Shane O’Brien is an enigma. At times capable of inspiring shut-down
defense while at other times letting his emotions take control and
putting himself and his teammates in some bad situations.
coaches came down on him in the series against the Kings for being
perhaps a bit too agitating, he responded with some solid play. Of
course, like the rest of the Canucks, he failed to use that same emotion
and physicality when they needed it most against the Blackhawks.
as he approaches restricted free agency this summer, he’s hoping to
avoid the arbitration process. He says he’d love to have secure contract
but that he’d be more than willing to come in and play as hard as he
can for the Canucks if he’s offered just a one-year deal.
“Hopefully I don’t have to go to arb and, from what I heard, it’s not
a pleasant process,” he said. “They’ve probably got a lot of material
they can use against me so it probably wouldn’t work too well.”
“I think I could be an even better player if I had a little bit more
leeway,” O’Brien stated. “If you make a mistake, or have a bad game,
they stick with you and you don’t have to worry about sitting in the
After last season’s temporary exile and the off the ice issues he’s
dealt with while with Vancouver, it’s doubtful that the team is willing
to make multi-season commitment. They’d likely prefer to give O’Brien
one more season to prove that the weight and the maturity issues are
gone, and since they cropped up just a month ago I’m sure the problems
are still fresh on the minds of the front office.
And while O’Brien may prefer to come back to the Canucks, you have to
wonder if living somewhere other than Vancouver would be best for the
problems he’s had in the past.
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.