Edmonton Oilers v New York Rangers

Oilers and Rangers get into line brawl during Rangers blowout win

You see it happen every now and again that teams mixed up in a blowout game will see tempers get hot and then everyone’s throwing off the gloves. You usually don’t end up seeing a full-on line brawl in the NHL anymore but this afternoon’s game between Edmonton and the Rangers in Madison Square Garden saw just that.

With the Rangers in control of the game up 5-2 midway through the third period, Sean Avery delivered a crunching hit to Colin Fraser along the boards. A big hit, but a legal one. Edmonton’s Ladislav Smid apparently took umbrage with Avery and asked him to drop the gloves. Avery said yes, and caught Smid with a quick right hand and dropped him to the ice. After those two were being wrangled up to be sent to the penalty box, and the game went to commercial break, upon returning to action all hell broke loose. You can see the video of the entire fiasco here.

After seeing what happened, Smid and Avery did a bit of talking and Avery seemingly was turning him down and then opted to go for it once action got deep enough down in the other end of the ice. While Avery was being sent to the locker room, Oilers defenseman Theo Peckham appears out of nowhere to have a word with him. NHL.com’s Dave Lozo gets the low-down from Peckham and Colin Fraser as to what they saw happen.

“I just watched my teammate ask a guy to fight,” Peckham said. “Avery said ‘No, no next shift.’ And as soon as Smider turned around, he sucker punched him. He skated by our bench laughing. I definitely made a mistake and went a little wonky, but we’re family and sometimes you have to make a stand for yourself.”

“It was a sucker punch,” Fraser said. “I think he had his chance, fair and square, 1-on-1 with (Smid). I could hear (Smid) with my own ears. ‘Let’s go, let’s go.’ Hey, if you don’t want to fight, that’s fine. You don’t have to fight. But you can’t punch the guy after you’ve already said no.”

Sean Avery and controversy certainly get along just fine. As for the whole penalty breakdown of what happened when everyone seemed to pair off to bring Fight Night back to MSG, take a look at this run down.

Also mixing things up were tough guys Brandon Prust and Zack Sortini, meanwhile Brian Boyle picked off Theo Peckham after he tried to get at Sean Avery on his way to the tunnel. Boys will be boys they say, right?

For what it’s worth, ESPN’s E.J. Hradek says that he’s hearing that there won’t be any suspensions coming out of this whole thing, but for one afternoon we had a throw back to the old days of hockey when things could bubble over at any moment and turn ugly. It’s brought a tear to my eye at least.

No hearing scheduled for Abdelkader after Barkov hit

7 Comments

There’s no disciplinary hearing scheduled for Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader following his big check on Florida’s Aleksander Barkov last night, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.

The incident, which occurred early in the second period, left Barkov woozy and forced him from the game entirely. Abdelkader wasn’t penalized on the play — that, along with the hit itself, infuriated the Panthers and head coach Gerard Gallant.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald.

“I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way,” Gallant added, noting that Abdelkader “left his feet a little and got [Barkov] in the jaw.”

Abdelkader has run afoul of the Department of Player Safety before. He was suspended two games during the ’13 playoffs for a hit on then-Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman.

The Panthers are back in action tonight, as they take on the Sabres in Buffalo.

Detroit doesn’t play again until Wednesday, when it hosts the Sens at Joe Louis.

Dion Phaneuf traded to Senators

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07:  Jordan Nolan #71 of the Los Angeles Kings is knocked off balance by Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Staples Center on January 7, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty
16 Comments

And this is why we listen when Bob McKenzie says something.

The Ottawa Senators have acquired defenseman Dion Phaneuf, forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, and Ryan Rupert and undrafted defensive prospect Cody Donaghey from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg, plus Ottawa’s second-round pick in the 2017 draft.

No salary will be retained by either team.

From the Leafs’ perspective, the trade provides even more cap flexibility for their rebuild. Phaneuf is signed through 2020-21 for a cap hit of $7 million; he’s entirely on Ottawa’s books now. As for the guys coming to Toronto, Michalek, Cowen, and Greening are only under contract through next season, for a combined cap hit of around $10 million. And according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, both Cowen and Greening could be bought out by the Leafs this offseason.

The Sens, meanwhile, get to add a workhorse defenseman to a blue line that already includes Erik Karlsson. Plus, they rid themselves of some onerous contracts.

Report: ‘Lots of Dion Phaneuf trade chatter’

Dion Phaneuf
Getty
4 Comments

This isn’t the first time Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf has come up in trade rumors — far from it — but since it’s TSN’s Bob McKenzie putting it out there, we should probably listen.

“Hearing lots of Dion Phaneuf trade chatter,” McKenzie tweeted this morning. “Starting to think he could actually be dealt before the deadline.”

Phaneuf has three goals and 21 assists in 51 games this season, while logging an average of 22:02 in ice time. The big factor in trading the 30-year-old is his contract — he’s signed through 2020-21 for a cap hit of $7 million. 

Responding to McKenzie on Twitter, TSN’s Darren Dreger seemed to suggest Ottawa as a potential landing spot. The Sens, as we’ve noted recently, have had all sorts of defensive issues this season.

In the past, Detroit has come up as a potential destination for Phaneuf, though the Wings reportedly withdrew their interest in June.

NHL on NBCSN: Slumping Wild look to get back on track against Stars

Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel (21), from France, scores a goal past Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in St. Paul, Minn. The Stars won 6-3. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Associated Press
3 Comments

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Minnesota Wild host the Dallas Stars at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

If you’re a fan of the Minnesota Wild, the last few weeks probably haven’t been pleasant.

The team has been slumping badly since the beginning of the new year, and late January/early February has been no different.

The Wild come into tonight’s game having dropped five straight decisions to the Sharks, Coyotes, Islanders, Rangers and Blues.

Minnesota has just 10 goals during the losing streak, which means their top offensive players aren’t producing.

Head coach Mike Yeo tried to shake things up on Saturday night by scratching Thomas Vanek and Jason Zucker, but that didn’t work. The Wild were thumped, 4-1, by the St. Louis Blues.

After playing their last three games on the road, Minnesota hopes to get a boost from their home crowd.

“One thing for sure, [there are] mixed feelings about coming back home,” Yeo said on Monday, per the Star-Tribune. “Right now, obviously, a little home cooking would be nice for us. But I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little nervous for tomorrow. Certainly I think our fan base is a little restless — more than a little restless right now. And they expect more from us. And they deserve more of us.”

Things haven’t been as bad in Dallas, but the Stars are coming off an embarrassing 5-1 home loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

“It was a huge game,” forward Vernon Fiddler said, per the Morning News. “We talked about it before the game, what it means, and then we lay an egg. It’s unacceptable. There’s a lot of disappointed guys in here.

“After a big loss like that, you want to respond. We all have to be better and take a look in the mirror and expect more of ourselves.”

Prior to Saturday’s loss, the Stars had won three straight games.

Could this be a trap game for Dallas?

They won’t have to wait long to get another crack at the Blackhawks, as they’ll be shipping out to the United Center on Thursday, but they have to take care of business in Minnesota first.

The Stars are five points behind Chicago for top spot in the Central Division. Dallas has three games in hand.