Author: James O'Brien


PHT Morning Skate: When ugly can be a good thing


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.

Joe Thornton: third-line center … plus some things that actually make sense in the latest edition of Elliotte Friedman’s must-read 30 Thoughts. (Sportsnet)

Get this: it might be OK that new Dallas Stars mascot Victor E. Green is “ugly.” (The Hockey News)

Scott Cullen provides a robust summary of the Alberta Analytics Conference. (TSN)

How much do “league minimum” players usually set their teams back? Fear the Fin provides an interesting experiment in that regard. (Fear the Fin)

What’s ailing the Edmonton Oilers Part XVIII: the market itself? (Oilers Nation)

While the 2013-14 campaign obviously ended well for Marian Gaborik, it was a notably bumpy one overall. What should we expect from him as he gets settled in with the Los Angeles Kings in 2014-15, then? (SB Nation)

T.J. Oshie meets his shootout match at a fantasy camp:

B’s Lucic admits his wrist isn’t fully healed

Boston Bruins v Detroit Red Wings - Game Three

Some might argue that the Boston Bruins took a half-step (or more) backward this offseason due to salary cap challenges, but the team still looks formidable on paper. They might not be able to pencil Milan Lucic in at full force to start the season, though.

The hulking forward admitted to that his surgically repaired left wrist isn’t quite back to 100 percent just yet.

“I feel like I’ve turned the corner in the last week or week-and-a-half, so that’s a positive. But I’m still working to get it up to 100 percent,” Lucic said. “I’m just excited to be back with everyone, and to get things going. You don’t want to do anything to have any setbacks, so you have to be smart about it. It’s turned the corner for the better as far as rehab has gone.”

The 26-year-old wore a hard cast that extended from his elbow to his hand for most of this summer, greatly limiting his ability to work out his upper-body this summer, as he told While he has time to build back up – again, he seems positive about the last couple weeks of progress – there’s at least some concern that he’ll take awhile to rebound to his usual intimidating form.

(Don’t expect him to resemble a “string bean” anytime soon, though.)

Should Lucic shoot more often once he’s healthy?

Lucic spoke about the “mental part to get over when it comes to shooting, and everything else on the ice” as well, which brings up an interesting point: the B’s might want to ask Lucic to fire the puck more often, at least long-term.

The big winger only fired 153 shots on goal last season, meaning he averaged fewer than two shots on net per game. His career average (811 in 485 regular season contests), is well off the two-per-game mark, too.

Considering his power, ability to fight through checks and impressive accuracy (his career shooting percentage is an outstanding 14.9), Boston might want to start whispering in his ear to maybe be just a touch less selective.

That might come naturally, though. After skating alongside obvious finishers in Jarome Iginla and Nathan Horton, David Krejci seemed excited by the prospect of Loui Eriksson bumping up his goal totals, so one can only imagine what kind of impact that might have on Lucic’s approach. Again, it may be wise to push for higher shot volumes when he feels comfortable, though.

This is not to say that Lucic should just fire the puck away without any thought regarding context, but more shots from that talented forward seems like it could only be a good thing.

Video: Teravainen’s beautiful pass leaves Blackhawks fans beaming

Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks

OK, let’s get the prerequisite hold-your-horses stuff out of the way:

1. This moment came on Sept. 15.

2. … Which means it didn’t even take place during a preseason contest, but instead a prospects game, so the level of competition is obviously much lower than what Teuvo Teravainen would face even against opponents that might be in “tank mode” in 2014-15.

There, that might calm some people down. Others will just bask in the glow of this beautiful pass, and those who are Chicago Blackhawks fans may have ludicrous dynastic thoughts dancing in their heads:

If the much-hyped 20-year-old prospect can translate those skills to big-time NHL battles, hockey fans could be in for a treat and the rest of the league might want to pack some antacids.

(H/T to The Score.)

Flames dodge bullets with ugly hit on Gaudreau, minor issues for Bennett

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks

It’s easy to dismiss preseason games and especially prospect tournaments as irrelevant venues of competition, but they’re worth noting for at least two reasons: 1) players getting opportunities and 2) possible injuries. The Calgary Flames got two scares in that second category in their prospects exhibition against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

The biggest concern revolves around promising scorer Johnny Gaudreau’s condition following this ugly hit by Frank Corrado (video via Jason Gold):

PHT’s own Cam Tucker reports that Corrado, 21, received a major penalty (possibly for elbowing) and was ejected for that check. Jason Gold compares that hit to one Kyle McLaren delivered on Richard Zednik.

Whatever the league may or may not decide to do about that check, the early word regarding Gaudreau (pictured) seems positive:

That brings us to the other scare for Calgary tonight: first-round pick Sam Bennett was held out after he seemed to suffer a minor groin injury. The good news is that the fourth overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft doesn’t even think this issue will linger into training camp:

Bennett, 18, and Gaudreau, 21, inspire some serious excitement from observers so it’s heartening to hear that they likely dodged bullets.

Naturally, if anything changes for either prospect, PHT will make note.

Red Wings’ tryout invite Robinson is fully conscious after being hospitalized


The Detroit Red Wings announced that training camp invite Brandon Robinson is fully conscious and has full movement in his body after being taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons on Monday.

Robinson, 18, was taken off the ice on a stretcher after being boarded during the team’s prospect matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets.’s Brendan Savage has more on the situation (H/T to Kukla’s Korner):

It certainly sounds like a scary collision, but at least he’s responsive and seems mobile. Video of the collision is unavailable at this moment.

Robinson played the 2013-14 season with the North Bay Battalion and Kitchener Rangers.