Morning Skate: Khudobin confesses love for Nickelback


Morning Skate: Khudobin confesses love for Nickelback

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping Gronk got the cheap shots out of his system this weekend. 


*In case you missed it yesterday, Anton Khudobin wrapped up an optional practice in Nashville by speaking up to his love and appreciation for the band, Nickelback. The best part was that he seemed to think Nickelback referred to just the name of the one guy singing rather than a group. 


*It must be nice to be Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz, who has bought the most expensive Los Angeles house in the history of the city.


*I must say, I don’t understand where this criticism for HNIC commentator Cassie Campbell is coming from in terms of Hockey News columnist Ken Campbell. She needs to recuse herself from Flames games because her husband is the assistant GM. Perhaps if there was blatant favoritism or some obvious sign she wasn’t telling it straight when it comes to the Flames, but I’ve never found that to be the case with Cassie. Covering the NHL isn’t covering the White House even as we all take what we do with all proper seriousness from an ethical perspective. This all feels really unnecessary to me with somebody that’s very good at what they do.   


*The New York Rangers had a skate in Central Park to get ready for their outdoor game, and some players actually took the New York City subway in their hockey gear to get to the practice site.  


*The Blackhawks are stuck in neutral without an identity after another loss, and it looks like a sad repeat of last season for a team that’s clearly missing something. 


*The city of Seattle is working to upgrade and renovate Key Arena, and it sounds like behind the scenes there are wheels in motion for the NHL to possibly choose them as an expansion team in the coming months. Seattle is absolutely the most logical next choice for NHL expansion if the arena questions can be answered. 


*For something completely different: Cool interview with George Harrison’s son about his love for all things Star Wars, and a few interesting stories about his dad as well. 

Morning Skate: Want any cheese with that whine, Isles?


Morning Skate: Want any cheese with that whine, Isles?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while trying to figure out when exactly I’m going to be able to go see the new Star Wars movie.

*The New York Islanders were crying in their beer over the fact that Brad Marchand side-stepped a suspension and claimed it was because John Tavares didn’t writhe around, kick and scream on the ice like a soccer player. The truth is the play wasn’t the kind of thing that’s going to injure a player under normal circumstances but was clearly a late, uncalled for hit. That’s why it got the five-minute major penalty and nothing more. Threatening to give an award-winning acting performance next time in order to try and get a suspension for an opposing player just sounds like crybaby soup from the Isles. Buckle the chin strap and get ready to play a contact sport next time, particularly if you’re Tavares, who was hacking at Charlie McAvoy’s legs with your stick like you’re Paul Bunyan chopping at a piece of wood. It works both ways, you know?

*The Winnipeg Jets continue to be one of the excellent, unsung stories of the NHL’s first half as they really take hold at the top of the Western Conference.

*Here’s a good piece on Jonathan Quick and what his good health has meant to a resurgent Los Angeles Kings team this season.

*Former Boston College standout goalie Thatcher Demko is way ahead of schedule in the Vancouver Canucks organization, but they’re not looking to rush him.

*Here’s a great video of a youngster playing the Star-Spangled Banner on the violin prior to a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. Well done, young lady!

*Pro Hockey Talk as the details of the Ducks and Red Wings getting into a fight on Monday night ahead of the Bruins traveling to Hockeytown for a Wednesday night showdown.

*For something completely different: A list of the 10 actors who could replace Ben Affleck as Batman now that DC has given up the charade that they’re not intending to replace him underneath the cowl.


Spooner travels with Bruins but questionable for Detroit


Spooner travels with Bruins but questionable for Detroit

BRIGHTON, Mass – Ryan Spooner has practiced in each of the past two days, but his status is still in question for the back-to-back Bruins games against the Red Wings and Capitals over the next couple of days.

Spooner has missed the past couple of games with a lower-body injury after playing in the previous five contests following a month-long layoff with a groin injury. The current injury is believed to be similar in nature to the original groin problem and that’s the reason the Bruins are treating it cautiously as they approach Wednesday night’s game in Detroit.


“He’s practicing fully with the team, and the long and short of it is that he’s still day-to-day. We’ll decide [on Wednesday] but we just want to keep moving forward with him,” said Bruce Cassidy, who also mentioned that Kevan Miller was missing from practice to be with his wife for the birth of their child. “We’ve had a couple of stops and starts with him, so we’re going to manage it to the best of our ability so we’re moving forward [in his recovery]. He’ll travel with the team, and if we decide that he’s in the lineup [vs. the Red Wings] then Donnie [Sweeney] and I will talk about how that’s going to affect our roster.”

Spooner has played 10 games this season, with a goal and four points in the intermittent action. It’s too bad as Spooner has been pretty good when healthy and has played with speed and a higher level of competitiveness this season when he’s actually suited up.

The problem with Spooner’s return at this point, however, is that the Bruins have a third line of Danton Heinen, Riley Nash and David Backes that’s been gaining traction in recent days and had a monster game vs. Arizona last week. A return from injured reserve for Spooner would mean that the Bruins finally have to make a tough roster choice. Either put a player such as Frank Vatrano on waivers or send a young player such as Sean Kuraly down who deserves to stay based on his performance.

With Spooner’s status in question for the next two games, here are the line combos and D-pairings from Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena with Tuukka Rask set to get the start Wednesday night in Detroit: