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.
Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon is a big fan of his first-round pick, Aaron Ekblad. He’s a very big fan of his hands. Silky mitts, you guys. (Sun Sentinel)
Here’s a fun way to use fancy stats: David Clarkson was more effective than Wendel Clark. Chew on that, Maple Leafs fans. (The Score)
Chicago Blackhawks executive John McDonagh enjoys the team convention because it helps “humanize” the players. That’s pretty cool. (CSNChicago.com)
Congratulations to Rob Rossi as he moves from the Pittsburgh Penguins beat to role of lead columnist. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Buffalo Sabres prospect goalie Linus Ullmark is someone the team is high on. Also, he has Bowser from Super Mario Bros. on his mask. (Buffalo Hockey Beat)
Size and skill are what the Sabres have going for them up front. Maybe this rebuild will go just fine. (NHL.com)
Did you know Panthers prospects Rocco Grimaldi and Vincent Trocheck have been friends for a long time? (Sun Sentinel)
Finally, is this actually NHL referee Tim Peel on Twitter? There’s no way this ends well. (@TimTPeel)
If Dan Cleary thought he’d be able to get his No. 11 back from Daniel Alfredsson without any problem, he could be in for some disappointment.
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports Alfredsson will be keeping the jersey number but not because he’s fixated on it.
Instead, the new guy in Detroit will hang on to it for more… Business-like reasons.
Presumably, Winter Classic reasons mean banners, programs, as well as jerseys getting pumped out to the eager buying public. As for Alfredsson’s take on the number, he was more than prepared to give up 11 to Cleary, as James Gordon of the Ottawa Citizen shared, in favor of his Swedish Elite League No. 24.
So far in Red Wings camp Cleary has donned 71, a number made famous in Detroit by 2002 Stanley Cup Champion Jiri Slegr as well as Wendel Clark back in 1999.
David Clarkson is wearing No. 71 this season for Toronto.
That number is the reverse of Wendel Clark’s famous No. 17 that he wore, and made legendary, during his time with the Maple Leafs. One thing that won’t do is stop the comparisons being made between their styles of play.
As James Mirtle of The Globe And Mail shares, the comparisons are unfair to Clarkson. Even the man himself says Clark’s legacy is tough to live up to.
“I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t live up to what he has done. To me, [wearing his jersey] was a childhood thing,” Clarkson, who grew up in Toronto, said.
That’s the right thing to say and should be taken for what it’s worth. Then again, the first time he scores a goal on a scrum in front of the net and beats up an opponent for trying to stop him, the talk will return with a fury.
At least there are no Quebec Nordiques to trade him to in heartbreaking fashion later on. Not yet, anyhow.
(picture via @RealSports on Twitter)
Many fans in Toronto didn’t go crazy for the big contract the Maple Leafs signed David Clarkson to during yesterday’s first day of free agency. The Toronto Sun, however, couldn’t resist comparing Clarkson to Leafs legend Wendel Clark.
Check out the front page lauding of the signing and the comparisons made between Clarkson and Clark. Also soak in the handlebar mustache and mullet they slapped on Clarkson’s photo to make him look more Wendel-like.
Wendel Clarkson is a pretty great mash-up.
Clarkson’s game is aggressive and he’ll likely blend into Randy Carlyle’s system without a problem. Comparing him to a player that’s so beloved like Clark is, however, just heaps even more pressure on him to perform.
And you thought signing a monster contract would be the part that puts the most pressure to perform. The legend of Wendel is not to be messed with.
According to a report from Aftonbladet in Sweden, the Maple Leafs are going to honor one of their own in the best way they can. Pension Plan Puppets shares the translated story about how Toronto will honor the number of former captain Mats Sundin.
The Leafs don’t retire numbers, but they will honor the hell out of them and Sundin will be the 16th player honored by the team with the ceremony being held on February 11 before a game against the Canadiens. Sure is nice to do these things with your hated rival in town.
Sundin played for 13 seasons in Toronto and spent 11 of those as the team captain. He was always their best forward and their top scorer and a guy who goes down in Toronto as one of their modern legends in the company of Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark. Sundin will also be the second Swede recognized by the Leafs joining Borje Salming in that exclusive club.
Amazingly enough, Sundin wasn’t originally a Maple Leaf. Sundin was traded to Toronto in 1994 as part of a monster package deal that saw Wendel Clark head to Quebec, a trade that makes Leafs fans feel really awkward as it sent one hero out of town and brought another into the fold.
Must be nice to have a trade that works out pretty well as Sundin finished his career with 1,349 points and 564 goals and one really awkward season in Vancouver to end it all.