Report: Dustin Byfuglien shipped to Atlanta in blockbuster trade


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Buff.jpgNote: This isn’t quite confirmed yet. Keep your eye on PHT for the official word … or the possibility that the trade fell through.

While the salary cap went up higher than many expected – reportedly all the way up to $59.4 million – the Chicago Blackhawks still were forced to move a huge piece (literally and figuratively) in playoff hero Dustin Byfuglien. I first heard of it from a Tweet by Kevin Allen of USA Today, but TSN spells it out in terms of the actual picks and players exchanged in the gigantic deal.

Byfuglien, along with Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu, will be headed to Atlanta in exchange for the 24th overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, the 54th pick, Marty Reasoner and Jeremy Morin.

Wow. Let’s all take a second to soak that one in. OK, now let’s look at it in terms of salary cap terms since that’s obviously what caused this to happen. Keep in mind the Blackhawks also received those draft picks.

Atlanta receives:

Byfuglien ($3 million cap hit through 2010-11 season)

Sopel ($2.33 through 10-11)

Ben Eager (RFA)

Akim Aliu (845K if he’s at the NHL-level)

Chicago receives

Reasoner ($1.15 million through 10-11)

Morin (About $975K through 12-13 if he’s at the NHL-level)

So, the Thrashers get an inconsistent but impact forward in Byfuglien plus a steady, veteran defenseman in Sopel. The Blackhawks save about $4 million on the cap (although they’ll save more if they get rid of Reasoner and less if they keep Reasoner and Morin on the club).

It’s an interesting deal for both teams. The Blackhawks receive draft picks that were originally the New Jersey Devils’ and (perhaps most importantly) valuable cap space in what could be a trying summer. The Thrashers get a huge (though, again, not necessarily dependable) power forward and depth players to boot.

Blackhawks fans might be sad to see “Buffy the Hamburger Slayer” go, but they had to know that someone would be left out in the salary cap mess. For the Thrashers, the Ilya Kovalchuk trade more or less netted them Dustin Byfuglien, Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors, Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu.

I’m sure that Brandon and Joe will have more on this and/or the other trades as they go down in one has already been a crazy week. Expect things to continue as draft day approaches on Friday.

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?