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.
To start the school year, Russian president Vladimir Putin skated on a team that included Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and Pavel Bure and faced off against students. You can see footage of that below:
In the same vein, Michal Neuvirth’s “Rocky” mask has been revealed. (NHL.com)
Red Wings GM Ken Holland reflects on some of the changes in strategy and challenges the Red Wings have endured over the cap era as they look to make the playoffs for a 25th consecutive campaign. (RedWings.nhl.com)
Evgeny Kuznetsov hopes to spend his entire career with the Washington Capitals. (Washington Post)
The Carolina Hurricanes endured a rough campaign in 2014-15 and their biggest overall issues surrounded their offense. Now going into his second season as head coach, Bill Peters hopes to address that.
“We’re going to tweak a few things from what we did last year, with an emphasis on being a more dangerous team offensively,” Peters told The News & Observer.
The Hurricanes had a number of key players that didn’t live up to expectations in that regard last season. Alexander Semin, who was bought out this summer, is the most obvious example, but Eric Staal led the team with just 54 points, which was his lowest total in an 82-game campaign since 2003-2004. Meanwhile, Jeff Skinner went from scoring 33 goals in 2013-14 to 18 last season and Jordan Staal was limited to 46 contests due to a fractured fibula.
There’s some hope that this season can be better though, in part because 20-year-old Elias Lindholm and 22-year-old Victor Rask may be ready to take another step forward.
As for the system itself though, blueliner Justin Faulk — who ranked second in the Hurricanes’ 14-15 scoring race — rose to its defense.
“It’s not a matter of trusting the system. It’s a matter of trusting the players to make sure everyone that’s in the lineup that night is ready to go,” Faulk said. “The system is there, it works. Guys believe that.”
After all the hype and preparation, Jack Eichel’s debut with the Buffalo Sabres is only about a month away. Of course he still has to go through training camp and the preseason before he officially makes the team, but barring an injury or surprise turn of events, he should be playing for the Sabres in their opener on Oct. 8.
“I think it’s starting to get real,” Eichel said, per Buffalo News.
While he’s already had to deal with plenty of attention and high pressure situations, the shift to the NHL is still a major undertaking, even for players as talented as Eichel. It should help that he’ll have plenty of support, particularly from veteran forward Matt Moulson, who has opened his home to Eichel.
“I know that everyone who knows him well says great things about him,” Eichel said. “I haven’t heard a bad thing about the guy. The way he offered his house to me shows what kind of person he is. He’s a really generous guy, a good guy to be around.”
Eichel might also end up playing on a line with Moulson, although at this point that’s purely speculation. The Sabres will be entering the season with a bolstered offense after finishing last in scoring in 2014-15 and has a new coach in Dan Bylsma, so one of the interesting aspects of the Sabres’ training camp will be what lines are experimented with and which ones gel.