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PHT Morning Skate: Tavares on best-on-best hockey; Michigan’s expectations


TORONTO, ON - MAY 08: Toronto Maple Leafs Center John Tavares (91) passes the puck during the NHL regular season game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs on May 8, 2021, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from the NHL and around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.

• Maple Leafs captain John Tavares on why hockey needs a best-on-best tournament: “It’s important for our game, especially considering this next generation of players we have now. With Papi [Auston Matthews], Mitchy [Marner], [Leon] Draisaitl, Connor [McDavid], [Cale] Makar, this is kinda the next wave of guys. And obviously we still have so many great players — and Sid and Ovie lead the way as two the best of all time — that are getting later in their careers. I think when you have best-on-best hockey, you get all those players together. It’s really special. We don’t really get that. Getting to play for your country, we know how rare that is.” [Sportsnet]

• Off to the Frozen Four with a lineup full of future NHL talent, the expectations are sky high for the Michigan Wolverines. []

• The Flames will be without Sean Monahan as the forward needs surgery to repair the labrum in his right hip. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September. []

• Tuukka Rask on why he ultimately made the decision to retire: “It couldn’t hold the everyday grind — practicing and playing. That’s what I found out pretty quickly. I felt really good during the rehab. I was skating, started twice a week, going three times a week, four times a week and it was fine. But I was by myself or with the coach with one guy shooting so it’s a little different from live action in a game or practice. And then playing that Anaheim game, I kind of stretched and tweaked my groin and hip a little bit and it just kept aggravating even more. And then it was kind of time to be honest with yourself.” [NBC Sports Boston]

• What does the playoff picture look like right now for the Golden Knights? [Sin Bin Vegas]

• Don’t let the dinosaurs convince you otherwise. The NHL needs more players like Trevor Zegras. [The Hockey News]

• A look at Darnell Nurse and examining how good he is as part of the Oilers’ defense. [Oilers Nation]

• Could Alex Goligoski’s extension in Minnesota mean Bill Guerin has some plans for his blue line? [Zone Coverage]

• Was the Tomas Tatar signing a bad one by the Devils? [All About the Jersey]

• Erik Haula, Brandon Saad, and Jake DeBrusk will help your fantasy hockey teams this week. [NBC Sports Edge]


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.