Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Minnesota Wild are optimistic about his concussion recovery

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pmb.jpgBecause of concussion issues, Pierre-Marc Bouchard played in one game – for a little more than 10 minutes – during the 2009-10 season. From all indications, it was a nightmare season for the undersized playmaker.

Twin Cities.com has a story about the recovery process for “PMB.” While Bouchard has a long way to go in his recovery, the team and the player are becoming more optimistic about his chances of playing next season.

Team personnel, along with Bouchard, are cautiously optimistic that the playmaking former first-round draft pick will play for the Wild this season. Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher can’t wait to see the shifty, 5-foot-10 forward back in the team’s lineup.

“He will come back, and the sooner the better, but again there’s still some healing to be done,” Fletcher said. “He generates offense, and he has a skill level that’s unmatched by most players in the NHL, so clearly his addition to our lineup will give us a boost.”

Bouchard and Fletcher agree there is no timetable for a return.

But the man who had a franchise-record 50 assists two seasons ago is riding an exercise bike, swimming laps and stepping outside for half-hour bike rides around Montreal.

“I’m not quite 100 percent yet,” Bouchard cautioned. “There are still days I feel some pressure and (days) I’m a little bit more tired, but I can do some little stuff, and I’m sure in the next few weeks, I’ll be able to go up a notch.”

Concussion problems are no joke and it’s not exactly something that can be healed with normal rehab or ice baths. The team and Bouchard are going to need to be patient with the process and there’s always the outside chance that he’ll never be quite the player he was.

Still, there are plenty of instances when a player bounced back nicely from brain injuries. Tim Connolly and Patrice Bergeron took a while to shake off the symptoms but are now very useful NHL players.

Of course, the more you play, the more you subject yourself to concussion problems. As we learn more about the consequences of concussions, teams will become more and more cautious. Either way, I hope this works out for Bouchard and the Minnesota Wild.

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?