PHT Morning Skate: Some of the weirdest superstitions in hockey

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–Have you ever wondered what an expansion team’s odds of winning the Stanley Cup are? Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore. Westgate Superbook has the Vegas Golden Knights at 200-1 odds of winning Lord Stanley in 2018. That’s probably not a bet I’d take. (The Score)

–This Predators fan thought it would be a good idea to sneak a catfish into PPG Paints Arena. Unfortunately for him, after he threw it onto the ice, he was charged with disorderly conduct. In case you’re interested in such a thing, here are the 10 steps this fan took to get the catfish into the building. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

–The Preds played pretty well in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, but they still lost. The Hockey News looks at the reasons they shouldn’t be worried about how Game 1 went for them. “So there’s obviously reason for optimism after erasing a 3-0 lead and holding hockey’s top offensive team shotless for roughly two periods. There’s a strong case to be made Nashville was the superior team in Game 1.” (The Hockey News)

–Both Nashville and Pittsburgh are playing without key contributors (the Predators are without Ryan Johansen, while the Pens are without Kris Letang). So Sportsnet’s Luke Fox asks whether or not it’s time for the NHL to reconsider their 82-game regular season. (Sportsnet)

–Most NHL players are known for being superstitious, but some of the greatest players of all-time had some strange ones. Wayne Gretzky put his equipment on a very specific way every time he suited up, while Sidney Crosby refuses to talk to his mom or sister on game day. You can check out some of the strangest superstitions in hockey by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Peter Laviolette is coaching in the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in his career. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he’s done it with three different teams (Carolina, Philadelphia and Nashville). Some of his former players look back at what makes him such a good bench boss. Former Flyer Daniel Briere says: “He’s so good at making you believe that, for one game, you can beat anyone on any given night. There were many speeches he gave when I would leave the room with goosebumps all over my body. I wanted to go out and rip the hinges off the door to get on the ice. Even though I wasn’t a physical guy, his speeches made me want to play so hard.” (ESPN)

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

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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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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

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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.