R.J. Umberger is not a fan of indoor soccer, the Blues home arena, disrespect

If you were thinking that last night’s Blue Jackets blowout of the Blues in Columbus seemed a bit more feisty than usual, you might’ve chalked it up to the game being an embarrassing blowout for the Blues. If you were thinking that Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger seemed to be a bit more involved with post-whistle scrums than normal, perhaps there’s a very reasonable explanation for that. Andy Strickland of finds out that pre-game chirping isn’t just limited to what goes on during the pre-game skate.

Word is several Blues players took issue with Blue Jackets player R.J. Umberger who not once but twice ran through the Blues pre-game soccer warm-up.

Tension began to escalate between the Blues and Umberger once goaltender Ty Conklin spoke up and asked if he wouldn’t mind running somewhere else? That’s when Umberger told several Blues players they aren’t welcome to use this area to play soccer.

Things officially reached absurdity once Umberger went and fetched building security who tried to remove the Blues from playing soccer in this area. The Blues refused to leave as about a half dozen Columbus players were enjoying their own game of soccer just a few feet away.  Eventually NHL security was called over who told the Blues they were fine where they were and could carry on as normal.

During the game Umberger was a bit of a force of his own scoring a goal as well as earning a double-minor for high sticking and a 10-minute misconduct for jousting with St. Louis’ Brad Boyes.  It was during that scrum that Blues forward T.J. Oshie broke his ankle and has him out indefinitely from the Blues lineup. As for what might’ve help set off the Blues, Strickland throws in this piece of information.

One Blues player told Umberger next time Columbus comes to St. Louis he will make sure they are forced to go outside and play soccer in the snow.  That’s when Umberger apparently responded “your building sucks anyway”.

All right, points off for lack of creativity for Umberger there but it’s a good enough barb to at least light a fire under his already ticked off opponents. As for playing soccer outside in St. Louis in the winter… Big deal, at least it’s not Edmonton where that would actually be a punishment. As it turns out, Umberger’s gripe with the Blues had more to do with respect for the common man than anything else as he told Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy today.

“We felt in the past that they disrespected our area. They came right next to us and played soccer. It’s our home arena. It’s our area. We deserve some respect. The way they treated our off-ice officials, it wasn’t very good.”

Give it up for sticking up for the little guy, eh? With these two teams being divisional foes, consider the fuse lit for future games between the two. Umberger’s always been a guy willing to speak his mind about things, like when he said the Capitals weren’t a team built for the playoffs last year, something that didn’t sit well with Washington players at the time. Suffice to say, we’re anxious for the next time these two teams meet each other now. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until December 9th for that.

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?