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.
Blues forward Patrik Berglund is normally a center but his recent move to the wing is paying off nicely so far. (Post-Dispatch)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Oilers forward Ales Hemsky would love to get another chance to play for the Czech Republic in the Olympics. (Edmonton Journal)
Mikko Koivu was banged up on Saturday night and missed most of the third period. The Wild really don’t need to lose their captain while they’re struggling. (Star-Tribune)
Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly knows what it’s like to play for bronze at World Juniors and, you guessed it, it stinks. (Toronto Sun)
Do referees have a vendetta against P.K. Subban? He sure thinks so. (Sun Media)
Pittsburgh writer Seth Rorabaugh shared a story of why he misses the lockout. If you’ve got tissues nearby you might need them. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Wild prospect Matt Dumba had a tough time at World Juniors and he and his Team Canada coach, Brent Sutter, have a history. Not all of it is nice and easy though.
Lightning fans may have gulped a bit at the news of 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Drouin missing out on Team Canada’s World Junior camp with a sore foot.
Drouin, the third overall pick in this summer’s draft, was held off the ice for the two-day warm up before heading to Lake Placid. As it was, this would’ve been the one chance for him to skate with the rest of Team Canada’s invitees as coach Brent Sutter won’t be bringing any of last year’s World Junior team members (Nathan MacKinnon, Morgan Rielly, and Griffin Reinhart) to New York.
As for Drouin’s foot, it’s merely sore and he’s being kept off the ice as a precaution. Team Canada already knows what kind of player they’ve got in him and there’s no doubt the Lightning are happy to see them not pushing him just to practice.
After coaching the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils, Brent Sutter is going back to his roots.
Sutter took over as the interim head coach of the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL after firing Jesse Wallin. As Adam Kimelman from NHL.com notes, it’s just Sutter taking over all of the positions of the team as he’s already the owner, president, and general manager of the team.
Sutter left his job as coach of the Flames after the team missed out on the playoffs in April to return to Red Deer. He once coached the Rebels to the Memorial Cup back in 2001 and was the bench boss on a pair of Canadian World Junior Championship teams.
Hey, you can go home and then run the entire show again after all.
Since leaving the Florida Panthers, Olli Jokinen’s reputation plummeted from “Rick Nash-type star on a bad team”* to something of a punchline. Yet with the help of Brent Sutter, Jokinen turned around his career during the last two seasons with the Calgary Flames, producing a solid 61 points in 2011-12. That redemptive run helped him earn a two-year, $9 million contract with the Winnipeg Jets, a move Sutter praised when speaking with Ken Wiebe.
“He’s a real good example of a player who, as he got up in age, he understood the importance of changing his game. To get a guy like Olli, it’s a great move by the Jets.” Sutter said. “He really flourished. The last two years, his game went to a whole new level, as far as the type of player he was. With doing it, he was still able to contribute and put up offensive numbers.”
In fact, Sutter called Jokinen the Flames’ “top forward” from last season, which is pretty high praise on a team that employs Jarome Iginla.
Interestingly enough, Jokinen’s $4.5 million cap hit ranks as the highest mark among Jets forwards – although that might change if Evander Kane signs – and ties him for the second-highest Winnipeg player alongside Ron Hainsey. (Dustin Byfuglien’s $5.2 million cap hit tops the team.)
Adding Jokinen isn’t really a splashy move, but if you ask Sutter, it might just be a great one.
* – It’s not as crazy a comparison as you might think. Jokinen generated 91 and 89-point seasons with Florida and scored 34+ goals four different times.
The Oilers have always been a team that works by their own beat and never adhering to what’s expected of them. You can say the same of them when it comes to picking a head coach as well.
While many expected Edmonton to hire former Flames and Devils head coach Brent Sutter to be their new bench boss, it appears they’ll be going with their own assistant coach Ralph Krueger for the job instead according to John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal.
Krueger is best known for his work in coaching Switzerland from 1997 to 2010 and taking the Swiss to a fourth place finish at the world championships in 1998. His work internationally led him to be Tom Renney’s assistant in Edmonton and now to being the top guy.
Krueger now gets to try and figure out how to lead the very young Oilers to being a playoff team once again and rise from the ashes of mediocrity that saw Edmonton turn into a team that picked first overall three years in a row. It’s a fine situation for Krueger to make a name for himself if he can.
Update (10:54 a.m. ET): Oilers make it official, name Krueger as head coach.