PHT’s Morning Skate: That Pekka Rinne guy is really good

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.

Pekka Rinne had a big night in Nashville last night. Not only did he earn his 100th victory, but he did so in record breaking fashion. (Section 303)

Francois Beauchemin may end up hearing from the league offices, but he insists that his hit on Mike Fisher was a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit (OC Register)

The Blues have been one of the most schizophrenic teams over the first month of the season. Maybe if their top scorers starting acting like it, they’d be able to put together a little consistency (Post-Dispatch)

Looks like Maple Leafs’ head coach Ron Wilson is content pumping the tires of his own team nowadays. After Toronto’s win against the Penguins, he said Dion Phaneuf is the best defenseman in the league. The word you’re looking for is “hyperbole.” (The Hockey News)

We all know that Sidney Crosby is going to come back at some point this season. But when he comes back, just how good will he be for the Penguins? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Could Ken Hitchcock be back behind the Blue Jackets bench? Could Craig Button be their new GM? Yes and yes—and it all could be done by Monday. (Puck-Rakers)

Newsflash: the Philly media can be tough; and they love going to a guy who is a great quote. Now we hear the goalie coach say that Ilya Bryzgalov needs to ignore the off-ice stuff and focus on his game. Sounds like this could be a theme for the next nine years. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Remember when the Montreal Canadiens were the worst team in the Eastern Conference? Oh how things can change in only a few short days. (Hockey Inside/Out)

Yes, the NBA should have learned from the NHL when hockey lost the entire 2004-05 season. But while basketball is dealing with their own labor problems this fall, the NHL should take a look and learn a lesson from the NBA. (Tampa Tribune)

Visors. Need to be mandatory. You may have heard this before. (Buffalo News)

Same crap, different day for the Bruins. A nicer way to say that is the Bruins season has been like Groundhog’s Day. (CSN New England)

The Islanders played one of their best games of the season on Saturday night, only to have a questionable call help seal their fate in overtime. Frustrating was the word most used. (Islanders Official)

We’ve been tough on Roberto Luongo lately. But on the day after he only gave up 4 goals for a 7-4 win, we thought we’d take the opportunity for a little tire pumping. Watch and enjoy Canucks fans:

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    Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

    Ilya Mikheyev
    Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

    Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

    Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

    Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

    austonmatthews
    Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
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    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

    caufield surgery
    David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
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    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

    matty beniers
    Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.