PHT Morning Skate: Barkov the hidden gem; Schwartz closer to return

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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.

• The Nashville Predators threw some love the Tennessee Titans way Wednesday night ahead of this weekend’s playoff game against the New England Patriots. [Predators]

• If you missed it yesterday, the San Jose Sharks/City of Winnipeg controversy saw GM Doug Wilson weigh in about his disappointment with the team’s broadcast partner. [Mercury News]

Aleksander Barkov needs a bigger spotlight on him so people can see just how good of a player he is. [National Post]

• Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi on taking a puck to the back of the neck: “Very scary moment. It was definitely a weird feeling. Just kind of hurt everywhere. My arm was numb. Not sure if there was any damage. It was just a wait and see. But I got really lucky.” [Tampa Bay Times]

• The St. Louis Blues are close to getting Jaden Schwartz back in the lineup. [Post-Dispatch]

• What’s been killing the Edmonton Oilers? A lot of things, especially their weakness on the wings. [TSN]

• Praise to Bruce Cassidy and the job he’s done behind the Boston Bruins’ bench. [NBC Boston]

David Backes is healthy and playing his best hockey again a month after surgery to remove part of his colon. [NHL.com]

• What would Sweden’s Olympic roster look like NHL players? [Bruins Daily]

• Could Anthony Duclair help your hockey team? [Sportsnet]

• What’s gone wrong for Matt Duchene in Ottawa? [Spector’s Hockey]

• Referee Wes McCauley talks about some of his calls that have gone viral. [Yahoo]

• How does one Minnesota high school combat decreasing attendance at its hockey games? By charging $100 to livestream games. [Star Tribune]

• Finally, here’s Brenden Dillon of the San Jose Sharks assisting a Harlem Globetrotter’s trick shot:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR_kMlrlsFc%5D

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.