Brent Seabrook

PHT Morning Skate: Worst signings of decade; Preds’ goalie transition

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• The Capitals have had a solid month of December, but there’s still reason for them to worry. (RMNB)

• The Hurricanes have been an undisciplined hockey team over the last little while. (Cardiac Cane)

• Is Tampa’s goalie coach the reason for Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s struggles? (Raw Charge)

• The Rangers need to figure out a way to win more faceoffs. (New York Post)

• Check out the five best and worst free-agent signings the Penguins made over the past decade. (Pensburgh)

• The Buffalo Sabres could look to the minors for some help in goal. (Die by the Blade)

• Here are the 10 best moments for the St. Louis Blues over the last decade. Number one should be easy enough to figure out. (St. Louis Game-Time)

• How can Quinn Hughes actually win the Calder Trophy? (Canucks Army)

• The Hockey News breaks down the worst signings of the decade. (The Hockey News)

• With Alexis Lafreniere out with an injury, Caps first-rounder Connor McMichael is expected to get a bigger role on Team Canada at the World Juniors. (TSN)

• The Predators’ goalie transition is made simpler by the fact that Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros are friends. (NHL)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

NHL injury roundup: Bruins’ Krug, battered Blue Jackets

Bruins Krug
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Not everyone healed up enough during the holiday break. This post runs down some of the biggest injury bits, including the Boston Bruins placing Torey Krug on IR.

Krug and other Bruins injuries

The Bruins limped into the break with just two wins in their last 10 games (2-4-4). Losing Krug only makes matters worse, especially with Charlie McAvoy also banged up.

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said that Krug will be out through at least Dec. 31, while McAvoy is day-to-day. Boston will ask more of the likes of Zdeno Chara, starting with a home-and-home against Buffalo beginning on Friday.

Banged-up Blue Jackets

Columbus deserves serious credit for going on a hot streak (five straight wins, 6-0-2 in eight) considering mounting injuries. The Blue Jackets didn’t push into the East’s top eight, though, so they’ll need to persevere some more.

Cam Atkinson going to IR represents the toughest loss, but the sheer quantity mixes with such quality. The Blue Jackets expect Oliver Bjorkstrand to miss multiple weeks. Combine those two with Ryan Murray and Josh Anderson, along with smaller ailments, and the list becomes daunting.

John Tortorella deflected talk of injuries presenting such a challenge to the Blue Jackets, according to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline (sub required).

“It isn’t a challenge, it’s just the way pro sports are,” Tortorella said. “You have injuries, you plug a guy in and you go play.”

More injury updates and news

  • The Red Wings updated that Anthony Mantha will miss at least four weeks with an upper-body injury. Jeff Blashill indicated that the injury is to Mantha’s ribs. Jake Muzzin‘s hit on Mantha prompted concussion concerns, so this is a mix of good and bad news.

This list isn’t considered comprehensive. If you want even more injury details, check out Rotoworld’s injury report and player news updates.

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

Blackhawks moving on without Seabrook, de Haan

CHICAGO — Reality set in for Jonathan Toews when he got to the Chicago Blackhawks’ locker room Friday morning.

Brent Seabrook‘s stall was empty.

”Day 1, pretty much. He’s not around,” Toews said, ”and you notice it right away.”

Seabrook has been ruled out for the rest of the season after years of physical play finally caught up to the steady defenseman, who had right shoulder surgery on Friday. The 34-year-old Seabrook then will have surgery on his right hip in January and left hip in February.

The Blackhawks also will be without Calvin de Haan for the rest of the year. The 28-year-old defenseman had his own right shoulder surgery on Friday.

Seabrook and de Haan were placed on long-term injured reserve, creating significant salary-cap space, but leaving Chicago with a huge void on the back end.

”From the (coaching) perspective, we’re focused on the players we have and find a way to get it done,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. ”But of course those guys are really big parts of the group, both on and off the ice. A lot of leadership and solid, dependable-type players, which, of course, we’re going to miss.”

De Haan was acquired in a June trade with Carolina. He had surgery on the same shoulder last offseason.

Colliton said both defensemen are expected to be ready for training camp next year. But in the meantime, a run of injuries is making it more difficult for last-place Chicago (16-17-6) to work its way into the the playoff race.

Brandon Saad is expected to miss another three weeks after he hurt his right ankle during Chicago’s 4-1 victory at Winnipeg on Dec. 19. Fellow forwards Andrew Shaw and Drake Caggiula are on LTIR due to concussions, though Caggiula has been skating and could return soon. Rookie defenseman Adam Boqvist missed Friday night’s 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders because of a right shoulder injury.

”I don’t manage expectations,” Colliton said. ”We expect to win. We expect to compete, give ourselves a chance with how to we play.”

The 6-foot-3 Seabrook has been a key player and leader for Chicago for more than a decade. He has 103 goals and 361 assists in 1,114 games since his NHL debut in 2005, plus 20 goals and 39 assists in 123 playoff appearances.

He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

”Such a huge part of our room,” forward Patrick Kane said. ”So hopefully he gets his injuries fixed and comes back better than ever.”

Seabrook was a healthy scratch for the third time this season when Chicago lost 4-1 to Colorado on Dec. 18. The Blackhawks then announced the next day he was undergoing further medical evaluation.

Seabrook, who is under contract through the 2023-24 season at an average annual value of $6,875,000, missed a total of nine games over the previous six seasons.

”He’s battled through these injuries for a long time,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. ”Anybody else, they probably would have been missing a lot more time than that over the course of the last several seasons. It shows the kind of mentality and the type of person that he is.”

Keith and Seabrook have been connected since they entered the league together. Keith, a two-time Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenseman, said he has played his best hockey alongside his longtime pal.

”We sit beside each other in every locker room,” Keith said, ”so it’s different, you know, not having him on the bus and things like that. He’s definitely missed, but like I just said, nothing we can do about it now.”

PHT Morning Skate: World Juniors preview; Kurvers’ cancer fight

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• A preview of the 2020 World Junior Championship, which got under way Thursday in the Czech Republic. [Rotoworld]

• Examining which players at the World Juniors could be headed to the NHL come the June draft. [Sportsnet]

• An ankle injury puts Torey Krug on the IR. [Bruins]

Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan are done for the season, while Brandon Saad is gone for three weeks. What do the Blackhawks do now? [NBC Sports Chicago]

• How tragedy forged special bond between Dougie Hamilton and a grieving family. [Sportsnet]

• The Golden Knights are making their move up the Western Conference standings. [Yahoo]

• The Pacific Division race is one of the more interesting ones in the NHL. [TSN]

• How will Sidney Crosby‘s return affect the Penguins’ lineup? [Pensburgh]

• There have been plenty of ups and downs in the standings so far, but the Blues have been quite steady as they attempt to repeat. [Post-Dispatch]

• Wild assistant GM Tom Kurvers continues his fight with lung cancer. [Pioneer Press]

• Rangers netminder Alexandar Georgiev on going undrafted and his interest in photography. [Sports Techie]

• Great read on the Fort Wayne Komets’ Jermaine Loewen, the Jamaican-born forward who was adopted at age three and raised in Canada. [Journal Gazette]

• “Tabasco shots, wild commutes, fewer naps: Yes, faith and hockey can mix” [The Score]

• A look at which NHL players will likely be on the move before February’s trade deadline. [Yardbarker]

• Finally, Sweden’s Nils Hoglander loves to try “The Michigan” / “The Svech.” Here was his beautiful goal on Thursday vs. Finland:

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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.

Blackhawks’ Seabrook, de Haan out for the season

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The Blackhawks return from the Christmas break Friday against the Islanders and they’ll do so without three players.

On Thursday afternoon the team made a trio of long-term injury announcements. First, Brandon Saad will miss the next three weeks with an ankle injury. The two other injured Blackhawks, Calvin de Haan and Brent Seabrook, will be out for the remainder of the season. de Haan will undergo surgery on the same shoulder he had repaired one the summer. Seabrook will have surgery on his shoulder and both hips over the next two months.

“[Seabrook]’s had some medical challenges he’s been dealing with for a while and we wanted to finally go get some diagnostics,” Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman told the Daily Herald earlier this week.

Seabrook, who turns 35 in April, has struggled this season having been a healthy scratch three times. He has four more seasons on a contract that carries a $6.875 million cap hit. Both players have been placed on long-term injury reserve, which will give Bowman some help with their cap situation, especially if he wants to make a desperation move to salvage the season.

Through 38 games the Blackhawks are fifth in the NHL with a minus-20 goal differential and are seven points out of a wild card spot. These injuries won’t help any hopes of a turnaround. For Bowman, time is running out to make a decision on what he wants to do with a team that’s currently trending downward.

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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.