Vancouver Canucks v Colorado Avalanche

Alberts, Asham, Jones and Weber comprise Wednesday’s minor signings

While people clamor for the marquee moves (see: Brad Richards) on free agent frenzy day, July 1 is often like a buffet. Teams load up on the nourishment they need but then they often see other tasty things available (Chinese food and pizza and BBQ ribs … why not?) and add them to their plates.

That kind of bloat might cause some salary cap indigestion, but it gives fans and writers more to chew on. With each minor signing, Friday’s hopeful frenzy might get less and less frenetic. To keep you up to date with the moves that fail to earn their own headlines, here are some of the smaller contracts handed out to pending free agents.

  • David Jones signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche reportedly worth a very reasonable $2.5 million. Jones bested his totals from the previous three seasons combined in 2010-11, scoring 27 goals and notching 45 points overall. That 27-goal mark tied him for the team lead with Matt Duchene. It’ll be interesting to see if Jones can duplicate (or even improve upon) those numbers as Colorado hopes to bounce back from what became a lousy season.
  • For whatever reason, the Vancouver Canucks decided that Andrew Alberts earned a two-year deal worth $2.45 million. Alberts must have a pretty good agent because that’s a nice haul for a flawed defenseman such as himself.
  • The Montreal Canadiens locked up defenseman Yannick Weber to a two-year deal reportedly worth $1.7 million overall. After playing three games with Montreal in 2008-09 and five in 09-10, Weber appeared in 41 games last season, compiling one goal and 10 assists for 11 points while averaging 16:34 minutes per contest.

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?