PHT Morning Skate: Where Pavel Kubina’s heart belongs to Tampa Bay

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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.

Pavel Kubina, now a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, says that the Tampa Bay Lightning belong to his heart. That’s just sweet, isn’t it? (Tampa Tribune)

Congrats to Ondrej Pavelec who set a career high for wins in a season after disposing of the Avalanche last night. This calls for some of Allan Walsh’s tweets about him being “Pavelectric.” (Winnipeg Sun)

Hal Gill was happy to not be the goat in his first game with the Predators thanks to a late penalty. (Tennessean)

Jonas Hiller and the Ducks’ defense are finally on the same page. And to think they did that under Bruce Boudreau. Why can’t the Caps find a coach…. Oh, right. (OC Register)

Slow down your Nikolai Khabibulin trade rumors everyone, he may have tweaked his groin against Vancouver last night. Or he was exhausted. Maybe he just needed a V-8? (Edmonton Journal)

Remember when the Devils traded for Neal Broten in 1995? George Bretherton at the New York Times says Glen Sather should keep that in mind while sniffing around at Rick Nash. (New York Times)

Joe Pavelski is worried for himself after taking a Nicklas Lidstrom slap shot in the head. (

Hockey Day in America: Two tiny Minnesota towns present best rivalry in high school hockey


Happy Hockey Day in America! Be sure to check out PHT throughout the day as we bring you features and previews of all the events, including a nine-hour NHL block of programming across NBC and NBC Sports Network.

People often call Minnesota the “State of Hockey.” If that’s true, one could say that the rivalry between Roseau and Warroad represents both its bleeding heart and its hockey-obsessed mind.

As this great little trailer shows, the two towns likely generated the best hockey success per capita of any in the United States. Want more proof? Just take a look at some of the simple numbers:

Warroad, MN
Population: 1,722
two indoor ice rinks
five state titles

Roseau, MN
Population: 2,879
three indoor ice rinks
seven state titles

The trailer provides some mind-numbing perspective on the ratio of population-to-NHL-players: if New York City generated pros at the same level, the city would produce 27,693 NHL players. (That’s enough for “41 National Hockey Leagues.”)

Perhaps it can be explained by the fact that the two towns are a mere stone’s throw from Canada, but their rivalry generates the kind of white-hot focus that earns them the designation of being hockey’s answer to “Friday Night Lights.”

Dustin Byfuglien is the most notable contemporary NHL player to emerge from Roseau, but he’s far from the only guy to make a big impact on the sport. Here’s a list of some of the NHL players from the slightly larger town:


Earl Anderson
Mike Baumgartner
Neal Broten
Aaron Broten
Paul Broten
Dustin Byfuglien
Bryan Erickson
Aaron Ness
Dale Smedsmo

Aside from Byfuglien, the Broten family stands out – particularly Neal. He was a significant contributor to the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team, scored 923 points in 1,099 NHL games and had his number retired by the Dallas Stars.

Meanwhile, T.J. Oshie is the most noteworthy modern Warroad product, but that town has its own historic heroes. Check out some of their most noteworthy NHL players:


Henry Boucha
Dave Christian
Al Hangleben
T.J. Oshie

Much like Roseau, Warroad has a “Miracle on Ice” connection in Christian, who also managed to score 773 points in his 1,009-game NHL career.


If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to experience the passion that Texans have for high school football or the hockey equivalent of Indiana’s obsession with basketball, look no further than those two small northern Minnesota towns. They’re small in size and population, but it’s clear that they have a Byfuglien-sized love for the game.

(Image courtesy