PHT Morning Skate: Unique pucks for Winter Classic; Caps’ Cup beer

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.

• There will be some unique pucks used during the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET, NBC) when the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium. The biscuits used during the game and other NHL “tentpole events” this season will feaure thermochromic coatings that will change from purple to clear to indicate the puck’s temperature is above freezing, telling the officials it should be replaced. [NHL.com]

• Pierre Dorion is in unique territory trying to sign two star players — Matt Duchene and Mark Stone — to eight-year extensions. [TSN]

• Would the Philadelphia Flyers take a run to bring Sergei Bobrovsky back to town? [NBC Philadelphia]

• A Baltimore brewery is coming out with the perfect beer in honor of the Washington Capitals. Fans will soon be able to enjoy some Cup Stand Pilsner. [RMNB]

• Which Pittsburgh Penguins defense pairings are working and which ones need to change? [Pensburgh]

• The time is right for more people of color to get the call from U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. [Color of Hockey]

• Has anyone not named Rantanen, Landeskog or MacKinnon picked up the pace in production this season for the Colorado Avalanche? [Mile High Hockey]

• Carter Hutton should be back in net for the Buffalo Sabres this week after missing Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]

• Apparently it’s not too early for headlines like this: “Pettersson building early case as greatest Canuck in team history” [Sportsnet]

• “This fragile style of play is a contagion infecting everyone on this team and needs to be cured immediately.   The first step of the cure has been accomplished:  identification of the problem.  Now for the hard part the treatment, is Coach Berube part of that cure?” [Bleedin’ Blue]

• Why the NHL Department of Player Safety needs some fixing. [TXHT Hockey]

• We’re in the midst of a pretty enjoyable NHL scoring boom. [Featurd]

• Josh Ho-Sang is back up with the New York Islanders, but Barry Trotz says he feels “zero pressure” to insert him into the lineup. [Islanders Insight]

• Things look bleak now, but with the way that Adam Boqvist is playing for the OHL’s London Knights there’s some hope down the line for the Chicago Blackhawks. [NBC Chicago]

• Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington is showing he’s here to stay in the NHL. [EP Rinkside]

• Finally, if you missed it over the weekend, one week after Eeli Tolvanen scored his first NHL goal for the Nashville Predators, his brother Atte became the 11th goalie in NCAA history to score:

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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.

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    Trocheck hasn’t missed a beat for Panthers

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    Vincent Trocheck wasn’t even supposed to be playing for the Florida Panthers this soon, let alone seemingly jumping right back to full-strength, as if his ankle was never fractured.

    Heading into Friday, the Panthers were on a seven-game losing streak, facing a weekend that sure looked like it would set the stage for one or two additional losses.

    Instead, the Panthers now have back-to-back wins, and they’ve done so against two legitimate NHL contenders.

    On Friday, the Panthers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Trocheck assisted on Mike Matheson‘s game-winning goal, posted highly impressive possession stats, three shots on goal, and seven (!) hits.

    That would have already been a highly impressive effort for a player coming off a pretty traumatic injury, but Trocheck was arguably even better during Saturday’s 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators.

    While his fancy stats were a little choppier, Trocheck showed up on the scoreboard even more, generating a goal and an assist. He looked awfully spry on that goal, by the way:

    That breakaway score ended up being the game-winner, actually.

    After generating three points in his two games back, Trocheck now has 17 points in 20 games this season.

    Now, the Panthers points as a team? They’re now at 46 points in 47 games played, leaving them at least 12 points behind the Penguins (who have 58 points, and could add more against the Golden Knights during a Saturday game that’s in progress). To put things mildly, the odds are stacked high against the Panthers for a credible push toward a berth in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    Then again, the odds were also against Trocheck returning as soon as mid-January, and he’s instead making a big impact for Florida.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Ref pushing Blues’ Barbashev gives us some comic relief

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    In these trying times, sometimes you just need to see a zany mishap where a hockey player loses a skate blade, and hilarity ensues.

    OK, that might be highly specific, but such bits of bad luck usually do provide some real comedy. Even by those standards, this was some good stuff, as Blues forward Ivan Barbashev got a boost from an on-ice official, and it was quite a boost down the ice.

    You can watch that moment in the video above this post’s headline, and likely have a nice chuckle.

    The Blues ended up beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Saturday, so Barbashev & Co. can share a bigger laugh after the game.

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    Speaking of comic relief and needing a push, enjoy the Zamboni from Saturday’s Oilers game:

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Bruins’ Rask helped off ice after huge collision

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    Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask needed help off of the ice – and took quite a while to leave the ice – after a frightening collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil.

    Moments after this post went up on Saturday, the Bruins provided an unsettling – if, sadly, not surprising – update that Rask suffered a concussion and will not return to the game.

    You can see the collision (and get an idea of how long it took Rask to leave the ice) in the video above this post’s headline.

    This is the Bruins’ final game before the All-Star break, and they won’t play again until they host the Winnipeg Jets in Boston on Jan. 29, so at least there isn’t much pressure for Rask to rush back to action too soon.

    Rask began the game tied with Tiny Thompson at 252 wins, the most in Bruins’ franchise history.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    Erik Karlsson misses Sharks game on Saturday

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    Considering how much Erik Karlsson has been heating up along with the San Jose Sharks lately, it would have been fun to see him skate against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that once tried to acquire him.

    That’s not happening on Saturday, as Karlsson was a late scratch for the game.

    The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports that Karlsson was “limping noticeably” and favoring his left side following the Sharks’ 6-3 loss to the Coyotes on Wednesday. Kurz also reports that Karlsson hasn’t participated in practice or pregame skates for about a week.

    Paul Gackle of the Mercury News points out that Karlsson was held out for most of the third period of Tuesday’s 5-2 win against the Penguins for “precautionary reasons,” yet Sharks coach Peter DeBoer indicated that the 28-year-old was expected to play on Saturday. Instead, Karlsson must have determined that he wasn’t good to go after skating a bit during warm-ups.

    Saturday’s game against the Lightning marks the second of a four-game road trip. The Sharks are set to play against the Panthers in Florida on Monday (Jan. 21) and the Capitals in Washington on Tuesday (Jan. 22), then they’ll be off for the All-Star break.

    Karlsson was one of the Sharks’ three selections to the 2019 NHL All-Star Game, but we’ll see if what seems like a lower-body injury ends up sidelining him from the event. Either way, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Swede miss at least one of the Sharks’ remaining two games before the break, considering that it’s a back-to-back set.

    Marc-Edouard Vlasic is also out with an injury, so the Sharks are limping – can Sharks limp? – a bit into that run of off time.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.