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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Seattle general manager Ron Francis comes under heavy criticism for his handling of the Carolina Hurricanes player abuse situation. [Seattle Times]
• Former Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen opens up about his time playing for Mike Babcock, telling a Swedish newspaper outlet that Babcock is the worst person he has ever met. [Detroit Free Press]
When you have a night a special as the one Laine experienced, you get your own section.
On a night of hat tricks, Laine refused to settle for a mere three goals, nearly managing a double-hatty. Ultimately, he finished with a ridiculous five goals on five shots. If anyone can do that, it’s Laine.
This isn’t just a one-night outburst for Laine, either. By the three-goal mark, he had reached at least a hat trick for the seventh time in his young career … and the third during the month of November.
In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s been a very long time since someone managed a hat trick of hat tricks during a single month.
#NHLJets Patrik Laine is the first player with 3 Hat Tricks in a calendar month since Alex Kovalev in February 2001
Laine, 20, won’t turn 21 until April 19. That’s relevant to note because, while he’s unlikely to match this Wayne Gretzky mark, it’s also true that it was already unlikely that he’d generate three hat tricks in a single month.
Laine lands in Gretzky-rarified-air more than once. Sportsnet’s stats staff also notes that he’s the first 20-year-old to collect five goals since Gretzky managed that mark twice. Again, it would be asking a lot for the winger to match that mark by number 99, yet he also has the rest of the season to do so (Winnipeg’s last regular-season game comes on April 6, almost two weeks before his 21st birthday).
PHT’s Scott Billeck did a great job of recapping Laine’s red-hot ways:
So to recap on Patrik Laine (Take 3): – 15 goals in November – Three hat tricks in November – Two hat tricks this week' – First five-goal game since 2001 – 11 goals in his past four games – 19 goals on the season (1st in the NHL)#NHLJets
Thanks to this ridiculous night, Laine now has 19 goals in 2018-19, giving him the NHL lead. Interestingly, Saturday left him at 99 career regular-season goals. It should be fascinating to see Laine try to climb this list, too.
Patrik Laine, who will celebrate his 21st birthday on April 19, 2019, now sits one goal shy of 100 in his NHL career (177 GP).
Let’s give Laine’s partners-in-crime a little love, too.
Both Connor and Little collected four assists during Laine’s five-goal night. If you have to choose one of the two, Connor would probably get quite a bit more credit for driving play, as he finished the night with four shots on goal to go with his four assists (Little had one SOG).
Many joked about how Laine’s going to get paid on his next contract. The way things going, Connor might not be too cheap, either.
Heading into Saturday, this 24-year-old Leafs forward had two goals over his entire, young NHL career. Johnsson generated a hat trick in a single period on Saturday, and actually hit that mark with about seven minutes remaining in the opening frame.
Would Johnsson have generated even more offense if the Flyers ever got on the board in this one? Maybe, but he still enjoyed one of the night’s great performances.
(Garret Sparks‘ 34-save shutout likely kept Toronto from going too over the top.)
Laine isn’t the only youngster playing beyond his years.
Elias Pettersson is the eighth player since 1984-85 to score 13+ goals through 20 career games:@_EPettersson (13) Evgeni Malkin (13) Alex Ovechkin (15) Teemu Selanne (16) Eric Lindros (15) Rob Gaudreau (14) Dimitri Kvartalnov (14) Joe Sakic (13)#NHLStatspic.twitter.com/7UlZeMGWBs
Red Wings’ forward Johan Franzen hasn’t played since suffering a concussion on Jan. 6, but remains hopeful he’ll be ready for Detroit’s season opener on Oct. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The 35-year-old took part in an informal skate at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday with fellow teammates, but has yet to participate in any kind of contact drills.
“It feels good so far; it’s probably too early to tell until I start playing games,” Franzen told MLive.com. “I’m going at it hard – a little bit too much, actually – just to see that I can take it.”
Franzen suffered his latest concussion on a hit from Edmonton’s Rob Klinkhammer. The concussion limited Franzen to just 33 games last season where he scored seven goals and 15 assists.
Despite the concussion troubles, the Swede has not considered retirement.
“I haven’t been there yet, really, in my thoughts,” Franzen said. “It’s been so many tough years here the last 2-3 years with injuries; I just want to have a good year. I want to decide on my own when I quit. I’m excited to try to get back and have a good year.
“Being where I was mid-season, not being able to get out of bed, it really makes you appreciate being able to do what we do.”
According to Ansar Khan, Franzen suffered his latest setback last week, but continues his rigorous workouts.
“It’s four hours of working out, going on the ice, going biking, going full out, it kind of triggers (symptoms),” Franzen said. “I don’t know if it’s smart or not, but I do that. I think if I can do that, I can get through a game, or 82 games, hopefully.
“The way I work out then is going to be different than it is now. It’s going to be shorter, more explosive. A game is going to be different and I think it’s going to be easier. You’re going to get bumped a lot and there’s the mental stuff, too, but physically it’s going to be easier than what I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.”
Franzen has five years remaining on his current 11-year, $43.5 million deal.
The Detroit Red Wings are hoping to have veteran Johan Franzen in the lineup this season.
Franzen has not played since suffering his latest concussion on Jan. 6. The 35-year-old appeared in 33 games last season scoring seven goals and 15 assists.
Wings’ GM Ken Holland has been in contact with the Swede over the summer and is hoping Franzen is cleared for contact next month.
“My expectations and hopes are he’s going to be cleared when he takes his physical at camp,” Holland told MLive.com. “Ultimately, it’s in the hands of Dr. Kutcher.”
“Johan told me he’s gotten better over the course of the summer. He’s pushed himself hard to test it. So far, so good.”
As Ansar Khan notes, even if Franzen is cleared at camp, how he handles contact drills and preseason games will go a long way to determining whether he’ll suit up for his 11th NHL season.
“Obviously, there’s a history of concussions. I can’t read the future,” said Holland. “I expect he’ll take his physical and pass it and resume his career. As he skates and trains every day, if he has no setbacks — I don’t know why he would — I’m expecting his body is going to tell him.”
Franzen trained hard towards the end of the season for a return in the playoffs, but admitted in May that he suffered a setback.