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.
How does the Columbus Blue Jackets’ start compare to some of the worst ever? (CBS Sports)
A book coming out this week called “Breaking Away: A Harrowing True Story of Resilience, Courage and Triumph,” details the abuse former NHL forward Patrick O’Sullivan suffered at the hands of his father. (Sportsnet)
Tyson Barrie, who is serving a three-game suspension, doesn’t see himself as a “dirty player or an overly physical player.” (Denver Post)
Taylor Chorney has an opportunity to secure regular playing time with the Washington Capitals. (Washington Post)
Even at the age of 43, Jaromir Jagr is showing that he can still excel at the highest level. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
A poll of players gives the Florida Panthers’ ice a poor review. (Puck Daddy)
Canadiens goalie Carey Price, Stars center Tyler Seguin and Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.
Price went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average, .963 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Canadiens (6-0-0, 12 points) to three wins, leading the team to its best start in its 98-year NHL history.
Seguin tied for first in the NHL with 3-4—7 in three outings to power the Stars (4 1-0, 8 points) to a trio of victories.
Tarasenko notched 3-3—6 and a +6 rating in four games to lift the Blues (5-1-0, 10 points) to four consecutive wins.
Other players that excelled over the last week include David Krejci (3G, 4A in three games), Jason Spezza (4G, 2A), John Tavares (2G, 5A), Torey Krug (5A), and Alexander Steen (2G, 3A in four games).
Among goaltenders, Michal Neuvirth stood out with back-to-back shutouts last week while Martin Jones continued his superb start (1 goal on 63 shots).
Rookie Connor McDavid also started to show what he’s capable of by scoring three goals and five points in four contests.
The New York Rangers went into the season with plans of limiting Henrik Lundqvist to about 60 games, but that will likely only happen if Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is comfortable with backup goaltender Antti Raanta.
The 26-year-old netminder will get his first chance to build that level of trust tonight as the Rangers have confirmed that Raanta will make his season debut against the San Jose Sharks.
Raanta will be tasked with filling the void left by Cam Talbot, who for two years was a superb understudy for Lundqvist. Talbot also played a key role last season after Lundqvist suffered a vascular injury in his neck that sidelined him for most of February and March.
The Rangers’ new backup goaltender had a superb 1.89 GAA and .936 save percentage in 14 contests with Chicago in 2014-15, but he still lost the backup job to Scott Darling. That was trying for Raanta and led to a report from the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat that he hoped Nashville would sweep the Blackhawks in the first round. While he later denied making that comment, the interviewer said that it’s on tape, but that the quote lacked context.
Regardless, this is a fresh start for Raanta and an opportunity for him to play an important part on another team that’s regarded as a serious Stanley Cup contender.
San Jose will counter with the red hot Martin Jones, per CSN Bay Area.
Michal Rozsival‘s long recovery from a broken ankle is nearing its end, but there’s still more work to be done before he can rejoin the Chicago Blackhawks.
Although he was able to take part in Chicago’s morning skate on Saturday, he only has about 85 percent of his original range of motion in his left ankle. The 37-year-old defenseman opened the campaign on the long-term injured reserve list, which a player must stay on for at least 24 days and 10 games, but he’s likely to remain on it for more than the minimum.
“I can’t tell you how long but it’s definitely not ready now. It may be a few more weeks before I can actually go out and play an NHL game,” Rozsival told CSN Chicago.
Still, he’s made significant strides since reporting to training camp. At the time he had swelling in his ankle and the area was stiff.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ defensive depth was dealt a significant blow when Rozsival broke his ankle in Game 4 of the second round on May 7. He underwent surgery less than a week later.
He agreed to a one-year extension in September that comes with a base salary of $600K and can pay him an additional $200K in performance bonuses, per General Fanager)
Andre Burakovsky began the 2015-16 campaign as Washington’s second-line center, but he was just there to help fill the void left by Nicklas Backstrom. So now that Backstrom has returned from his hip surgery, where does that leave Burakovsky?
With the Capitals third line clicking, Burakovsky went all the way down to the fourth line on Saturday. The 20-year-old isn’t likely to remain in that role and in fact might not have regular linemates for a while.
“Bert’s pretty good offensively,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz told the Washington Post. “He could move up a little bit, but he’s going to be a little bit of a swing guy probably for a little bit here. When I’m looking for a little more speed or offense, I’ll probably be throwing him up.”
He might specifically find himself getting the odd shift alongside Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin in place of T.J. Oshie, who Trotz wants to be careful about overworking given the fact that Oshie also logs big minutes in penalty killing and power-play situations.
While Burakovsky began the season as a center, that’s not his natural position and occasionally filling in for a right winger like Oshie would likely be more in his comfort zone. Not that Burakovsky is likely to be particular as he tries to claw his way up the depth charts.
“That’s something I’m trying to fight for every day, to get up in the lines a little bit here,” Burakovsky said. “Obviously, now it’s fun to have [center Chandler Stephenson] on my line, the two youngest guys on the team playing together, so that’s kind of fun. But obviously, I want to get up in the lines here and play with the top-six guys here.”