PHT Morning Skate: More NHL teams hope to have fans in attendance

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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

• NBC Sports will premiere “Doc Emrick – The Voice of Hockey,” detailing the illustrious career of U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and eight-time Sports Emmy Award winner Mike Emrick on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC, leading into coverage of the NHL outdoor game at Lake Tahoe featuring the Bruins and Flyers. [NBC Sports]

NHL teams continue to navigate COVID, could more bring back fans?

• Add the Tampa Bay Lightning to the list of NHL teams hoping to gradually bring back fans. In the case of the Lightning and Amalie Arena, the estimate is to have about 3,800 fans in attendance. This is contingent on COVID rates, as the word is the Lightning (and NBA’s Raptors) are expected to wait until mid-March. [Tampa Bay Times]

• Also hoping to rank among NHL teams hosting fans at games: the Columbus Blue Jackets. Columbus Public Health approved the Blue Jackets to host about 1,953 fans in attendance at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets still need approval from the Ohio Department of Health, though. [The Columbus Dispatch]

• Another element of the John Chayka front office is gone from the Coyotes. The team terminated assistant GM Steve Sullivan’s contract, and they won’t fill that now-vacant position this season. [Coyotes]

• Amid COVID disruptions, other games keep going, and the NHL forges on. But with the number of postponed games climbing, should the league take a break to assess options? [Los Angeles Times]

Other hockey links

• Looking back at the stellar careers of Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux after they recently hung up their skates. [The Ice Garden]

Givani Smith of the Red Wings is happy to see more diversity in the NHL. [The Hockey News]

• During a trying season, some see Chris Kreider emerging as the Rangers’ “true” captain. [New York Post]

• Look, the Canadiens weren’t going to score at the rate they started at all season. But is it possible that Montreal has been getting away from its strengths, such as speed in transition, lately? [Habs Eyes on the Prize]

• It’s tough for people to see Tyler Toffoli dominate, and the Canucks struggle, and not point to free agent losses in explaining the Canucks’ problems. For Bo Horvat, it’s not about that. [TSN]

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