Drew Ference

PHT Morning Skate: Hockey fans celebrate National Dog Day

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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.

It’s looking more and more like Eric Staal and Cam Ward will enter the Carolina Hurricanes’ training camp without new contracts. (News & Observer)

Armed with a tryout contract, Tom Sestito hopes to earn a job with the Pittsburgh Penguins out of training camp so that he can “deter a guy from taking a run at the 90,000 stars on the team.” (Penguins.nhl.com)

The ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors have changed their name to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Their new logo features a rabbit who is wielding a mix between a hockey stick and carrot. (Greenville Online)

The Edmonton Oilers might be a significantly different team with a new bench boss, substantially changed front office, and a new hope in Connor McDavid, but one thing Andrew Ference doesn’t expect to change is his position as the team’s captain. (Edmonton Journal)

Ryan Johansen threw out the first pitch for Cincinnati on Monday and that event gave him a chance to talk with the Reds players about the differences and similarities between the two sports. (Bluejackets.nhl.com)

Finally, it was National Dog Day on Wednesday and that involved a lot of hockey-themed pictures. Here are some of the highlights:

PHT Morning Skate: Canucks skate back to uniform nostalgia, too

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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.

Honestly, NHL Twitter accounts doing a #NHLMovieNight was a little annoying at times on Thursday as people watched “D2: The Mighty Ducks,” but it did prompt an adorable dog moment that should brighten your day:

Speaking of nostalgia for things from the 90’s, the Vancouver Canucks will embrace one of their most popular old duds, at least for one night:

Check out the letter Andrew Ference sent out after he was snubbed by Central Scouting. It still took him until the eighth round (208th overall in 1997) to get drafted, though.

Ranking all 30 NHL teams by their off-season moves. (Sportsnet)

Why Mike Green could fit in really well with the Detroit Red Wings. (Eye on Hockey)

The Nashville Predators continue to tweak their brand. (Predators)

PHT Morning Skate: Yep, Patrick Sharp’s Stanley Cup photos with his kids are adorable

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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.

OK, so this is actually field hockey related, but still pretty wild stuff about Cuban players defecting. (AFP)

Continuing with the theme of “peripherally about hockey but mostly about another sport” reads, check out this fascinating story about AVM, the company that in many ways spearheaded baseball’s stats movement. Hey, there’s at least a mention of Corsi. (Grantland)

The oral history of Lou Lamoriello’s New Jersey Devils’ days is absolutely worth a read. (The Hockey News)

Twenty-one things to note from Steve Moore’s Smashfest IV, which happened this past weekend. (Sportsnet)

A profile of Gilles “Bad News” Bilodeau. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Is it time for the Edmonton Oilers to find a new captain as Andrew Ference fades from relevance? (Oilers Nation)

ESPN’s Scott Burnside is the latest to take a stab at the “who missed the playoffs last season but will make it in 2015-16?” question. (ESPN)

Get this, these photos of Patrick Sharp, his children and the Stanley Cup are awfully cute. Shocking, right?

B’s among five or six teams in on Franson, who’s ‘sick of doing one-year deals’

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One of the biggest fish left in free agency says more than a few lines have been cast his way.

Cody Franson, the 27-year-old UFA defenseman that’s still yet to sign, says he’s been speaking with five or six teams about possibly signing — a group that includes the Boston Bruins.

“With the trade they made with [Dougie] Hamilton and some of the other stuff they’ve done, they’re one of the teams that we’re in talks with,” Franson told TSN 1040 Vancouver on Tuesday. “Boston would be an interesting spot. It’s obviously an awesome city, and they’ve got a great organization and all those things that come with it.”

It’s not surprising Boston’s in the mix. The club’s blueline has been badly depleted since going to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013 — gone from that team are Hamilton, Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ference and Matt Bartkowski. That’s left the B’s in a rather precarious spot; if the season started today, Boston’s top-four would be comprised of Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid.

Zach Trotman, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow and Matt Irwin would (presumably) be battling for spots Nos. 5 and 6.

Franson’s also a good fit to replace Hamilton. Both are rangy, right-hand shots with offensive upside… thing is, it might not work financially. The Bruins have just under $5 million in available cap space, and it sounds like Franson is looking for a deal with a fair amount of money — and something more long-term.

“Obviously, I’d like to get something a little more than one year,” he said. “I’m sick of doing one-year deals.”

Per an earlier report from PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban, it’s believed Pittsburgh and Buffalo are also interested in Franson.

Oilers get Sekera for six years, closing in on Letestu

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For all the talent they boast up front, and after acquiring Cam Talbot to try and shore up the goaltending, the Edmonton Oilers still needed to address their defense.

They started to do that today by signing veteran blue-liner Andrej Sekera to a long-term deal:

Sekera, 29, split last season between Carolina and Los Angeles. He was traded to the Kings in February, but couldn’t help the then-defending champions into the playoffs.

The Oilers’ defense will continue to change. Nikita Nikitin and Andrew Ference won’t be around much longer, while young Darnell Nurse will be brought into the fold.

Edmonton is also reportedly close to signing center Mark Letestu.