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.
P.K. Subban was in Montreal’s Westmount neighborhood on Sunday when he came across eight-year-old Jack Fraser and his friends playing street hockey. The 26-year-old Habs’ defenseman decided to join in and test Fraser’s goaltending skills. (Bar Down)
Blackhawks’ coach Joel Quenneville’s connection to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. (The Canadian Press)
Rangers’ rookie Kevin Hayes netted the overtime winner on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh giving New York a commanding 3-1 series lead heading back to MSG.
It was the 22-year-old’s first career Stanley Cup playoff goal in just his fourth career postseason game.
Hayes, a free agent signing out of Boston College last summer, has been a surprise fit for the Rangers.
“Oh, it would be completely different,” Rangers GM Glen Sather told the New York Post Wednesday night. “Not only wouldn’t we have had him, but we would have had to go out and gotten somebody else [to fill the role as third-line center].”
Hayes had 44 goals and 132 points in 142 games with the Eagles over four seasons. The Blackhawks draft pick was unable to come terms with Chicago making him a free agent last August.
The Boston native had 17 goals and 28 assists in 79 regular season games with the Rangers.
Hayes rookie campaign has surprised even Sather.
“No, I didn’t envision it would happen this quickly,” Sather said. “It’s very rare to be able to do what he’s done. He’s a very smart player, he learns quickly and he’s a great kid.
“The mistake I made was not getting his brother from Chicago,” he said, alluding to Jimmy Hayes, who was in the Blackhawks’ organization for a few years before joining the Florida Panthers last season. “I wanted to, but it just didn’t work out.”
The Rangers can close out their series with the Penguins on Friday night.
Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky has been where Ryan Johansen is.
As a restricted free agent, Dubinksy, who shares the same agent as Johansen (Kurt Overhardt), was a holdout from New York Rangers camp in the summer of 2009.
The 28-year-old remembers things between the two sides getting so bad that he didn’t have access to his own equipment.
“(Rangers general manager) Glen Sather actually held my equipment hostage from me,” Dubinsky told the Columbus Dispatch. “I’m not sure I should tell you guys that. But I was using rental skates. I was just skating laps, just burning my legs out every day to try to keep my legs in shape.”
After missing eight days of camp, Dubinsky eventually signed a two-year $3.7 million deal.
“Mine was a different situation, but I’m not proud of it,” said Dubinsky. “I’m not going to comment on whether I agree or disagree with what (Johansen) is doing. All I’ll say is, he’s an individual that has got to look out for his interests and his family’s interests. He’s got to make his own decisions.”
Johansen has reportedly turned down offers of $6 million over two years, $32 million over six and $46 million over eigh years.
We know there hasn’t been much success in Edmonton the past eight seasons now, but during the 1980s they were the team.
Back in 1984, the Oilers started their dynastic run by ending the New York Islanders’ dynasty beating them in five games. Now, 30 years later, they’re getting the band back together again on Oct. 10 to celebrate the first of what ultimately became five Stanley Cup titles in Edmonton.
“I think everybody, which Wayne (Gretzky) alluded to, and him being the architect of getting this idea, wanted to see the guys and get together,” Oilers President and member of that ’84 team Kevin Lowe said. “We’ve never celebrated the team in any capacity, we did have the Heritage Classic in 2003, which was a bit of a celebration. This is a real fitting event and it looks like everybody is going to be here.”
By “everybody” Lowe means just about everyone involved with the Oilers’ success. Players, coaches, scouts, equipment staff, and executives will all be part of the celebration. We’ll see if former owner Peter Pocklington is welcome since he’s the guy who traded Gretzky and all.
That ’84 Oilers team was one of the most talented teams ever assembled. With Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, and Glenn Anderson along with coach Glen Sather they scored 446 goals that season, 86 more than the second-best scoring team, the Quebec Nordiques.
The New York Rangers perked up a few eyebrows on Sunday when they re-signed restricted free agent forward Derick Brassard to a five-year, $25 million deal.
While he was a great contributor to the Rangers’ Stanley Cup Final run last season on the third line, some have wondered if he’s worth that kind of pay out. That debate is there to be had, but the effect it has on the Rangers’ salary cap is what may have fans stressing out all season.
The Rangers have one more restricted free agent left to re-sign — defenseman John Moore. Larry Brooks of the New York Post said if he comes in at around $1 million, the Rangers could be looking at around $1.3 million in cap space. That would happen if Chris Mueller and Matt Hunwick start the season in the AHL. As it is right now, according to CapGeek.com, they have $1.33 million in cap space to get Moore signed.
Walking that kind of salary tightrope means GM Glen Sather will have to be shrewd with call-ups. It also puts some of the other signings this summer under the microscope. Tanner Glass’ three-year, $4.35 million deal with a $1.45 million cap hit stands out especially since he’s likely going to play the fourth line or not at all.
If there’s a bright side here it’s that the players battling for the final spots on the roster all come in with similar cap numbers.
Jesper Fast ($805K), J.T. Miller ($894,167), and Mueller ($600K) will battle up front while Mike Kostka ($650K) and Hunwick ($600K) will fight for the seventh defenseman job. That means coach Alain Vigneault can pick and choose out of this bunch without stressing too much about what it’ll do to the cap. Still, the Rangers are pushing the limit and not having that flexibility can cause problems if/when injuries arise.