PHT Morning Skate: Fleury covers Niskanen’s name on the back of his mask

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Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Niskanen were teammates in Pittsburgh for a couple of years, but whatever relationship they have/had has officially been put on hold. Fleury, who has the names of some of his current and former teammates on the back of his mask, taped over Niskanen’s name. If you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, Niskanen knocked Sidney Crosby out of Game 3 with a cross-check to the head. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

Brendan Smith moved from Detroit to New York at the trade deadline, and he’s liked his experience in his new city. Smith is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but it sounds like he’s willing to stick around the “Big Apple”. (New York Daily News)

–New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman is a huge fan of the New Jersey Devils, and he recently reached out to Ray Shero after the Devils won the draft lottery. “Listen, the way all sports are, you’re up, then you’re forced down over time. We’re over here with the Yankees going through our rebound, we hope and we think. We’re on a good trajectory and I think the Devils are, too.” (NJ.com)

–The Washington Capitals are on the verge of being eliminated from the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs after last night’s 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Caps came back to tie the game after trailing 2-0, but it simply wasn’t meant to be. You can check out the highlights from that game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–This could be a huge off-season for the Carolina Hurricanes. The ‘Canes have plenty of draft picks and a lot of cap space, so it’s the perfect time to use that to acquire a big-name player or two this summer. “Pieces need to come in, in order to close that gap. The reality is, if we think guys from Charlotte are going to come in and close that gap? It’s not happening, in my opinion as the coach.” (Charlotte Observer)

–Now that the draft lottery has come and gone, Sean McIndoe looks at five games that could have changed the outcome of the 2017 lottery. For example, on Jan. 15, the Canucks lost an OT decision to the Devils. A win in that game would have moved Vancouver ahead of New Jersey in the final standings. That would have resulted in Vancouver getting the top pick in the draft. (The Hockey News)

–Even though his goal in last night’s game was a little fluky, Jake Guentzel‘s post-season run has been pretty remarkable: