Ryan Dadoun

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PHT Morning Skate: Kessel’s probably bringing Cup to Toronto

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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.

Phil Kessel hasn’t finalized his plans yet, but there’s a “good chance” he’ll bring the Stanley Cup to Toronto. (Sportsnet)

The Florida Panthers will hold a Blood Drive on Friday to help the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. (Panthers.nhl.com)

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said he and Mike Yeo “hit it off really well.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Though there is outside interest, Canucks GM Jim Benning isn’t looking to trade down from the No. 5 selection in the upcoming 2016 NHL Entry Draft. (Dan Murphy)

Should the Calgary Flames pursue a trade for Marc-Andre Fleury? (Calgary Sun)

Construction has started on the Chicago Blackhawks’ new training facility. It’s projected to open in December 2017. (Washington Times)

NHL sues NHLPA to reverse Wideman’s suspension reduction

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Dennis Wideman‘s suspension saga isn’t over.

The NHL has filed a lawsuit against the NHLPA over Wideman’s suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson from behind being reduced from 20 games to 10 by a neutral arbitrator back in March. The NHL hopes to restore the original 20-game suspension, per TSN.

“We believe that Arbitrator Oldham, in reaching his decision, exceeded his contractual authority by failing to properly apply the parties’ collectively bargained standard of review,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

“Today’s action was motivated primarily by our regard for the collective bargaining process and the importance of maintaining and safeguarding the parties’ reasonable expectations arising from the agreements made in that process.”

NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said that the union was disappointed, but are “confident this action is completely without merit and that the court will agree.”

You can check TSN for their complete statements.

Because of the length of Wideman’s appeal process, he had already served 19 games of the suspension before it got lowered to 10. The decision to reduce his suspension did make a difference financially though as he got back half of the $564,516 he was expected to forfeit.

Prior to the arbitrator’s ruling, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reviewed and upheld the original suspension length, adding that he was “troubled by Mr. Wideman’s total failure to accept any responsibility for his actions.”

Wideman argues that his hit was “completely accidental” and he “had no intent on hitting Donnie at all.”

Related:

Wideman text message saga takes another turn

NHL Officials’ Association ‘strongly disagrees’ with the decision to reduce Wideman’s suspension

Burke: Flames concussion protocol was ‘followed to the letter’ in Wideman case

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

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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

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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.