Author: Joe Yerdon

Carey Price

Goaltending is the big battle at Team Canada’s camp


Team Canada has their own orientation camp already underway in Calgary, and the biggest question there has to do with who will start in goal.

Carey Price, Roberto Luongo, Corey Crawford, Mike Smith, and Braden Holtby are the five goalies vying for the No. 1 job and the competition is expected to be stiff. Team GM Steve Yzerman says he’s confident things will shake out as Donna Spencer of the Canadian Press shares.

“I think there are some new faces that are very good goaltenders,” he said. “Roberto played on the last team. Corey Crawford is coming to camp. He just finished winning the Stanley Cup.

“Things will work itself out. I’m not going to worry about it here in August.”

There isn’t much point to worrying in August, it’s true. Canada’s camp, like Team USA’s camp, won’t have anyone participating on the ice because of the sky-high cost to insure the players. How those guys start their NHL seasons will do plenty to decide who goes to Sochi and who gets a few weeks off in February.

It’s New York Islanders day on PHT

John Tavares

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The New York Islanders.

Last season was one to remember fondly for Islanders fans. The team returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-2007 season. John Tavares earned a spot as a finalist for the Hart Trophy, the first Islander to do that since Bryan Trottier did in 1982. And better yet, Tavares is only getting better.

While the team is headed to Brooklyn eventually, their focus now is finding out how to stay in the playoffs in the revamped Metropolitan Division where memories of the old Patrick Division come flying back. Rivalries with the Penguins, Rangers, and Devils stay in tact while memories of old playoff wars with the Capitals come roaring back. Let’s just hope Dale Hunter is nowhere to be seen.

Hope can be a dangerous thing to have, but the Islanders have all the reason in the world to have it.

Offseason recap

The Isles’ summer turned out to be one that had them feeling Minnesota. They dealt away problematic (for them) prospect Nino Niederreiter for rugged winger Cal Clutterbuck and then added Pierre-Marc Bouchard in free agency. Picking guys off the Wild roster isn’t always a recipe for success, but both should do well for the Islanders.

Dealing away captain Mark Streit to the Flyers opened up the “C” for Tavares to (likely) take hold of it this year and beyond. Elsewhere in free agency, they brought back goalie Evgeni Nabokov after staying out of the goalie trade wars and added center Peter Regin from Ottawa. They’re hoping his friendship with underrated Danish countryman Frans Nielsen can pay off.

New York has a good handful of younger prospects looking to crash the roster for bigger roles this year. Staying out of a tepid free agency class was by design. Names like Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, Matt Donovan, Griffin Reinhart and Calvin de Haan will be talked about a lot during training camp and beyond.


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

PHT Morning Skate: Team USA orientation camp kicks off today

usa hockey logo 1

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.

Team USA takes their first step in preparing for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Virginia today with the start of orientation camp. There won’t be any work on the ice (thanks, insurance costs) but there’s bound to be plenty of news from there. We’ll keep you posted. (USA Hockey)

Roberto Luongo is eager to get back to hockey now that he’s said his piece about his ongoing drama in Vancouver. (Canadian Press)

Is it going to be tough for the Oilers’ Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle to make Team Canada’s roster? Just how stiff is the competition? (Edmonton Journal)

Andrew Shaw’s stitches went for $6,500 on Ebay for charity. That’s… Really something else. (

The Blues are hoping for Chris Stewart to step up his game after cashing in on a new deal with them. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Luongo to Tortorella: ‘I just want to play’

Roberto Luongo

It’s never dull in Vancouver when it comes to Roberto Luongo’s status with the team. He’s been very quiet most of the summer, save for the occasional tweet here and there, but one guy who’s kept up with him is his new coach, John Tortorella.

Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun spoke with Tortorella (it’s a great interview, by the way) and finds out the coach is very much working on his relationship with Luongo.

“He knows there is a lot of talk and probably a lot of questions coming his way with how it all unfolded here,” Tortorella said. “I think he’s prepared for that and the bottom line is he told me “I just want to play.” I think that is the most important thing, if there is some conflict or you are unhappy about certain things, the bottom line is and he understands it, is that he is playing for his teammates. Those are the most important people.”

Rumors about Luongo not being happy coming back to Vancouver after the Canucks dealt Cory Schneider this summer instead of him have persisted. His seeming aloofness has kept the rumor mill going.

If Luongo is unhappy about things, stressing how the team needs him is a good way to appeal to him. After all, it’s not like he’s getting traded now. If it didn’t happen in the last two years, it’s not about to now.

Related: Canucks assistant GM can’t say if Luongo will be happy at training camp

It’s Winnipeg Jets day on PHT

Lightning Jets Hockey

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Winnipeg Jets.

Solid, yet unspectacular.

That’s the way you could describe how just about everything the Jets have done over the past year. They finished ninth in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the upstart Islanders. The brilliant parts of their team (Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd) are often overshadowed by who struggles (team defense, goaltending, coaching?).

The Jets are a team with hope and with reasons to be optimistic about their future, but many questions remain. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff tried to address some of those issues this summer, but mostly got caught up in retaining his own players.

It’s not quite a “one step forward, two steps back” kind of thing, but in a new division with new rivals they have to hope treading water is OK.

Offseason recap

The Jets managed to spend quite a bit of money this summer, just not in what was an unspectacular free agent crop. They carved out big deals to restricted free agents Blake Wheeler, Zach Bogosian, and Bryan Little. With all the money spent there, the generally frugal Jets are now amongst the league’s biggest spenders.

Who they were able to add to the team they did so through trades. They acquired Michael Frolik from Chicago and Devin Setoguchi from Minnesota for just mid-round draft picks. Meanwhile, young forward Alex Burmistrov packed up his things and headed to the KHL after apparently having issues with coach Claude Noel.

Prospect forwards Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry will each get their chance to show they can be full-time NHL players this year and it would do Winnipeg a world of good to see them make the leap.

Rookie defenseman Jacob Trouba could wind up being a Calder candidate this season. Meanwhile, questions still remain as to how good (or not) goalie Ondrej Pavelec can be.

It could be one of those seasons for the Jets, they just have to hope they can hang with the likes of Chicago, St. Louis, and Minnesota instead of Tampa Bay, Florida, and Carolina. Gulp?


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series