The lockout has turned Ryan Malone into a goalie

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With the lockout in effect and players taking part in their own practices, sometimes position changes will happen.

As Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune notes, notorious goal-crasher Ryan Malone is taking the opportunity to see how the other half lives by playing goalie.

“I don’t mind throwing the pads on once in a while,” said Malone, who did it for a practice in Ottawa in the past few seasons, swapping gear with then-goaltender Mike Smith. “And we don’t have another goalie, so it’s better than no goalie.”

The Lightning players don’t have another goalie because Anders Lindback is working out back home in Sweden. As for the lockout itself, Malone sounds as negative as many other players have lately preparing as if they might miss the season.

So how about a future in goal for Malone? Steven Stamkos says he thinks Malone, “could’ve played in the ’80s with that stand-up style.” He’s got that going for him at least, which is nice.

PHT Morning Skate: Plan to get Flyers on track; 15 impressive youngsters

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Here’s a plan to get the Philadelphia Flyers get back on track. (ESPN)

• Just because Dave Hakstol didn’t get good goaltending, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have been fired. (Broad Street Hockey)

• One month after Eugene Melnyk sued John Ruddy over the development of the LeBreton Flats development project, Ruddy is now countersuing for a $1 billion. What a mess. (Ottawa Citizen)

• NHL Seattle announced that KEXP will become the official music partner of the team. They’ll be in charge of in-arena music. (NHL Seattle)

• Even though they probably won’t admit, the Winnipeg Jets are playing like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. (Winnipeg Fress Press)

Jack Eichel is quietly putting together one of the greatest seasons in Buffalo Sabres history. (Buffalo Hockey Beat)

• Travis Yost breaks down how the Sabres have become one of the top penalty-killing teams in the NHL. (Buffalo News)

• Canucks prospect Olli Juolevi underwent successful knee surgery. He’s expected to miss the rest of the season, but he’ll be ready for training camp. (Canucks)

• ‘Canes defenseman Calvin de Haan knows a thing or two about beer. De Haan is part owner of a brewery back in his hometown. (The News & Observer)

• Wild defender Matt Dumba is expected to miss one week of action. (Pioneer Press)

• 1st Ohio Battery provides arguments for the Columbus Blue Jackets players that deserve to be in the All-Star game. (1st Ohio Battery)

Aleksander Barkov continues to do incredible things for the Florida Panthers. (Panther Parkway)

• The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to loan Henri Jokiharju to Team Finland for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship. (Second City Hockey)

• Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy talks outdoor hockey and skating on the Rideau canal. [Bruins Daily]

• Players that dominate the USHL tend to have great NHL careers (just ask Brock Boeser). (The Hockey News)

• Adam Gretz breaks down the 15 most impressive young players in the NHL this season. (YardBarker)

• NHL players reveal their favorite Christmas songs. Warning: Nathan MacKinnon may or may not disappoint you:

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

The Buzzer: Hart wins in debut, Bishop leaves, returns in shutout

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Three stars

1. Ben Bishop (and Anton Khudobin), Dallas Stars

Bishop and his backup edge Hart here due to the fact that Bishop got run over by Calgary Flames forward Garnet Hathaway, forcing him to leave the game in the second period with the Stars up 1-0.

Khudobin held down the fort while Bishop was getting checked out to close out the second period.

Bishop would only miss about six-and-a-half minutes as he led Dallas back onto the ice in the third and resumed where he left off. The duo combined for 24 saves for the shutout as Dallas won 2-0, making some history in the process.

2. Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers

Hart made history as he stepped onto the ice in his NHL debut, becoming the Flyers’ sixth goalie to appear in their first 35 games. That’s not a great record to hold, but he’ll be in the annals of hockey history for a while, I’d imagine.

History or not, Hart was solid in his inauguration. He turned aside 20 saves as he and newly-minted head coach Scott Gordon picked up their first wins at their respective positions.

Hart is facing a lot of pressure here. He’s dubbed as the future in Philly and for good reason. Some call the City of Brotherly Love a graveyard for goaltenders. Perhaps Hart can buck the trend. Who knows.

For now, he’s certainly earned another start.

3. Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks

An all-goalie lockout in the three stars tonight finishes with Jones.

The Sharks netminders earned his first shutout of the season, making 26 saves for career goose egg No. 20. Jones’ save percentage this season has left a bit more to be desired, so Tuesday’s effort was a good refresher for fans on what he’s capable of.

San Jose has now won five in a row as they continue their ascent to the top of the Pacific Division.

Other notable performances: 

Highlights of the night

As advertised, this is a nice goal:

Luuuuu:

Given how the Flyers crease situation has played out this season, Gritty may want to keep these goalies healthy:

Factoid

Scores

Panthers 5, Sabres 2

Maple Leafs 7, Devils 2

Rangers 3, Ducks 1

Flyers 3, Red Wings 2

Sharks 4, Wild 0

Blackhawks 2, Predators 1

Stars 2, Flames 0

Blues 4, Oilers 1

Islanders 3, Coyotes 1

Lightning 5, Canucks 2

Kings 4, Jets 1


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Tempers flare, penalty parade ensues between Lightning, Canucks

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Who knew the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vancouver Canucks harbored so much hate for one another?

Wherever it came from, the apparent bad blood between the two teams was certainly flowing at a steady pace on Tuesday night in Vancouver.

Things were going well until around the 12-minute mark of the second period. It was then that Antoine Roussel landed a big hit on Lightning star Yanni Gourde.

Gourde, not impressed with being turnbuckled, took exception and the two squared off. He got five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct. Roussel was assessed two for roughing and five for fighting.

From there, Canucks defenseman was forced out of the game after an apparent head shot from Lightning forward Danick Martel.

Martel was skating back through the neutral zone when he saw that Stecher had the puck near the boards. The hit looked innocuous at first, but replays showed that Martel seemed to extend his shoulder into Stecher’s head.

Stecher left the game and the Canucks said he wouldn’t return.

With tempers already boiling, things got completely out of hand with under a minute left in the period.

Lightning forward Cedric Paquette took a run at Canucks forward Elias Pettersson, a no-no, and all hell broke loose as the two lines on the ice brawled.

Paquette received two for roughing and five for fighting. Canucks d-man Ben Hutton, who can be seen below throwing bombs, also got a fighting major.

In total, 14 penalties were doled out, with those adding up to 48 minutes in the second period alone.

Quite the game, one that Tampa won 5-2 in the end.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Blackhawks put in complete performance in 2-1 win against Predators

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Nothing has really gone right for the Chicago Blackhawks as of late.

The firing of Joel Quenneville and hiring of Jeremy Colliton hasn’t done much to rekindle the club’s glory days.

They had actually won more games (six) under Quenneville than they have under the new guy (four) coming into Tuesday’s game.

Corey Crawford, perhaps their ray of hope if he could get it together between the pipes, suffered another concussion this week and is out indefinitely.

Even their mascot, Tommy Hawk, hasn’t been immune to the frustrations in the Windy City.

So Tuesday’s 2-1 win at home at United Center against the mighty Nashville Predators on NBCSN, however insignificant it ends up being at the end of the season, was a welcomed change.

If recent history is to be believed, the Blackhawks might have even been slight favorites heading into the game.

Nashville began the season a perfect 8-0-0 outside of Tennessee, but have now lost eight in a row (0-6-2) since. They’re also pretty banged up, so that helped, too.

Despite Nashville’s shortcomings on the road this as of late, it shouldn’t take away from Chicago’s performance.

They played a tight, offensive-minded game, outshooting the Predators 36-31, including 16-7 in the second period as they erased Nashville’s 1-0 lead and replaced it with a 2-1 advantage of their own.

Any hope of the Blackhawks not falling further from grace rests in the hands of Cam Ward at this point.

With Crawford out, Ward will be leaned on to provide the best netminding he can.

On Tuesday, he did just that, turning aside 30 shots. Ward was especially solid in the third, including the last two-and-a-half minutes of the third after the Preds pulled Pekka Rinne for the extra attacker.

Other things that went well: Chicago’s last-ranked power play was 1-for-3, producing five shots on goal. Their last-ranked penalty kill was 2-for-2, allowing just two shots on goal.

It all equates on some good stuff to build on. It’s been a while since Chicago produced an effort like that. The blueprint is there.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck