Los Angeles Kings

This will be a milestone night for several Flyers


Tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a night to remember for several members of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek, who both joined the Flyers in the summer of 2011 as part of the Mike Richards and Jeff Carter trades respectively, will each reach the 500-game milestone.

“Oh yeah, I knew it was coming,” Simmonds told CSN Philly. “That’s a big milestone. Well, in my eyes, anyway. In my mind, that’s a lot of games.”

Voracek is just 25 years old and Simmonds turned 26 in August, so it’s not hard to picture both of them playing in another 500 contests, especially given how they’ve performed this season. Voracek has 17 goals and a league-leading 58 points while Simmonds has 18 goals and 31 points in 50 contests.

If goaltender Steve Mason starts as anticipated, it will also be his 100th game with Philadelphia. He struggled for years in Columbus after an impressive debut season, but has a 2.43 GAA and .921 save percentage over his tenure with the Flyers.

Philadelphia is going for its fourth straight win tonight while Toronto is trying to end its losing streak at eight games.

Report: Rob Blake would be Brendan Shanahan’s first choice to replace Dave Nonis


In a perfect world, Brendan Shanahan would get permission from the L.A. Kings and hire Rob Blake as the next general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

According to hockey insider Bob McKenzie, Mark Hunter, who was hired as the Leafs’ Director of Player Personnel earlier this season, is another rumored replacement for Dave Nonis.

However, if possible, Shanahan would like Blake to be the guy. McKenzie was on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto Friday afternoon and had this to say on the matter:

There’s always been speculation about the future of Nonis and whether he’s Shanahan’s guy and what he’s going to do here.

When Mark Hunter got hired, I think there was a widespread presumption that he could be a general manager in waiting if and when Brendan Shanahan makes a move to terminate or put Dave Nonis out to pasture – whatever the case may be.

I’ve also heard, over the course of time, that Brendan Shanahan’s first choice, if he were to hire a general manager other than Dave Nonis, would be Rob Blake, who worked with Shanahan at player safety and now of course works for the Los Angeles Kings under the Dean Lombardi regime.

I personally don’t think Rob Blake has any interest in leaving Southern California. He’s a surfer, he likes working with the Kings, and as much as he one day maybe wants to be a general manager, I’d be absolutely shocked if he wanted to do it in Toronto.

For now, Nonis remains the general manager of the club, which is in the middle of an eight-game losing streak. According to reports, Nonis was in Manchester, NH Friday night scouting Kings’ property Mike Richards. Nonis will likely be the general manager till the end of the season, but it appears his days are numbered.

After ‘terrible’ loss to Sharks, ‘tired’ Ducks right back at it vs. Chicago


The Anaheim Ducks had their six-game winning streak unceremoniously snapped on Thursday in a loss to San Jose, and the 6-3 score made the game sound closer than it was. Anaheim allowed five goals in 14 minutes during a forgettable second period, then tacked on a cosmetic tally with less than 90 seconds remaining in the third.

Tonight, the Ducks try to make amends in the second of a back-to-back… against the high-octane Blackhawks.

“We’re tired,” d-man Ben Lovejoy explained, per NHL.com. “We’re coming off a terrible game. We need to go out and play one of the smartest games of the year.”

Though it’s amusing to hear complaints of fatigue five days after the All-Star break, the Ducks have been pretty busy. They played Tuesday in Vancouver, Thursday in San Jose and tonight in Anaheim; next week, they’ll begin an eastern road swing that sees them play five games in eight nights.

One would think the ‘Hawks have the Ducks right where they want them, but Chicago isn’t playing great right now either.

With just five wins from 11 games this month, the ‘Hawks sit third in the Central Division, but just two points up on Winnipeg, who holds the first of two Wild Card spots in the Western Conference. Yesterday, head coach Joel Quenneville lamented missed opportunities to gain ground on Nashville and St. Louis, who currently occupy the No. 1 and 2 spots in the division.

“We left some points on the table this month and we have to learn from it, knowing these are hard points to come by,” Quenneville explained. “You put yourself in that position where you’re doing the right things for 50 or 55 minutes and you come up with air; that’s tough.”

A perfect example of points left on the table was Wednesday’s 4-3 loss in L.A. The ‘Hawks held a 3-2 lead with less than seven minutes remaining, but left Staples with nothing after Tyler Toffoli and Jake Muzzin scored late to steal a win. It was Chicago’s sixth regulation loss of the month; failing to get any of those games into overtime and escaping with a “loser point” could come back to haunt in terms of playoff positioning later in the year.

Welcome John Moore to the trade rumor mill


Rangers blueliner John Moore has never really lived up to the hype of being the 21st overall pick — and ninth overall defenseman — taken at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Traded once already as part of the Marian Gaborik-to-Columbus deal, Moore could now be on the move again before the Mar. 2 trade deadline, per the New York Post:

This return to the lineup [Moore dressed for Thursday’s loss to Montreal] may well have marked the beginning of a showcase for Moore, who is in line for a summer Group II salary arbitration award that assuredly will be way beyond the Blueshirts’ liking and is thus all but certain to dealt, either early in the offseason or before the upcoming March 2 trade deadline.

If he is dealt sooner rather than later, the Rangers could use him as a chip for a veteran rental property to team with Kevin Klein (or, alternately, Dan Boyle) on the third pair to bulk up a blue line in need of it.

Moore was a lineup fixture last season but, this year, appears to have lost some of the trust of bench boss Alain Vigneault. Moore’s been a healthy scratch on numerous occasions this season and dueling with Matt Hunwick for the No. 6 d-man position, but there could be potential intrigue for other teams: Moore only turned 24 three months ago and has over 200 games of NHL experience, with an additional 21 of postseason experience during New York’s run to last year’s Stanley Cup Final.

PHT Morning Skate: Mike Bossy thinks the Isles can win the Cup


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: