PHT Morning Skate: Tavares on best-on-best hockey; Michigan’s expectations

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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.

• Maple Leafs captain John Tavares on why hockey needs a best-on-best tournament: “It’s important for our game, especially considering this next generation of players we have now. With Papi [Auston Matthews], Mitchy [Marner], [Leon] Draisaitl, Connor [McDavid], [Cale] Makar, this is kinda the next wave of guys. And obviously we still have so many great players — and Sid and Ovie lead the way as two the best of all time — that are getting later in their careers. I think when you have best-on-best hockey, you get all those players together. It’s really special. We don’t really get that. Getting to play for your country, we know how rare that is.” [Sportsnet]

• Off to the Frozen Four with a lineup full of future NHL talent, the expectations are sky high for the Michigan Wolverines. [SI.com]

• The Flames will be without Sean Monahan as the forward needs surgery to repair the labrum in his right hip. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September. [NHL.com]

• Tuukka Rask on why he ultimately made the decision to retire: “It couldn’t hold the everyday grind — practicing and playing. That’s what I found out pretty quickly. I felt really good during the rehab. I was skating, started twice a week, going three times a week, four times a week and it was fine. But I was by myself or with the coach with one guy shooting so it’s a little different from live action in a game or practice. And then playing that Anaheim game, I kind of stretched and tweaked my groin and hip a little bit and it just kept aggravating even more. And then it was kind of time to be honest with yourself.” [NBC Sports Boston]

• What does the playoff picture look like right now for the Golden Knights? [Sin Bin Vegas]

• Don’t let the dinosaurs convince you otherwise. The NHL needs more players like Trevor Zegras. [The Hockey News]

• A look at Darnell Nurse and examining how good he is as part of the Oilers’ defense. [Oilers Nation]

• Could Alex Goligoski‘s extension in Minnesota mean Bill Guerin has some plans for his blue line? [Zone Coverage]

• Was the Tomas Tatar signing a bad one by the Devils? [All About the Jersey]

Erik Haula, Brandon Saad, and Jake DeBrusk will help your fantasy hockey teams this week. [NBC Sports Edge]

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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.