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PHT Morning Skate: Where we look at the Kings, Coyotes, Rangers’ mediocre starts

Feb 7, 2013, 7:14 AM EDT

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Dustin Penner, Michal Rozsival Getty Images

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.

28-year-old defenseman Anton Babchuk has missed the Calgary Flames’ first seven contests due to a shoulder injury, but he’s now cleared for contact. Unfortunately the news isn’t as good for top prospect Sven Baertschi. (Flames.nhl.com)

The Winnipeg Jets decided to return 19-year-old forward Mark Scheifele to the OHL after a four-game trial this season. His junior coach thinks that the lockout and financial considerations ultimately hurt Scheifele’s chances, who was taken with the seventh overall pick in 2011. (Winnipeg Sun)

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau gave a straightforward reason as to why 20-year-old forward Devante Smith-Pelly was returned to the minors after only five games: He wasn’t getting enough playing time. “In and out of the lineup, for a kid that age, is stunting his growth,” Boudreau said. (Orange County Register)

A look at why the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, and Phoenix Coyotes have all gotten off to mediocre starts despite making it to at least the semifinals last season. (Sportsnet)

26-year-old forward Patric Hornqvist (shoulder) is progressing nicely according to Predators coach Barry Trotz. Based on his original timetable, Hornqvist should be back by mid-to-late February. (The Tennessean)

The Edmonton Oilers have been devastated by injuries over the past several years. Oilers coach Ralph Krueger is hoping to change that…next season. (Edmonton Sun)

The little things are turning into big problems for the Washington Capitals. (Washington Times)

With Miikka Kiprusoff sidelined due to a lower body injury, this is a big opportunity for 24-year-old goaltender Leland Irving. Typically netminders don’t get too many chances to prove themselves as Kiprusoff’s understudy. (Calgary Sun)

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Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. T. Oshie (4608)
  2. E. Malkin (4076)
  3. M. Duchene (3996)
  4. B. Bishop (3292)
  5. H. Zetterberg (3000)
  1. O. Palat (2841)
  2. V. Tarasenko (2745)
  3. S. Mason (2687)
  4. D. Backes (2681)
  5. R. Getzlaf (2529)