Morning Skate: Panthers housing emergency crews for Hurricane Irma


Morning Skate: Panthers housing emergency crews for Hurricane Irma

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping that everybody in Florida, and elsewhere in the in its path, is safe and impacted as minimally as possible by Hurricane Irma today. 


*Speaking of Hurricane Irma, the home of the Florida Panthers is now housing emergency workers and out-of-town clean-up crews at the BB&T Center as the state braces for whatever might be hitting them with the tropical storm. 


*Everybody loves a feel-good story where a player overcomes the odds, and Tucker Poolman might be doing just that with the Winnipeg Jets. 


*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Andrew Ference is continuing to map out his career post-playing days, and the former Bruins Stanley Cup champ is actually doing to be doing some TV reporting for Sportsnet up in Canada. I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with as I’m sure he’ll tackle it with a really fresh, curious approach.  


*In a move that makes a great deal of sense, the Pittsburgh Penguins are hoping that puck-moving D-man Kris Letang isn’t going to take any unnecessary risks this season that could put him in the pathway for big hits. 


*The best way to kick off a success hockey season at the youth levels, according to Hockey USA: Have a parents’ orientation meeting. That makes good sense to me. 


*Old friend and retired NHL D-man Ryan Whitney is an opinionated, fun staple with the NHL Network these days, and he’s bullish on Charlie McAvoy’s chances to have a massive impact season with the Bruins as a rookie defenseman. 


*For something completely different: Here is Tyrion Lannister himself with his five favorite films of all time. 

Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Krug steps up as Bruins stars go down

The Bruins have managed to take three of a possible six points since Zdeno Chara went down in the third period of last week's comeback win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and they've done it completely without their top pairing since Charlie McAvoy has also been out all this time.

There are a number of factors behind the ability to withstand the injuries, of course, and the entire defense corps was stellar at both ends in the shutout win over Tampa Bay last weekend.


But it's Torey Krug who's really stepped up his game. He had three assists and 15 shots on net in those three games, and was immense in the win over the Lightning.

Krug has surpassed the 50-point plateau for the second straight season, a major accomplishment for a defenseman who prides himself on his puck-moving and power-play work.

"You know, he has [stepped up]," coach Bruce Cassidy said of Krug, adding: "Torey is always going to get his numbers, but he's really added to it 5-on-5 . . . [It] was comforting to see that [without Chara and McAvoy] we shut out one of the best teams [in the NHL], at home, that was rested. You've got to take something out of that. It was one of 82 [games], but that was a real positive for our guys."

For Krug, the challenge of stepping up and being a leader in the team's time of need is the kind of thing he takes pride in responding to with an elevated level of play.

"I'm in the business of winning hockey games and helping my team win," said Krug. "It falls on my shoulders to produce some offense from the back end. And [when] we're missing a couple of guys from the back end that do that push the pace, then you've got to step up and make some plays. When you play with a lot of great players then you'll get your points, and you just need to worry about the defensive zone first.

"We're confident in everybody in this room. A lot of people think that the guys on our back end can't get the job done, so for us to step up [is a good thing]."


The biggest sign of Krug's increased responsibility? He topped 26 minutes of ice time in two of the three games since Chara was injured. Only once before, when he was on the ice for 27-plus minutes against the Rangers in early November, has he played more than that.

The loss of Chara and McAvoy has forced Krug to go above and beyond his normal range of duties and he's stepped up and embraced it. That's what good players on good teams do, and it's something Krug has consistently done in the big moments since arriving in Boston five years ago.


Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

File Photo

Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.


"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.

We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."

The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.

Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).

Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:

Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.