PHT Morning Skate: How the Capitals can repeat next season

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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.

• For the first time in his NHL career, Cam Ward is playing somewhere other than Carolina. He’s still trying to get used to being in Chicago, but he’s already enjoying his time there. (Daily Herald)

Cody Ceci is looking for $6 million ahead of his arbitration hearing, while the Senators are countering at $3.35 million. (Silver Seven Sens)

• The Boston Bruins should have looked at trying to move David Krejci‘s contract this summer. (98.5 The Sports Hub)

• TSN’s Travis Yost breaks down the reasons why he feels Brock Boeser will be a huge part of the Vancouver Canucks organization going forward. (TSN.ca)

• Jarome Iginla made sure to put in a lot of time and effort in his journey to becoming an incredible NHLer. As his close friends confirmed, he always stayed grounded, even when he became extremely successful. (Flames Nation)

• Even though most of the big moves have already been made this summer, there’s a chance that the Carolina Hurricanes can make a move that has a huge effect on the NHL power structure. (The Hockey News)

Brandon Montour benefitted when the Ducks benched Kevin Bieksa because it allowed the youngster to skate on a pairing with Cam Fowler. (Anaheim Calling)

• Now that Trevor Linden is no longer with the Canucks, the organization’s future is in the hands of team owner Francesco Aquilini and coach Jim Benning. (Featurd)

Shea Theodore talked about the stability that playing for Vegas gave him and what it was like to play in the Stanley Cup Final. He also touched on the chances of the NHL heading to Seattle. (NHL to Seattle)

• There’s a few specific things the Capitals will have to do if they want to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. First, they’ll have to keep playing flawless hockey in the neutral zone. Secondly, they’ll need Alex Ovechkin to keep being their lead guy, and they need new head coach Todd Reirden to fit in perfectly in his role. (NovaCapsfans.com)

• Not having Shea Weber in the lineup is going to be a major issue for the Montreal Canadiens. There’s just no way for them to fill that hole. (The Hockey Writers)

• Sabres prospect Casey Mittelstadt has shown that he’s fully capable of coming away with the Calder Trophy next season. (Buffalo Hockey Central)

• Jeopardy! could be looking for a new host in 2020 if Alex Trebek decides not to sign an extension. Trebek has already suggested that Kings play-by-play voice Alex Faust could replace him on Jeopardy! down the road. (Fox Sports)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

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

austonmatthews
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

caufield surgery
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

matty beniers
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.