Ryan Dadoun

Getty Images

Torts sees positives in loss, uses Johansen sparingly


New Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella doesn’t think moral victories are going to help his squad when their record stands at 0-8-0, but you can still chalk Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Minnesota up as one.

“I thought we played hard, won battles,” Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “We played the way I think we’re going to have to play to get us out of this.”

In the midst of a literally historic season-opening losing streak, any reason for positive thinking needs to be latched upon. That’s not to say that Tortorella’s debut went swimmingly for every Blue Jackets player though.

One point of intrigue was Ryan Johansen, who was taken off the first line as the game progressed and didn’t play at all in the final 6:10 minutes of the tight contest. The Blue Jackets star forward logged just 13:57 minutes, which was the fifth lowest total on the team.

“With Joey in the middle of that line, I didn’t think it was that effective,” Tortorella said. “I tried to stay with it during the game … (but) we switched the centers. When Dubi went and played there, I thought it was much more effective as far as getting pucks to the net and spending more time in the end zone.”

That’s right, Brandon Dubinsky, who has a storied past with Tortorella, was moved to the top line and led all forwards in ice time in the first game with the bench boss.

Of course, Tortorella did say that he needs to lean on Dubinsky.

PHT Morning Skate: Canadians no longer majority of NHL players

Getty Images

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.

Canadians no longer make up the majority of NHL players, which is a first in the league’s history. (TSN)

Nail Yakupov has started the season on a high note. (Edmonton Sun)

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk would love to see an outdoor game played on Parliament Hill. (Parliament Hill)

Seems fair to say that Jaromir Jagr has been impressed by Connor McDavid:

NHL players weigh in on whether or not a hotdog is a sandwich. (Sportsnet)

Jeremy Roenick discusses what kind of football player Alex Ovechkin would be. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

Of course, that subject can’t be raised without linking back to this 2008 Onion video:

Pens getting back Dupuis after nearly year-long absence

Getty Images

Pascal Dupuis‘ nearly year-long absence from the NHL is about to end.

He’ll be in the lineup tonight against the Dallas Stars tonight, per the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Twitter feed. He last played on Nov. 15 because of blood clots and when Dupuis was finally ready to return for the 2015-16 campaign, he was furthered delayed by a lower-body injury.

Combined that with the knee injury that limited him to 39 contests in 2013-14 and it’s reasonable to say that Dupuis has endured far than his fair share of health issues over the last few years.

His services have been sorely missed in Pittsburgh. Before those health problems threatened to derail his career, Dupuis could excel in a bottom-six forward role, but he also meshed well with Sidney Crosby.

That kind of versatility would be a nice boost for the Penguins, although it’s not clear if the 36-year-old will be able to pick up where he left off after missing so much time.

In the short-term, he’s projected to play on the fourth line. That could naturally change in a hurry though.

Hot Duclair set to face Rangers for first time since trade

Getty Images

Pundits had rock bottom expectations for Arizona going into this season and one of the reasons the Coyotes have turned some heads is because of Anthony Duclair‘s play.

He leads all rookies with five goals and is tied for first place with seven points. It’s gotten to the point where Coyotes GM Don Maloney isn’t sure where the team would be without the combination of Duclair and fellow rookie Max Domi, per TSN.ca.

It all made Arizona’s trade with the Rangers look very favorable for the Coyotes. In order to acquire Keith Yandle, Chris Summers, and a 2016 fourth-round pick in March, the New York Rangers had to send Arizona Anthony Duclair, John Moore, and 2015 second rounder (Oliver Kylington), and a first-round pick in one of the next two drafts.

That trade shocked Duclair, but it also gave him an opportunity after the Rangers’ unusual handling of him last season. With the team’s sights set on the Stanley Cup, the Rangers frequently made him a healthy scratch and when he was inserted into the lineup, his playing time was limited. Despite that, the Rangers kept him on their roster until December when they loaned him to Team Canada for the World Juniors. After he excelled in the tournament, he was returned to the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

After doing everything he can to secure a role with his new team, he’ll have an opportunity to show the Rangers what they gave up tonight when Arizona plays in New York.

Related: Coyotes’ kids are beyond alright: Duclair notches first hat trick

Video: Ward robs Duchene with stunning stick save


Matt Duchene could have certainly used a break on that one.

After Carolina Hurricanes forward Kris Versteeg coughed up the puck in the Avalanche’s zone due to a fall, Jarome Iginla was able to charge to the other end of the ice and set up Duchene right in front of the goal. Duchene made the most of the juicy opportunity, but Ward managed to swat the puck out of midair with his stick, as you can see above.

“It’s absolutely painful. I’m probably going to have nightmares about that one,” Duchene said, per the Avalanche’s website.

Duchene was able to score his first goal of the season on Sunday, but he still has just one point in six contests, so scoring on that opportunity could have gone a long way towards putting his cold start behind him.

It also proved to be a pivotal moment in the game as Carolina and Colorado were scoreless through 60 minutes. The Hurricanes went on to win in overtime, leaving the Avalanche with a 2-3-1 record. Colorado will try to bounce back on Saturday against Columbus.

Carolina improved to 2-4-0 ahead of Friday’s game in Los Angeles.