PHT Morning Skate: Bylsma’s puck tossed to kid gets intercepted, but young fan doesn’t leave empty handed


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

During last night’s game in Pittsburgh, an adult intercepted a puck that Sabres coach Dan Bylsma tossed into the stands meant for a kid. After finding out, the Penguins gave that kid a puck and jersey. (Puck Daddy)

Scott Burnside wrote a great piece on Pekka Rinne at the start of what could be a big season for the 32-year-old netminder. (ESPN)

T.J. Oshie sat down with Frank Seravalli to talk about, among other things, his decision to dress up as one of the 101 Dalmatians for Halloween. Apparently it’s partially because Alex Ovechkin already took Batman. (TSN)

Bryan Murray’s work has helped him through his battle with terminal colon cancer. (NHL.com)

GM Lou Lamoriello is upbeat about the Maple Leafs, despite their 1-5-2 record. (ESPN)

Colton Parayko and Ovechkin have something in common:

Flyers return LaBarbera to AHL, opening door for Neuvirth’s return

AP Photo

It looks like Michal Neuvirth is ready to return from his upper-body injury.

Philadelphia has already taken the step of returning third-string goaltender Jason LaBarbera to the minors, per the Flyers’ Twitter feed. That leaves the squad with two goaltenders on its roster, including Neuvirth, who is eligible to be activated off of the injured reserve list ahead of tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils.

Neuvirth posted back-to-back shutouts on Oct. 12 and Oct. 14. He didn’t start again until Oct. 21 against Boston when he allowed two goals on 12 shots in the first period of the contest. He couldn’t come back out following the intermission though. He had been struck in the face by a stick during the first frame:

When asked over the weekend if he had suffered a concussion, Neuvirth told CSN Philly, “I’m not allowed to tell you anything.”

Blackhawks staying strong without Keith

Getty Images

If the mark of a great team is the ability to step up in the face of adversity, then the 2015-16 Chicago Blackhawks are making the case that a summer of significant changes hasn’t diminished them in some of the most important ways.

Losing Duncan Keith to a knee injury is about as big of a blow as Chicago could have endured, but the Blackhawks have a 3-0 record without him.

It helps that all of those contests have been at home though, giving Chicago the benefit of last change. Goaltender Corey Crawford also posted back-to-back shutouts on Saturday and Monday, which has been critical for the Blackhawks given that they were unable to score a single goal in the first 60 minutes of either game.

That being said, Chicago has still had to fill a substantial void as Keith was averaging a team-leading 24:21 minutes per game. Brent Seabrook logged more than 26 minutes in two of the Blackhawks’ last three contests, but rookie blueliners Trevor van Riemsdyk and Viktor Svedberg have also been asked to make a big jump.

van Riemsdyk went from averaging around 17 minutes to logging more than 21 minutes per contest while Svedberg has been on the ice for more than 19 minutes in each of his last two contests, beating his previous high of 16:54.

Keith is still expected to miss another three-to-five weeks though, so Chicago’s trial is still in the early stages. The next test will be to see how Chicago responds on the road against Winnipeg and Minnesota. Things don’t get any easier after that either as the Blackhawks will host Los Angeles on Monday and St. Louis on Wednesday.

Friisdahl takes over as MLSE CEO and president

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The lengthy process of finding a replacement for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president and CEO Tim Leiweke has come to a close.

MLSE has announced that Michael Friisdahl will assume the presidency and CEO positions in December.

Friisdahl is assuming this position after spending roughly three years as the president and CEO of Air Canada’s Leisure Group.

“As both an entrepreneur and a C-level executive in consumer-facing businesses at the Canadian and international level, Michael has shown an unwavering commitment to delivering for the customer,” MLSE Chairman Larry Tanenbaum said. “His focus will be on supporting our fans and our teams while maximizing the potential of MLSE’s iconic sports, entertainment and real estate assets.”

In addition to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Marlies, MLSE also has a number of other assets, including the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and MLS’ Toronto FC.

KHL club signs Voynov to three-year deal

The Daily Breeze via AP

Less than two months after Slava Voynov said that he would self-depart to Russia, it has been announced that his hockey career will continue in the KHL.

The 25-year-old defenseman has agreed to a three-year contract with SKA Saint Petersburg, per the team’s website. His KHL rights had belonged to Traktor Chelyabinsk, but as previously reported, they were expected to be transferred.

After Voynov announced that he was self-departing, the Los Angeles Kings released a statement saying that the franchise had already decided that he would no longer play for them after he entered a plea of no contest to domestic violence.

“Recently it became evident to us that our conclusion to this process would be to terminate Mr. Voynov’s Standard Player’s Contract,” the Kings said at the time. “However, Mr. Voynov’s announcement today (Sept. 16) of his intention to leave the United States and return to Russia makes the termination unnecessary.”

Voynov had a five-year, $25 million contract with Los Angeles that would have run through 2018-19. It was backloaded, with $19.25 million of it scheduled to be paid out from 2015-16 onward, according to General Fanager.

Related: Kings GM calls off-ice issues ‘eye opening’