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.
Retired Hall of Famer Mike Bossy thinks that the 2014-15 New York Islanders are the real deal. (New York Post)
The Tampa Bay Lightning arranged for a surprise reunion between an Air Force father with his two children. (Puck Daddy)
Here are the highlights from San Jose’s 6-3 win over Anaheim:
After playing in 37 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, heading back to the Western Hockey League has been an adjustment for Leon Draisaitl. On the plus side though, it’s moved him from a struggling team to one that leads its league. (Edmonton Sun)
With Kyle Okposo sidelined, Cal Clutterbuck is serving as an alternative captain with the Islanders. (Newsday)
Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made a stunning paddle save during Thursday’s game against the Islanders last night:
Would the Calgary Flames be a good fit for Mike Richards and what would it take for the Los Angeles Kings to be able to unload his contract onto them? (Calgary Sun)
You can watch the highlights from Montreal’s 1-0 win against the Rangers below:
All the latest from the blue paint…
All Devan, all the time
Devan Dubnyk has been the goalie of record for Minnesota since coming over from Arizona two weeks ago, and that won’t change tonight when the Wild face the Flames in Calgary.
Dubnyk, who’s posted a .911 save percentage and 2.04 GAA in five games, is coming off a 2-1 win over Edmonton in which he stopped 23 of 24 shots. He’ll need a similar performance tonight if the 12th-place Wild want to stay within striking distance of the eighth-place Flames, who are currently seven points up in the standings:
For Calgary, Jonas Hiller starts in goal.
Bruins at Isles: Jaroslav Halak for New York, Tuukka Rask likely for Boston.
Habs at Rangers: Carey Price vs. Henrik Lundqvist
Jets at Flyers: Michael Hutchinson vs. Steve Mason
Jackets at Panthers: Curtis McElhinney vs. Roberto Luongo
Wings at Bolts: Petr Mrazek vs. Ben Bishop
Stars at Sens: Robin Lehner for Ottawa, Kari Lehtonen likely for Dallas.
Coyotes at Leafs: Mike Smith vs. Jonathan Bernier
Preds at Blues: Carter Hutton vs. Brian Elliott
Sabres at Oilers: Jhonas Enroth vs. Ben Scrivens
Ducks at Sharks: Ilya Bryzgalov likely for Anaheim, Antti Niemi likely for San Jose.
Simon Gagne’s attempt to stage a comeback after being out of the NHL for a season was successful as he participated in 23 games with Boston. On Jan. 12 though, he made it known that he was permanently leaving the Bruins.
“The last month has been extremely difficult for me with my father being sick and his passing,” Gagne said at the time. “To play in the NHL you have to be 100% mentally, emotionally and physically committed to the game. At this time I know that I cannot be close to those levels. The Bruins organization and my teammates have been great to my family and I during this time.”
The Bruins suspended him so that they could maintain a full roster. They took another step towards finalizing the process on Wednesday by placing him on unconditional waivers. If he clears, he will be released, according to an Associated Press source.
Gagne, who is a veteran of 822 NHL games, averaged 11:18 minutes per contest and recorded four points during his tenure with Boston. At the age of 34, he still might eventually attempt to return to the NHL once more.
Seven shots on goal through 40 minutes of hockey. That’s simply not good enough, and that’s what the Vancouver Canucks managed in an uninspired 4-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.
The following day, they held a team meeting to discuss this recent run of play, which has seen the Canucks lose their last two games, and go 5-5 in their last 10 games. They precariously hold a playoff spot, sitting third in the Pacific Division, but only three points ahead of the L.A. Kings.
“I think we came off the break, and we were still in the break mode when we played,” said head coach Willie Desjardins on Wednesday.
“We weren’t at the level we needed to compete the way we needed to compete. That one’s gone and it can’t happen again. We’ve had a few of those at home and we know that and we have to react accordingly.”
The coach reiterated the message he had from the night before, when he admitted he might have to change his mind when it comes to his belief his Canucks can compete with top teams, like the Ducks.
Meanwhile, trade rumors involving the Canucks are swirling, especially now with Kevin Bieksa out of the lineup after hand surgery. Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski has been mentioned in the most recent round of speculation involving the Canucks.
Though he’s struggled to get games in Boston this season, Matt Bartkowski’s name has surfaced as a potential target for the Mar. 2 trade deadline.
Per The Province, two Bruins scouts were in attendance for last night’s Canucks-Ducks game, and also notes that Vancouver’s VP of Player Personnel, Jon Weisbrod, is a former Bruins collegiate scout that “followed Bartkowski closely” a few seasons ago. (The 26-year-old spent two years at Ohio State.)
Then there’s this, from TSN’s Insider Trading:
“We’ll keep an eye on the Vancouver Canucks obviously with Bieksa out for a long period of time (6-8 weeks after hand surgery). They’re reaching out to teams and looking for help defensively.
“They’ve connected with the Boston Bruins with some interest in Bartkowski, but if they’re going to make that move the Bruins are going to likely have to add a d-man themselves.”
Bartkowski has only appeared in 20 of Boston’s 48 games this year and has routinely been parked in the press box as a healthy scratch. It’s been a major regression, especially on the heels of a 2013-14 campaign in which he played in 64 games, averaged 19:32 TOI per night and finished tied with Dougie Hamilton for third among Bruins d-men in assists, with 18.
Bartkowski is also a UFA at season’s end, and Boston has two key blueliners it needs to re-up with this summer: Hamilton and Torey Krug, both of whom are RFAs.