Micheal Haley

PHT Morning Skate: Value of the two-way forward; Blues’ mission

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.

• Great read on the value of the two-way forward in today’s NHL. [Sports Illustrated]

• The St. Louis Blues’ mission this season is to prove last year was no fluke. [Post-Dispatch]

Jason Spezza was disappointed after being a healthy scratch for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ home opener. He’s expected to get into the lineup Friday. [Toronto Star]

• The top line of the Calgary Flames can give even more this season. [Calgary Herald]

• How the Dallas Stars will handle being Stanley Cup contenders this season. [Dallas Morning News]

Pheonix Copley hits the waiver wire as Ilya Samsonov wins the backup goalie job for the Washington Capitals. [RMNB]

• Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson on his name being in trade rumors: “What’s the saying? Don’t believe everything you hear and half of what you read.” [Pittsburgh Hockey Now]

• The door is open for Barrett Hayton to shine with the Arizona Coyotes. [Five for Howling]

• Why the New York Rangers signed Micheal Haley to a contract. [Blue Seat Blogs]

• One more terrible year would be good for the Ottawa Senators. [TSN]

Ryan Miller talks about why he came back for another season with the Anaheim Ducks. [OC Register]

• Five reasons for optimism with the Chicago Blackhawks. [NBC Chicago]

• David L. Steward, minority owner of Blues, has vowed to promote diversity in hockey, saying he wants to ‘replicate’ what he’s done in NASCAR. [NHL.com]

• From bobble legs figures to Kachina fanny packs to a “Predators Gravy Boat,” here’s look at some of the top game-night giveaways this season. [Puck Junk]

• On Victor Olofsson and his road to a spot in the Buffalo Sabres’ lineup. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]

• There will be lots of heavy lifting for the Los Angeles Kings’ core four to turn things around. [LA Times]

• Finally, the Evander KaneRyan Reaves feud continues:

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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.

Devils sign Cam Janssen to two-way contract

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Whether he’s at the NHL or AHL level for most of next season, Cam Janssen will fight a lot in 2013-14. The New Jersey Devils helped to make that possible by signing him to a one-year, two-way contract on Monday, according to the Bergen Record.

Janssen’s deal is worth the league minimum ($550K) at the NHL level. He played in just four games for New Jersey this past season and surprisingly only drew one minor penalty. Don’t worry about him “going soft” or anything, though; he fought nine times in the AHL, by Hockey Fights’ count.

“I’m really excited to be back,” Janssen said. “I love that organization. I got a chance to play some hockey in Albany, which at the beginning was kind of scary. Getting sent down was a little tough mentally on you because of the fact I hadn’t been down in the minors in a long time.

“Once I got down there and got some minutes and played, it was great.”

The 29-year-old pugilist has spent parts of four seasons with the Devils. Some of his most memorable fights have come against the Devils’ local rivals.

One of those moments included this game-opening line brawl against the New York Rangers in March 2012:

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New York Islanders fans shouldn’t feel left out, as this fight with Micheal Haley can attest:

Kreider recalled by Rangers

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The New York Rangers have recalled forward Chris Kreider from AHL Connecticut.

Based on what coach John Tortorealla said recently, the decision to bring Kreider back up again won’t have been made lightly.

“We don’t want to keep on knee jerking him back and forth, we want to make sure if we do (call him up), we feel he’s ready to play,” Tortorella said.

Kreider, 21, has already played 11 games for the Rangers this season, scoring once and adding an assist. But like many young players, he’s struggled with consistency at the NHL level.

To make room for Kreider — who, by the way, has been lighting it up for the Whale — forward Micheal Haley has been sent down to the farm.

Winners of two straight, the Rangers host Florida Thursday.

PHT Morning Skate: Where the Caps get the Ricky Bobby treatment

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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.

CSNWashington’s Joe Beninati comes up with the only appropriate character to describe the Caps’ funk right now. If you ain’t first, you’re last, Alex Ovechkin. Shake and bake! (CSNWashington.com)

Kings forward Simon Gagne may have had his inevitable season-interrupting injury last night against Phoenix. (L.A. Kings Insider)

Make it seven losses in a row for the Minnesota Wild. Uh oh… (Russo’s Rants)

Eric Lindros continues to say all the right things about putting his rocky past with the Flyers behind him. (Philly.com)

Tyler Bozak’s turnaround season has the Leafs pleasantly surprised. (TSN)

Coyotes goalie Mike Smith is on IR. Welcome back to the show Curtis McElhinney. (Sportsnet)

It’s looking like Philly native Patti LaBelle will sing the National Anthem at the Winter Classic. (Delaware County Daily Times)

New Jersey’s Ryan Carter might be getting a short vacation thanks to his hit on Jaroslav Spacek. (Fire & Ice)

Finally, check out this fight four seconds into last night’s Rangers-Isles game between Stu Bickel and Micheal Haley. Haley got kicked out for instigating and left Bickel really feeling it. (YouTube)

Islanders ask MSG not to show February brawlfest for Friday watch party

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It turns out the Islanders can do the smart thing after all.

Plans to hold a team-sponsored watch party this Friday for the re-airing of the Islanders’ 9-3 win over the Penguins from February 11th that saw 342 penalty minutes handed out have been changed. The party is still on, however the Islanders are asking their broadcast partner, MSG Network, to change which game they’re showing.

A statement from the Isles makes their point for them.

“The New York Islanders have requested that MSG Networks change the originally scheduled game to be viewed at the Friday, Aug. 19 meetup.  As a part of MSG Plus’ Summer Ice programming, the schedule had the Islanders game from Friday, Feb. 11 against the Pittsburgh Penguins set to air at 7 p.m.  Instead MSG Plus will air the Islanders 7-6 overtime victory on Sunday, Feb. 13 over the Buffalo Sabres.”

This decision comes on the heels of NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly saying that he didn’t approve of the game being used in this light.

PHT pointed out that their original plans to celebrate the February 11 game seemed to be crass given what happened throughout that game and the bloodbath that erupted throughout it as well as the fact the Islanders organization was fined $100,000 for their actions as well. Islanders fans have more than let their feelings be known about how they feel about our opinion on things and we’re happy to see the passion of the Islanders fans still exists.

There’s nothing wrong with having pride in your team, something which Islanders fans seem to think was our point in questioning their plans to show this game and throw a party over it. Celebrate your wins, celebrate that game if you’d like to, that’s fine. Our issue came with the team, not the fans, supporting it in such a public way. Fans can and will do whatever they want to and that’s their beautiful right as an American (or Canadian). Teams and organizations are held to a higher standard, however.

When a team decides to celebrate a game like this that saw the NHL find enough negligence going on that they fined the organization, that’s wrong and that’s been our contention from the get-go. Teams have to have the stiff upper lip in the public’s eyes and given the Penguins’ ill feelings over the game and the NHL’s reaction to the Islanders, erring on the side of caution would’ve been the right move.

We get that Isles fans hate every bit of this and think we’re jerks. That’s fine. Embrace your renegade side and rage against “the man.” While the game was important for the Islanders to rally as a fan base it didn’t do much for the team as a rallying point as they went 11-10-6 after that 9-3 win.

The Islanders are a team on the rise and while Trevor Gillies’ presence  on their roster is always going to provide a lightning rod for controversy given his role in that February 11 game, we’re hoping that the fans will have more to rally around with their young and rising talent like John Tavares, Matt Moulson, Michael Grabner and others rather than with the likes of Gillies and Micheal Haley.