58th NHL All-Star Game

All-Star Game MVP Patrick Sharp gets one over on his game-winning Chicago teammates


You don’t see it too often that a player from the losing team wins the MVP award. We’ve seen goalies do it in the Stanley Cup finals with then Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere doing it in 2003 against the Cup-winning Devils and Ron Hextall doing the same taking his 1987 Flyers team to a seventh game against Gretzky’s Oilers.

In the All-Star Game where there’s a wealth of offense all over the place, Chicago’s Patrick Sharp took home this year’s MVP award thanks to the fan’s vote. Sharp finished the game with a goal and two assists and the admiration of the fans. What’s more stunning is that the fans couldn’t show their love for him in the voting leading up to the All-Star Game. When asked if being left off the initial ballot for the game motivated him, he was candid about his thoughts.

“I guess I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bothered by it. But it was motivation to play well this year and I really can’t argue with it.”

People talk all the time about how it seems impossible for players to really get motivated for anything that has to do with the All-Star Game but hearing Sharp put it that way was fascinating. Perhaps next year the NHL will start selectively leaving players off the ballot to irk them into both playing in the game and putting on a show.

As for getting the award on the losing team while his teammates Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Jonathan Toews played for the winning Team Lidstrom, whether or not that gives him bragging rights over his teammates is up for debate.

“I think this will be a topic of conversation, definitely. I’ll be sure to bring it up a few times [on the flight home]. Jonathan and I have some unfinished business with the shooting targets there yesterday, the accuracy shooting. So we’ll have something to do back in Chicago.”

It’d be fun to be a fly on the wall for that discussion.

For Sharp though getting the award is impressive considering the massive statistical numbers put up by guys on the winning side. Loui Eriksson had two goals and two assists, Shea Weber had four assists and was a +6, Anze Kopitar had two goals, Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists, Martin Havlat had three assists, and Nick Lidstrom had an assist and was a +7. Lidstrom’s +7 is the highest plus/minus since Adam Oates had a +7 in 1991.

Being a member of the defending champions and having a high profile in Chicago certainly doesn’t hurt matters for Sharp but for now he’s just going to have fun bringing the trophy home with his family.

“I didn’t want to let them down. Their flight got canceled out of Newark, so they met some people from Raleigh and jumped in a minivan and drove from midnight to 8 a.m. just to be here to watch the game.”

A long journey made easier even in defeat. Not bad for a weekend.


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?