Thoughts Are My Own: Pond Melts in Raleigh

Some thoughts as you wait for PNC Arena to open up for public swimming:

*Some say the Hurricanes are on thin ice down in Raleigh. Who knew they meant it literally.

*Wild prospect Luke Kunin has been named captain of Team USA for the upcoming World Juniors. Another feather in the cap for this crop of St. Louis kids. What that group of former Blues players that stuck around after they finished playing has been incredible.

*Personal opinion: St. Louis has always been an incredibly underrated hockey town.

*So who is Luke Kunin? A 6-0, 197-pound skilled centerman, he’s a sophomore captain at Wisconsin, and was the 15th overall pick of the 2016 draft by Minnesota. He has 30 goals and 49 points in 50 games for the Badgers.

*The Yanks are going to be missing quite a few players who are still eligible for World Juniors but won’t be released by their respective NHL teams (Auston Matthews, Zach Werenski, Noah Hanifin, Matthew Tkachuk), yet should still have plenty of talent to compete for gold. Still think hockey is ‘fringe sport’ in America?

*Ryan Ellis (30:31) and Roman Josi (29:50) will sleep well tonight, the pair on the ice for nearly half the game in the Predators 2-1 shootout win over the Flyers. It was Ellis who potted the lone goal in the skills competition.

*What a season Ellis continues to have. His role has increased, and has become even larger with P.K. Subban sidelined. Don’t bet against the small guys.

*Good lord is Auston Matthews good.

*Cam Fowler is coming into his own this year. A goal and an assist in Toronto on Monday night while playing 26:18. Scored the winner with 6:52 to play. He’s topped 25 minutes in five straight games. He’s eclipsed that mark 12 times in 33 games, something he did just 14 times in 69 games last season.

Game to Watch Tuesday Night

Rangers at Penguins: The two rivals split a home-and-home earlier this season (Rangers 5-2, Penguins 6-1), and currently sit atop the Metropolitan, the Blueshirts (47 points) holding a two-point advantage for first place.



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