PHT Morning Skate: Five questions the Rangers need to answer this offseason

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–Assuming they’re able to sign Ben Bishop, the Dallas Stars will have three NHL goalies on their roster. How are they going to get out of the jam? Sportsnet’s Steve Dangle provides some options, including trading the third overall pick and Antti Niemi to Vegas for the sixth overall pick. That’s an interesting theory. (Sportsnet)

–The New York Rangers were eliminated by the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night, which means there are plenty of questions for them to answer heading into the off-season. Newsday looks at five things the Rangers need to address this over the summer. Arguably the most important thing is for them to address their aging defense. (Newsday)

–Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored a hat-trick in Game 6 of their second-round series against Anaheim, which led fans to throw a ton of hats on the ice. What did the team do with all that headwear? They donated them to local shelters. “It’s quite amazing how our supporters and Edmontonians alike helped to push these hats to the inner city for people who need them mos. It’s more than just a hat. It’s about providing protection from the sun. Summer is right around the corner. We definitely use them to hand out to our participants.” (NHL.com)

–The Pittsburgh Penguins got off to a slow start in Game 7 against the Washington Capitals, but that didn’t stop them from scoring first and winning the game by a score of 2-0. You can check out the highlights from last night’s game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Before last night’s game, you can understand why the Ducks would hate Game 7s. But The Hockey News looks at five teams that hated do-or-die games as much as Anaheim did.  To no ones surprise, the Washington Capitals made the list. (The Hockey News)

–As we know, the Red Wings are saying goodbye to Joe Louis Arena, but they gave their fans one last chance to bid farewell to the arena. The team invited fans to paint the ice. That’s pretty cool. (BarDown)

–NBC hockey analysts Keith Jones and Mike Milbury discuss Alex Ovechkin‘s performance in Game 7 against Pittsburgh and what Barry Trotz’s post-game comments about the Russian sniper might mean. Is it time for a change in Washington? (NBC Sports)

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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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

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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

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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

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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.