Shane O'Brien hopes to stay in Vancouver

Obrien1.jpgShane 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.

When the
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.

to the media, per Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun, O’Brien says
avoiding arbitration would probably be best for all involved:

“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
press box.”

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.

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?