PHT Morning Skate: Babcock speaks on firing; Bruins’ offensive woes

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.

• Mike Babcock speaks about his firing from the Maple Leafs and incidents involving Mitch Marner and Johan Franzen. [The Athletic ($$)]

• The NHL handed out a trio of fines on Monday. Elias Pettersson, Greg Pateryn, and Nicolas Aube-Kubel are all a little lighter in the wallet due to various discretions.

• Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger was hoping Aube-Kubel would be suspended for his hit on Rasmus Dahlin. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]

• On the relationship between the NHL and Hockey Diversity Alliance: “Behind the scenes, though, the two sides’ relationship was closer to crumbling than continuing. According to multiple HDA sources, players were irked that they didn’t learn about the existence of this ‘first-of-its-kind’ partnership until the previous day, when an NHL executive sought approval to use the group’s name in the release. HDA sources say the group asked to review the text’s wording, but the league refused. Requests for program details, such as how much funding the NHL planned to contribute, were also rebuffed, they say.” [Sports Illustrated]

• The NHL postponed Tuesday’s Hurricanes-Predators game “out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts.” [PHT]

• It’s not just David Pastrnak‘s absence that’s currently hurting the Bruins’ offense. [NBC Sports Boston]

• Why it’s time to bump Joel Eriksson Ek to the Wild’s top line. [Zone Coverage]

• John Leonard of the Sharks is one NHL rookie impressing early on. [Rotoworld]

• What changes could be store for the Panthers after this season? [Spector’s Hockey]

• How much will the North Division help Canadian teams with travel this season? They will fly one-third fewer miles this season than usual. [TSN]

• Who will challenge Alex Ovechkin for the Rocket Richard this season? [JDF Sports]

• How the Maple Leafs’ top line is playing off one another. [Sportsnet]

• Could small changes vault the Canucks’ blue line to No. 1 in the North Division? [Canucks Army]

• A look at the biggest stories in the sports collectibles world in 2020. [Puck Junk]

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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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