Ottawa Senators v Philadelphia Flyers

What about the fighting all-stars? Carcillo and Shelley choose their own sides

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We’ve seen plenty of stuff from everyone wondering out loud about who Eric Staal and Nick Lidstrom will be choosing on Friday night (note: We’ll be doing the same thing here with our mock draft at 4 p.m. ET) for the All-Star Game on Sunday but as you may have noticed there’s a distinct aspect of the game that’s very much missing from the festivities.

After all, if you think there’s going to be any fighting during the All-Star Game perhaps you’ve just missed virtually every All-Star Game ever played. It’s the one aspect to the NHL that doesn’t find its way into the league’s grand mid-season exhibition.

Of course, if there was to be fighting in the All-Star Game and enforcers were tossed into a selection pool who would they pick to go to war with? Philadelphia’s Dan Carcillo and Jody Shelley were asked to do just that by Philly.com’s Ed Barkowitz and they both came up with a lineup of sluggers that only their mothers could love.

Aside from both Shelley and Carcillo choosing each other to be on their own personal goon squad (does that make it a bromance?) their lineups are rather interesting to see.

Team Carcillo: Shelley, George Parros, Paul Bissonnette, Chris Neil, Deryk Engelland, and Shawn Thornton

Team Shelley: Carcillo, Zenon Konopka, Colton Orr, Brandon Prust, Jared Boll, and George Parros

Funny to see Carcillo pick Thornton because those two famously squared off at the Winter Classic in Boston in 2010 concluding with Carcillo saluting the fans at Fenway Park like a conquering hero would. Also it’s fun to see Biz Nasty make an appearance on that list. Of course, that just makes us wish Carcillo was on Twitter to see what kind of verbal sparring would go on between those two former Penguins farm hands. Engelland is the most fearsome selection here as his ability to knock out heavyweights this season has been a revelation for hockey fight fans.

Team Shelley is a team that actually seems like one that has the parts to it to make up a pretty good and obnoxious fourth line. Picture Konopka centering a line with Prust and either Orr or Parros on the right wing. Terrifying physical possibilities there and both Konopka and Prust have abilities that go beyond punching someone in the face. Of course, when all else fails throwing Colton Orr out there to beat heads (or knees) in is a fine failsafe to have.

It’s fun to ponder the possibilities of seeing a WWE King of the Ring brand of thing at the All-Star Game to see who the King of the Ice is when it comes to putting on the foil and while we get why they don’t do that at all, think of the fun we could have with that. I’m sure the PR folks around the league would hate it but that’s all part of the fun too.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Video: Kuznetsov sets table for Vrana’s first NHL goal

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 27:  Jakub Vrana of the Washington Capitals poses for a portrait during the 2014 NHL Draft at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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In his fifth NHL game, intriguing Washington Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored his first NHL goal (and point).

Let’s be honest, though; Evgeny Kuznetsov deserves plenty of the credit, as he sent a fantastic pass for Vrana’s tap-in tally.

See it for yourself:

Even if that was mostly Kuznetsov, Vrana has been getting his chances so far.

He generated four shots on goal in two separate occasions so far in his four games of NHL action, so maybe he was due for a chance like this.

Considering he’s just 20 years old, the Capitals could get used to Kuznetsov to Vrana.

Update: The Capitals won 4-1, and Vrana’s first goal wasn’t the only noteworthy “first.” After piling on shots, John Carlson finally scored his first goal of the season:

Kulikov returns to increasingly healthy Sabres lineup

CALGARY, AB - OCTOBER 18: Dmitry Kulikov #77 of the Buffalo Sabres in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on October 18, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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No one’s going to confuse Dmitry Kulikov with Jack Eichel, but the Buffalo Sabres are likely happy to have him back after a long absence, too.

The Sabres have been on an upward trend lately (5-2-2 in their last nine games), and now they get a key defenseman back against the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

Kulikov last played on Nov. 9 and hasn’t recorded a point in 12 games, making for a tough start to his stint with the Sabres. Maybe he’ll begin to get a little more traction with his new team tonight?

He’s far from the only returning Buffalo player, either, as Josh Gorges and Nicolas Deslauriers are also back in the mix. Kulikov is slated to be on the Sabres’ second pairing with Cody Franson.

Buffalo sent Brendan Guhle to the AHL to make room for these tweaks.

With Foligno out sick, Columbus gives Bjorkstrand another shot

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Oliver Bjorkstrand #28 of the Columbus Blue Jackets lines up for a face-off during the game against the Boston Bruins on October 13, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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The Columbus Blue Jackets will be without captain Nick Foligno because of an illness on Friday, opening up an opportunity for interesting prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand.

The team tweeted out his linemates as Matt Calvert and Lukas Sedlak as a solid fourth line facing the Detroit Red Wings.

He failed to generate much (zero points, two shots on goal) in three games so far with Columbus this season, receiving about 25 minutes of ice time over that span.

With eight goals and 12 points in 19 AHL games so far in 2016-17, there’s the thought that he could eventually make the next step to becoming a decent contributor for the Blue Jackets.

Perhaps this will constitute his first real step in that direction?

Apparently this is a pretty abrupt situation for the 21-year-old: