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.
Carolina’s Jeff Skinner has nine goals in his last nine games. You might say he’s in the zone. (News & Observer)
Editor’s Note: Pro Football Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Friday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter has some fascinating ideas for what to do with the penalty box. Wonder what he’d say about this after Dustin Brown’s kneeing incident against San Jose. (L.A. Kings Insider)
Need something to lift you up today? Check out one Red Wings fan’s story about how hockey saved her life. (manhandles)
Kudos to Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen for winning his 100th game with the Stars. (Stars)
The Blackhawks called up Jason LaBarbera from the AHL. Fare thee well, Kent Simpson. (Blackhawks)
Dylan McIlrath’s time with the Rangers is at an end for now, he and Arron Asham were sent down while J.T. Miller was recalled. (Blueshirts United)
Finally, Buffalo’s Ville Leino drew a tripping call on Boston’s Milan Lucic during the Sabres’ 4-2 win over the Bruins. He… May have embellished a bit. (Josh Gold-Smith)
Four veteran NHLers were placed on waivers on Thursday.
New Jersey goalie Johan Hedberg — bumped out of the picture after the Devils acquired Cory Schneider at the draft — Edmonton’s Eric Belanger and New York Rangers forwards Arron Asham and Darroll Powe were given notice as teams continue to try and shed salary/cap hits prior to the start of free agency.
Hedberg, 40, has one year remaining on a two-year, $2.8 million deal signed with the Devils on 2012. He has a full no-trade clause, but there was some thought he’d waive it in order to join a new club.
That didn’t materialize, so — assuming Hedberg will go unclaimed and be bought out — he’ll get paid $933,333 over the course of the next two years.
Belanger, 35, is heading into the final year of a three-year, $5.25 million deal signed in 2011. The veteran center had a forgettable 2013 in Edmonton, scoring just three points in 26 games, and his buyout will save the Oilers $1.75 million in cap space.
Asham and Powe were placed on regular waivers — not unconditional — meaning they’re not in line for compliance buyouts. The Rangers had already used one on Wade Redden and will probably hold the other to decide the future of Brad Richards next summer.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins used up tonight’s quota of Game 7 dramatics. Not that the New York Rangers mind.
Arron Asham gave them a one-goal lead in the first period and they steadily added to it throughout this game. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 35 Capitals shots to earn his second straight shutout.
Here are a few notes about the Rangers’ dominating 5-0 win:
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- Alex Ovechkin wasn’t able to score in this contest, but he tried to contribute in other ways. He had a game-high 13 hits, but of course, that’s not what his team needed the most from him tonight.
- With back-to-back shutouts, Lundqvist has now earned eight in his postseason career. That puts him in a five-way tie for 13th place on the NHL’s all-time list.
- Four different Rangers players scored their first goal of the playoffs tonight. No one on the Rangers has more than two goals in the playoffs, but they have gotten goals from 11 different guys.
- The Rangers failed to convert on their two power-play opportunities in Game 7. Obviously, that didn’t change the outcome of this game, but the Rangers are dead last with the man advantage among the teams that have advanced to the second round.
- Rick Nash is still searching for his first goal of the 2013 playoffs, but he did register an assist tonight. At the age of 28, he has also won his first postseason series.
The Rangers head into this afternoon’s must-win Game 6 against Washington with one of their high-priced, big talent players starting on the fourth line.
According to the line rushes in warmups before the game, center Brad Richards is slated on the fourth line with Chris Kreider (filling in for the injured Ryane Clowe) and Arron Asham. In the first five games of the series Richards has one goal and no assists and he along with Rick Nash have been major disappointments.
Curiously enough, however, Richards’ history in elimination games is strong. In 13 career games where his team could be knocked out he has seven goals. A goal or two today would go a long way towards extending the Rangers season. That said, another no-show game might fire up rumors about a possible amnesty buyout this summer once again.
Defenseman Marc Staal returned for Game 3 of the New York Rangers’ first-round series against the Washington Capitals on Monday after missing roughly two months due to a scary eye injury.
The Rangers have moved him back on the sidelines though after he logged 17:17 minutes in his return. He wasn’t statistically noteworthy in the Rangers’ 4-3 victory, but he did have an impact in that contest.
“It’s huge. He makes the D-core calm,” Rangers forward Derek Stepan said after Monday’s game. “He’s got a presence about him that he can just control a game. He did a great job tonight.”
It’s not clear why Staal isn’t playing, but he did admit on Monday that his “eye was kind of acting up” last week, according to the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti.
The good news for New York Rangers’ fans is Ryane Clowe will return from an undisclosed injury. He’s projected to play with Derek Dorsett and Arron Asham in his 2013 playoffs debut.