Lee Stempniak

Calgary trades Daymond Langkow to Phoenix for Lee Stempniak

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Perhaps Coyotes GM Don Maloney was on the same wavelength we were today. After we broke down how the Coyotes would need a bit more help up the middle to make a run at the playoffs this year, they’ve gone out and picked up some experienced help up the middle. Phoenix has acquired Daymond Langkow from Calgary pending a physical in exchange for Lee Stempniak.

Langkow will slot in behind Martin Hanzal at center and comes back to an organization that traded him away back in 2004. With a host of youngsters that could vie for a spot at center, Langkow gives Phoenix stability at a position that was sorely lacking in NHL-quality depth. The question with Langkow comes in his health since returning from a broken neck injury that kept him out most of last season. Langkow did come back last season for the Flames’ final four games of the year and finished with one assist.

source: APIf he can fully return to form, he’s a solid set-up man and a guy capable of getting 50 points per season. Langkow will also help solidify the Coyotes position above the salary floor as he’ll arrive with a $4.5 million cap hit. On the downside, he’ll be 35 years-old this season joining Shane Doan (35) and Ray Whitney (39) as the elder statesmen on the team. You know what you’ll get from all three players, the question is can they sustain their level of play the way they’re capable of doing.

Stempniak will join a Calgary team in need of a little help scoring-wise on the wings. While Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, and Rene Bourque are legit threats the Flames were in need of a little bit more and Stempniak will help that out being a guy capable of 20-25 goals in a year. Calgary will be a bit thinner at center without Langkow, but they’re hoping David Moss and Mikael Backlund can have breakout seasons up the middle. Matthew Stajan is also there to fill in depth-wise. Calgary trading out Langkow’s lofty salary for Stempniak’s $1.9 cap hit is a nice cost-cutting move for GM Jay Feaster as well. According to CapGeek.com, the Flames will be $3.5 million under the cap after this deal.

The way to break this down from the Flames’ standpoint is that they’re giving up a high-priced guy who may or may not be able to produce the way he used to before his neck injury for a guy they know what exactly they’ll get out of in Stempniak. Phoenix fills a need by getting a legitimate center while cutting loose one of their many wingers. Tough to say that it’s a win-win trade for both teams right now, but at the least both sides got what they were looking for.

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
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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

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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?