Ryan Dadoun

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 06:  Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils waits for a faceoff during an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center on December 6, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
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Agent: Elias ‘desperately’ wants to play in 2016-17

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The future of Patrik Elias‘playing career is still up in the air, but agent Allan Walsh made his client’s preference perfectly clear.

“He desperately wants to play one more year,” Walsh told Sportsnet. “We’re not talking to other teams. If Patrik is able to play at the level he expects himself to play, if he can contribute to a team, I think New Jersey would very much love to have him back.”

The question now is if Elias will be healthy enough to play in 2016-17. The 40-year-old forward was limited to 16 games this season due to knee problems and underwent surgery in May. The plan is for him to resume skating in August.

If his knee feels good then Elias will speak to Devils GM Ray Shero about a new contract.

Elias would have the opportunity to become the Devils’ all-time leader in games played if he extends his career. He’s at 1,240 contests now, behind Martin Brodeur (1,259), and Ken Daneyko (1,283). He’s already the franchise leader in goals (408) and assists (617).

PHT Morning Skate: The science of Joe Thornton’s beard

SAN JOSE, CA - JUNE 06:  Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks skates on the ice against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Four of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center on June 6, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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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.

Here’s the science behind Joe Thornton‘s massive beard. More specifically: Has it gotten so big that it can actually impact his game? (ESPN.com)

Braden Holtby will be marching in Capital Pride Parade on Saturday. (Associated Press)

James Mirtle argues that Phil Kessel‘s performance with Pittsburgh has made it “indisputable” that the Maple Leafs sold low. (The Globe and Mail)

On the subject, here’s a non-scientific survey of what Leafs fans think of Kessel now. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

It’s believed that the Boston Bruins will draft a defenseman with the 14th overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, but that might change if Kieffer Bellows is available. (CSN New England)

In 2008 a temporary exhibit in Sidney Crosby‘s hometown of Halifax opened up featuring the Penguins star, but roughly eight years later its still running due to its popularity. (Canadian Press)

NHL 17 additions include ECHL, World Cup

The Canadian Press via AP
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EA Sports has announced the upcoming NHL 17’s feature set and there’s new material coming to the video game franchise.

Among the more notable additions is the World Cup, which will feature the official rosters and uniforms from the 2016 event. NHL 17 will also include the ECHL.

“This is something our players have wanted for a long time so it’s very exciting to deliver it and make the game even bigger this year,” EA Sports NHL lead producer Sean Ramjagsingh said, per the ECHL’s press release.

In terms of changes to game types, they’re expanding Be a GM into Franchise Mode “with the addition of unique team owners.” You’ll control the business side as well as the team and oversee marketing, upgrading the arena, and possible relocation.

In addition to new or changed modes and the inclusion of the ECHL, NHL 17 is promising on-ice changes from more authentic battles in front of the net to goalies being able to “process their position, angle and the scoring situation before committing to an athletic or technical save.”

You can read the full release and information about NHL 17’s features here.

For Cullen, second championship would be better than first

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 30:  Matt Cullen #7 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center on May 30, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Matt Cullen was with the Carolina Hurricanes when they won the Stanley Cup back in 2006, but as amazing an experience as that was for him, to lift the Stanley Cup at the age of 39 would be even better.

“To be able to share that with my boys at an age where they’re old enough to remember it and they know what’s going on, you think you could never add more to a Stanley Cup, but it adds a lot more to it. It makes it so much more special for me,” Cullen explained to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Cullen has been a staple of the Penguins’ fourth line throughout the playoffs and while that’s not a glamorous job, he’s played his part in getting Pittsburgh this far. He agreed to a one-year, $800K contract last summer, reuniting him with Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who was also the general manager of the 2006 Hurricanes. In addition to helping solidify the Penguins’ bottom-six, he can also provide some veteran guidance.

Given his age, it’s entirely possible that if the Penguins win this year he’ll take that opportunity to end his career on a high note. But of course, first they have to win one more game.

Kesler approached Boudreau after comments seemed to criticize ex-Ducks coach

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 21:  Ryan Kesler #17 of the Anaheim Ducks looks on during the third period of a game against the Calgary Flames at Honda Center on February 21, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Ryan Kesler sounded like he was indirectly taking swipes at former Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau during a recent interview with The Province, but he insists that wasn’t the case.

“(Kesler) texted me the next day and he said he was really upset because the reporters took everything out of context and said ‘they didn’t put anything in on the praise I laid on you,’” Boudreau said, per Yahoo Sports.

For the record, this is the Kesler quote in question:

“We just need a good bench coach, a coach that does things on the fly and makes changes during the game and not just between periods. We need a coach that holds everybody accountable — not just certain guys. We need a coach to come in and just be a good motivator and do what a coach does.

“The biggest thing is we need a good bench coach for strategies. But it’s not my job to pick a coach because there are a lot of good ones out there.”

What Kesler said about holding everyone accountable stands out in particular as Ducks GM Bob Murray spoke about the core players needing to be held accountable after he dismissed Boudreau. That was a problem that Murray seemed to have with the core throughout the campaign as he criticized returning players back in December for deciding that “training for this season was optional.”

Either way, everyone is moving on with Boudreau taking over as the Minnesota Wild’s head coach.