PHT Morning Skate: Trebek almost Hockey Night in Canada host; 2020-21 NHL season info soon?

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit for the PHT Morning Skate? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

More information coming soon regarding 2020-21 NHL season?

• As early as Thursday, the next NHL Board of Governors meeting could provide some insight on how the 2020-21 season might look. Then again, there are so many possibilities flying around that it might instead be closer to a menu of educated guesses. Either way, this provides a nice breakdown of some of those possibilities. [The Ottawa Sun]

• In the article above, there’s discussion of different dates flying around for the start of the 2020-21 NHL season. There’s mention of how some talk revolves around January (late or early), and even February. February isn’t ideal, though, for a number of reasons. Elliotte Friedman recently discussed as much; in particular, will there be an appetite to wait with the NBA ambitiously aiming for Dec. 22 as their start date? It all hammers home the point that the 2020-21 NHL season start date is ultimately a moving target. [Sportsnet]

Other hockey links

• How Alex Trebek almost became the host of “Hockey Night in Canada.” [The Hockey News/SI]

• Look, it’s true that a lot of the bigger moves in 2020 NHL Free Agency either already happened, or may not happen for a while. But, in case you needed a reminder, the Lightning, Islanders, and other teams still have some work to do before the 2020-21 NHL season begins. [Rotoworld]

• Not totally sure how handing Matt Murray a four-year deal with a $6.25 million cap hit is exactly “low-risk.” OK, he’s 26, so there’s that. Still, the Senators actually took a pretty bold swing by investing so heavily in Murray: a) after he’s struggled mightily (both to stay on the ice, and to stop pucks) in recent seasons and b) when the goalie market was as robust as it’s been in ages. Sure, this could end up working out for the Senators, as Travis Yost details in part in this story. But I’m not exactly sure a budget-conscious team like the Senators spending this kind of money and term on Murray is anything but a rather significant gamble. [TSN]

•  Remarkable story on how Flyers prospect Carsen Twarynski gains motivation from 14-year-old fan Mason Hicks, who survived an accidental house fire when Hicks was two years old. [NBC Sports Philadelphia]

•  Fun stuff on Ryan Donato‘s NHL upbringing thanks to his dad, Ted. The shot with young Ryan and a then-younger Joe Thornton is glorious. Remember when people called Thornton “Big Bird?” (Or did I hallucinate that one about “Jumbo Joe?”) [NBC Sports Bay Area]

• On paper, the Predators gambled by selecting a goalie so high in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft. Picking Yaroslav Askarov 11th overall is looking more and more promising considering recent results, though. [A to Z Nashville]

• The Rangers’ path is clear: they’re going with the “kids,” from Alexis Lafreniere to Kaapo Kakko. [Blueshirt Banter]

• When it comes to the 2021 NHL Draft, the Seattle Kraken must “read and react.” [NHL to Seattle]

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.

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    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.