niche as a goalie at Northeastern University. (SB Nation)

Speaking of Sidney Crosby, The Score’s Justin Bourne provided a great breakdown regarding why his shot tends to leave goaltenders guessing. (The Score)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $10,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Wednesday night’s NHL games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $1,000. Starts Wednesday at 8pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Jarome Iginla explains that his near-fight with Dion Phaneuf was merely a “heat-of-the-moment thing.” (Denver Post)

Simon Gagne’s signing could mean notable changes for the Boston Bruins’ fourth line. (

The Philadelphia Flyers are in a tough spot right now, but fans in need of a pick-me-up merely need to watch Claude Giroux’s ridiculous shootout goal on a loop:

Last, but certainly not least bizarre, Alex Ovechkin appeared in a music video for Katya Lel that’s just … *stares off into space like Ovechkin does for most of that really, really bizarre clip*

That clip comes via Russian Machine Never Breaks by way of Slava Malamud, although kudos are in order for Puck Daddy’s description of the video:

If you ever wanted to see a woman who looks like a mash-up of Robyn and Drea de Matteo groping a stone-faced Alex Ovechkin as he holds in a fart for three and a half minutes … Merry Christmas.

Can’t sum it up much better than that.

Video: Preds’ Roy clears puck away at just the right in time


The Calgary Flames handed the Nashville Predators their first loss of the season (3-2 via a shootout), but Derek Roy deserves a lot of credit for Nashville earning a standings point on Tuesday.

Roy, 31, cleared what obviously would have been a goal away at the last possible moment when Calgary was up 2-1:

Here’s a freeze frame of that moment of truth:


Roy also provided a nice assist on Filip Forsberg’s 1-0 goal, even if Nashville’s lead only lasted about a minute and 15 seconds:

An afterthought of a $1 million free agent pickup this summer, it’s easy to forget that Roy has 81, 70 and 69-point seasons to his name. Things have been rough for him the past few years, but perhaps he’ll be a great bargain pickup for Nashville and turn his career around?

If nothing else, he made an impact last night.

Flames try to manage expectations with Gaudreau

Mark Stuart, Johnny Gaudreau
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It’s easy to forget that there’s a huge difference between the level of play preseason and regular season, especially when your team seems a little low on the sort of magic that Calgary Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau brought to exhibition games.

Through three games “that actually count,” the 21-year-old has failed to score a goal or an assist. Maybe even more disconcertingly, Gaudreau has only generated a single shot on goal despite averaging nearly two minutes of power-play time per contest.

Luckily, the Flames aren’t freaking out about the under-sized forward’s growing pains, as the Calgary Sun reports.

“We have to manage expectations — that’s the biggest thing,” Head coach Bob Hartley said. “Here’s a young man taking his first steps in the NHL and he’ll need time.

” … Johnny, I think, he has a very good future in pro hockey, and right now he’s just learning the game with the puck and without the puck. I think it’s just normal what he’s going through.”

Members of the Nashville Predators – the Flames’ opponent on Tuesday – didn’t seem to concerned about Gaudreau’s struggles, either. Head coach Peter Laviolette saw Gaudreau’s work firsthand as Gaudreau represented the U.S. in the World Hockey Championships, and his review was glowing, praising his two-way game.

(Possession stats look downright batty with such small sample sizes, but at least his numbers look pretty good in that regard.)

There’s plenty of time for Gaudreau to get his game together, whether he spends the rest of the season with Calgary or gets some more seasoning in the AHL. With the Flames in a rebuilding mode, it’s not that shocking to see such a patient approach, yet it’s still a positive sign for the dazzling forward’s future.

NHL on NBCSN: Hurricanes, Sabres seek first win of 2014-15

Marcus Foligno, Jay Harrison, Cam Ward

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Carolina Hurricanes host the Buffalo Sabres at PNC Arena at 7 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

To put things mildly, things haven’t been going well for the Carolina Hurricanes (0-2-0) or the Buffalo Sabres (0-3-0) so far this season. It’s safe to say that Tuesday’s game will elicit more than a few references to Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and the 2015 NHL Draft in general.

Despite the “tanking” talk that might arise on social media, the bottom line is that both teams should be motivated to grab that elusive first win of 2014-15.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $8,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $800. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The Hurricanes will come into tonight’s game limping, as they’re essentially running out of Staal brothers thanks to some really bad injury luck. With Eric Staal and Jordan Staal on the sidelines and Jeff Skinner dealing with another worrisome concussion, Carolina fans must wonder if luck will come this team’s way.

Tonight’s matchup may represent a smidgen of luck, as fatigue is likely to weigh against the Sabres after Monday’s ugly 5-1 loss against the Anaheim Ducks. On paper, this seems like a great opportunity for a Hurricanes team that fell to the New York Islanders by one goal in each of their first losses; Buffalo’s -10 goal differential is easily the worst in this young season, and it’s not as if goaltending is the main cause of the Sabres’ woes.

That said, the Sabres are playing for pride as much as they’re shooting for their first victory. When your coach deems your efforts to be at a youth hockey level, you know that there’s a lot of room for improvement.

“We need to go into Carolina and win,” Tyler Ennis told the Buffalo News. “We need to be mad. We need to get angry. We need to play really hard, and we’re going to.”

Some bright lights for each team

The Sabres already possess some of the promising young pieces they’ll need to dig out of this hole.

Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons are the Sabres’ only players who’ve scored goals so far this season, with two apiece. Girgensons and Cody Hodgson (off to a slow start with zero points) are among the players expected to help turn things around.

Drew Stafford is also off to a nice start with three assists in as many games.

The Hurricanes are banged up, but Jiri Tlusty comes into Tuesday’s game on a hot streak after generating the second hat trick of his NHL career on Saturday. Alexander Semin could be another player to watch with two assists so far.


These two teams are hurting right now, but one will finally get in the “win” column after tonight’s contest.

Stars’ Seguin: ‘Nobody is pressing the panic button’

Chicago Blackhawks v Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars excited a lot of people during the offseason by supplementing their top one-two punch of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn with another talented pairing in Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. So far, Benn and Seguin have been unable to generate a point while the foursome sports matching -3 ratings through two defeats.

It would be silly to overreact to this situation, yet in case anyone was worried about it, Seguin put such fears to rest with the Dallas Morning News.

“I haven’t thought about pressure at all,” Seguin said Monday. “It’s two games, and nobody is pressing the panic button.”

Considering factors such as “having 80 games left” and “pushing the Chicago Blackhawks to the limit,” it’s easy to see why Seguin, 22, isn’t too concerned.

Beyond that, it’s clear that Seguin and Benn have been playing solid hockey, whether you break it down by possession stats or simply note that they’ve combined for 11 shots on goal. Head coach Lindy Ruff acknowledged their struggles while simultaneously giving them a pat on the back to the Dallas Morning News.

“I still think in that game, the best opportunities came from those guys,” Ruff said of a 4-1 loss Saturday to Nashville. “But we need to finish, too.”

This “trick shot” video makes a strong argument for them finishing more often than not:

This week presents a taste of the Eastern Conference for Dallas as they face the Blue Jackets in Columbus tonight, the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Thursday and then host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Such a slate could present a nice palate cleanser for the Stars … or maybe more legitimate concerns.