PHT Morning Skate: Everything you need to know about the Blue Jackets’ cannon


–Toronto Star columnist Damien Cox believes the Maple Leafs should give Auston Matthews the “C” as soon as next season.  “At 19, he is the team’s best player, and this in many ways is already his team. Matthews has demonstrated impressively that he can handle the “white noise” that comes with playing in Toronto, the fact that every home in the city contains an armchair coach and the media scrutinizes the club as closely as any NHL club in North America,” explained Cox. (Toronto Star)

–Speaking of Matthews, USA Today stacks up his numbers against some of the best rookies in NHL history. He’s currently on pace to score 46 goals, which would rank him sixth all-time in that category among first-year players in league history. “There has never been any doubts about him, but I think now people are seeing what we have been seeing for a long time with him,” Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly said. “He’s a dominant first-line center.” (USA Today)

–The World Junior Hockey Championship is usually seen as a tournament that is dominated by 19-year-old players, but that isn’t always true. BarDown looks at the top five moments from 2017 draft eligible players. Hint: You can expect to see Switzerland’s Nico Hischier on the list. (BarDown)

–The Buffalo Sabres stunned the New York Rangers at MSG last night. You can watch the highlights of that game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

 –Ray Castoldi is the organist for the Knicks and Rangers, and he’s thrilled because Madison Square Garden has added a theater organ to replace their old simple keyboard. “There’s an organ tradition here in New York. It’s one of the places where it started in the days before you had recorded music available,” said Castoldi. (New York Times)

–Has the World Junior Hockey Championship lost its luster? One unnamed scout told The Hockey News that the event has become one of the most overrated tournaments out there. “This tournament is so overrated,” the scout said. “Some of our guys have been asking me, ‘Are the games always this bad?’ And I’m telling them, ‘Yeah, most of them are.’” (The Hockey News)

–If you’re not a fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets, you probably don’t like the cannon that goes off at Nationwide Arena every time the home team scores. But for local fans, it’s become part of the fabric in Columbus. Sportsnet caught up with Cannon Crew member Dave Gauthier to find out a little bit more about the loud tradition developing in Columbus: