PHT Morning Skate: Hughes, Pettersson talks heat up; Maple Leafs extend Keefe

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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? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.

• Contract talks for Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson have progressed so much that it’s expected the deals will be announced Friday. [Sportsnet]

• The Maple Leafs and head coach Sheldon Keefe have worked out a two-year extension. [Toronto Star]

• Kirsten Welsh became the first female official in OHL history Thursday night during a game between Mississauga and Guelph. [Scouting the Refs]

• AHL teams are reportedly interested in signing Jalen Smereck days after he was the target of a racist gesture from an opponent in a Ukrainian Hockey League game. [TSN]

• “It takes serious guts to stand up for what you believe in and kudos to the players who have done so. It’s their body. But playing professional hockey is a privilege, not a right. And by choosing to go unvaccinated, players are blazing a very difficult path to future employment and acceptance in the hockey world.” [Daily Faceoff]

• Why the Bruins should feel confident in the goalie tandem of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark. [NBC Sports Boston]

• Could an extension for John Klingberg cost too much for the Stars? [The Hockey News]

Derick Brassard has brought needed depth down the middle for the Flyers. [Broad Street Hockey]

Alex Ovechkin‘s cereal, ‘Ovi O’s,’ has raised $44,008 for research into childhood cancer. [NBC Sports Washington]

• How Marco Rossi‘s presence on the Wild roster could help Kevin Fiala. [Zone Coverage]

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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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