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.
Wojtek Wolsk, who now plays for Torpedo Nizhny Novgoro in the KHL, showed off his soft hands during the shooutout in a recent game against HC Dynamo Moscow.
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
NHL Winter Classic: Setting up rinks a shared passion for father and son (The Washington Post)
Kings’ defenseman Alec Martinez admits contract talks are in the back of his mind (L.A. Kings Insider)
Did the Devils contact Adam Oates without permission? NHL and Capitals consider case closed (The Bergen Record)
Sharks’ Nieto set for return after missing 9 games (CSN Bay Area)
Travis Green and Mike Stothers named coaches for AHL All-Star Classic (The AHL)
Curtis Lazar and Connor McDavid: Junior hockey’s odd couple (Toronto Star)
What can the NHL do to get more fans? (The Hockey News)
Canadian gold-medal Olympic men’s hockey team named CP Team of the Year (The Canadian Press)
There’s good news for top prospect Connor McDavid and Team Canada as camp gets set to open in Toronto this week.
The 17-year-old has his cast off and will be participating in on-ice activities as Canada’s team selection camp for the upcoming world junior championship begins.
However, McDavid has not been cleared for contact as of yet.
“We’re going to talk with Connor tomorrow and obviously it’s great news for us to have him on the ice to skate,” coach Benoit Groulx told The Canadian Press Wednesday. “We’re going to discuss with him how he feels and he’s going to be monitored by the doctor.
“Obviously it’s going to be a day-to-day evaluation. We’ll start from there and see how it goes.”
McDavid, who is expected to be one of the top two selections at next June’s NHL Draft, has not played since Nov. 12 when he broke his right hand during a fight.
The Ontario native had 16 goals and 51 points in 18 games with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League at the time of his injury.
There’s plenty of buzz coming from Canada’s world junior selection camp after Tampa Bay rookie Brett Connolly took out Florda Panthers prospect Quinton Howden during an intra-squad scrimmage.
(Watch the hit here.)
Howden was crushed along the boards midway through the second period of Monday night’s game and struggled to leave the ice. He went to the dressing room and did not return — Hockey Canada later said Howden has an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated today.
“It’s a tough play,” Connolly said. “I’m just trying to finish my check and he’s kind of in a vulnerable position. I mean, if I was to go back maybe I would have held up a little bit, but I’m just trying to be intense and finish my checks and obviously I feel bad now. Hopefully he’s not hurt too bad, but definitely could have held up a little bit.”
The hit has come under fire from pundits.
“I didn’t like the hit at all,” said TSN’s Ray Ferraro. “I thought it was a hit that didn’t belong in a scrimmage at all. In particular, a hit on an opponent that’s going to be a teammate of yours in a couple of days.”
Ferraro’s TSN cohort, Bob McKenzie, echoed those sentiments.
“I thought it was an unnecessary hit as well,” he said. “More importantly, it would be a hit that if you were in the World Junior Championship quite likely would’ve resulted in a five-minute major.”
Connolly was loaned to Canada’s junior team after posting 4G-4A-8pTS in 28 games with the Lightning this season. Howden, taken 25th overall by Florida at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has 29 points in 20 games for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors.