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PHT Morning Skate: Couturier finds his confidence

Nov 19, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders 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.

New Jersey Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov (leg) has been put on the injured reserve list, but on a more positive note, Jon Merrill is ready to resume his career after suffering a concussion in his NHL debut. (The Star-Ledger)

Sean Couturier has regained his confidence, but that won’t necessarily lead to the 20-year-old forward getting more points. Philadelphia Flyers coach Craig Berube wants to see Couturier prioritize his defensive game. (Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Tuesday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the link.

Defenseman Brian Campbell wants to see some significant improvements from the Florida Panthers when they have the man advantage. Even during their disappointing 2013 campaign, the Panthers ranked sixth with a 20.4% success rate in power-play situations. This season they’re dead last at 9.5%. (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel)

Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan thinks having a capable fourth line is vital. (Buffalo News)

Rangers associate coach Scott Arniel said that the team hasn’t given up on Michael Del Zotto after listing him as a healthy scratch for two straight games. (Bergen Record)

Why did the Florida Panthers agree to absorb half of Kris Versteeg‘s remaining salary and cap hit when they traded him to the Chicago Blackhawks? Florida had reportedly been shopping Versteeg for a while and the Blackhawks were the only ones expressing much interest. (

Highlights from Pittsburgh’s 3-1 win over Anaheim:

  1. ibieiniid - Nov 19, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    I don’t know (on him needing to focus on his defensive game), I really like the play from him in his last few games. I don’t give Couturier a lot of credit because he’s been so inept at offense, but even if it’s late, you can see some of his offensive potential blooming right now. I wish he would up his aggressiveness. With his board work, he could end up looking like a more level-headed Wayne Simmonds. that’s a good thing.

    “Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan thinks having a capable fourth line is vital.”
    Capable of what, exactly? If he and Lafontaine are on the same page at all, we can expect one particular 4th liner off the team in no time.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 19, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      Oh he’s referring to ice time. Same story, Scott and McCormick are among the leagues worst in their good shots for:allowed ratio while they’re 5 on 5. down around 36:64. They shoulda scooped Tootoo on waivers, at least he can play some defense.

  2. mclovinhockey - Nov 19, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    When the flyers drafted coots it was to improve our D from our forwards. I don’t care if he gets 0 points a year as long as he shuts down the opposing teams stars… He is already the player Malkin hates most in the league, if you could not tell from the two times Malkin has speared him and how Malkin flipped out at him last game. So clearly he is doing his job.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:04 AM

      I’m with you in that I love defensive play from forwards. But at some point from a 3rd liner, you need some offensive production… because you know at some point, he’s gonna want some more money too. He has like 4A this year in 19 games.

      Your 3rd liner isn’t shutting down top lines all game unless you PLAY your 3rd line against them all game (which, I realize they do sometimes). Although, I kinda wish that 4th line was worth more minutes, that way they could swap Hall and Couturier and roll all 4 lines. 4th line needs some defense.

    • hockey412 - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      If the Flyers weren’t 29th in the league in Goals/Game, I’d agree. Malkin only plays for one team, unfortunately for ‘Coots’….but I DO love watching him flip out. I’m not sure why Coots is given so much room to crosscheck (not complaining, I love watching it, but anyone who says it’s legal is clearly insane or has no clue what they are watching), but Malkin HATES that. It was hysterical last year when they waited for Malkin to crosscheck him back then then threw BOTH to the penalty boxes. Entertaining, to say the least. I loved that they just let those to go last game even when Malkin grabbed his head…haha they knew they had just let Coots go for too long to call Malkin. Good stuff!

  3. devilsarethebest - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Merrill was sent down last night, so there goes continuing his NHL career for now.

  4. statsdolie - Nov 19, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Couturier is 20 years old people. His defensive play allowed him to make the team over time his skill set seems to be 45-60 points a year if he continues to develop properly like many two way forwards do that possess offensive abilities which he has.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 19, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      ya but this is also his 3rd season as a Flyer (ok, he’s only played 1.5). like I said, I think what we’re seeing now is late (not age-wise, but experience wise), but good progress. but even so, what are you thinking they’re planning for him? He’s got G and Vinny locked up ahead of him for like 5 years, so he’s our 3rd line center. if you’re a 3rd line center, you’ve gotta produce some points from time to time. that’s all I was really saying.

      • macjacmccoy - Nov 20, 2013 at 12:28 AM

        he’s not the only center though. Shenn is naturally center and Adam Hall dominates on faceoffs. If you want they could be your 3rd 4th liners. Flyers have very good depth at the center position.

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