Morning Skate: How badly will skipping Olympics hurt the NHL?


Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading as the NHL playoff picture begins to gain clarity.
-- The Ottawa Senators have lost 9 of their last 11 games and are dropping like a stone in the standings.
-- The reaction to the NHL’s decision to skip the Olympics was predictably strong, but some are questioning just how bad it will actually be for hockey. I think it flat-out stinks for the marketing of the game world-wide and everybody should be concerned about that, just as it’s also setting up another potentially acrimonious work stoppage when the CBA runs out.

 -- Matt Duchene is in a slump for the Colorado Avalanche as that team runs out the clock.
-- Jaromir Jagr will be a free agent at the end of the season, but it sounds like he wants to be back with the Florida Panthers once again.

-- Saugus native and Union College standout Mike Vecchione has signed with the Flyers, and will make his NHL debut this weekend.
-- Here are six looming questions as the NHL enters the final week of the regular season with a few things still up for debate.

 -- PHT writer James O’Brien has the Montreal Canadiens clinching the Atlantic Division and setting up a tough first-round match-up with the New York Rangers.  

-- Mike Felger thinks the Bruins are still capable of “puking all over themselves” and missing the playoffs. I’m just not seeing it at this point.
-- For something completely different: Listening to Mayte Garcia talk about Prince on the anniversary of his death reminds me that his passing is still a huge bummer. Major, major regret that I never saw him play live.

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