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 Montreal Gazette shared a rare file photo of a young Mario Lemieux looking with admiration at Guy Lafleur. To give you an idea of him just being a face in the crowd at that point, he apparently wasn’t even listed in the caption of the photo that ran. Check that photo out in the story linked here. (Montreal Gazette)
A review of the first episode of “Hockey Wives.” (Sportsnet)
Are the Buffalo Sabres winning their way out of “McEichel?” (Hockey News)
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How has Winnipeg fared since Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little got injured? (Jets Nation)
Some kudos to Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk. (SB Nation NHL)
The Chicago Blackhawks seemed like they were on the verge of scratching Kris Versteeg on Tuesday, yet it turns out they’re doing so against the New York Rangers tonight, instead.
Michal Rozsival and Daniel Carcillo are the other Blackhawks scratches, as CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers notes. Andrew Desjardins gets into Chicago’s lineup in Versteeg’s absence while David Rundblad replaces Rozsival.
Versteeg realized earlier this week that he’s been performing poorly (in more colorful words) so this cannot be a huge surprise. Perhaps it will be the kind of push that inspires him to produce more regularly? That’s certainly the hope.
By shutting out the Arizona Coyotes 1-0 on Monday, the Los Angeles Kings end the night back in the West’s final wild card spot.
They had to grind this one out as Jonathan Quick made all 25 saves while Andy Andreoff scored the only goal on an increasingly spry Mike Smith (beaten just once on 35 shots). Los Angeles carried much of the play, but much like Washington out East, it wasn’t an easy night despite facing a “tanking” opponent.
Here is a quick look at the West wild card race after this one:
Minnesota (first wild card spot): 83 points, 35 regulation/overtime wins in 69 games played Los Angeles (second wild card spot): 81 points, 32 ROW in 69 GP
Winnipeg: 80 points, 28 ROW in 69 GP San Jose: 76 points, 31 ROW in 69 GP Colorado: 75 points, 23 ROW in 69 GP Dallas: 74 points, 29 ROW in 70 GP
It’s important to mention that the Kings could conceivably catch thee Calgary Flames (who have 81 points but two more ROW) and Vancouver Canucks (82 points, one game in hand on Los Angeles, plus three more ROW than the Kings) in the Pacific Division, too.
At this point, almost every win and loss could be framed as crucial. Regardless, the Kings would likely have some serious regrets if they dropped this one, but they managed to grit this one out. The West’s top teams probably aren’t happy, either.
Whether Toronto Maple Leafs fans are hoping for their team to tank or not, Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers was gruesome in many different ways.
Things were especially bleak for Jonathan Bernier, as he allowed three goals on four shots before being mercifully pulled in the first period of the game. The reactions on Twitter and social media in general ranged from sardonic to sorrowful.
Phil Kessel seemed to be in the latter camp:
Kessel: "This is an all-time low in hockey right now. It's a tough go." #Leafs
The game serves as another serious misstep for Nazem Kadri, who may find himself suspended by the league not that long after he was shelved by his team. Check out this hit he delivered on Matt Fraser:
As you can probably see, Kadri attempted to apologize to Fraser right after he delivered that check, which drew a two-minute illegal check to the head minor. After the game, he admitted that he’s concerned about getting suspended, as TSN’s Mark Masters reports.
Kadri admits he's a bit worried about possible suspension