Guy Boucher, Wayne Fleming

Tampa Bay Lightning assistant coach Wayne Fleming appears awake, alert after surgery

Every once in a while, a sports team is rocked when someone close to them faces a grave health condition. It seems trivial to say that they’re “winning it” for that person, but those wins must seem sweeter when they do.

The Tampa Bay Lightning took a shocking 3-0 series lead with their resourceful Game 3 win, but the victory didn’t seem to be the first thing on their minds. Instead, the team seemed to bask in a different success. Bruce Arthur reports that assistant coach Wayne Fleming was alert and responsive after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Arthur wrote that Fleming escaped paralysis thanks to that surgery, which lasted eight hours. Despite these personal struggles, Fleming still sent every player on the team messages of encouragement and/or advice.

Before the game, Lightning assistant coach Wayne Fleming endured an eight-hour surgery to remove a brain tumor at the UC Irvine Douglas Hospital in California. Fleming had sent players text messages after each of the first two games — “I think he texted every guy on the team,” said Stamkos — with advice.

At this point, it’s the other guys could use wise counsel. Just after Tampa’s third-period surge, the team announced Fleming was alert and talking — Fleming’s son Jarett said his father had escaped the possibility of paralysis, but was unable to say much more than “I love you.” Before the surgery, his family had said their goodbyes, just in case. Today, they will have better news to share.

As great as the Lightning’s run has been, their mixture of young talent and still-in-their-prime players bodes well for their future. Hopefully Fleming will be around to witness that maturation process. If he could eventually do so back behind their bench, then even better.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
Leave a comment

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
1 Comment

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?