Curtis McElhinney, John Tavares

Report: Islanders to sign John Tavares to six-year, $33 million deal


After the reports surfaced earlier about the Islanders working on a long-term extension with franchise player John Tavares, it didn’t take long for things to get worked out. The Islanders have a press conference called for tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. at Nassau Coliseum featuring Tavares and Isles GM Garth Snow and they’ll be there to announce that Tavares has signed  a contract extension with the team.

Reports out of Long Island say that Tavares’ deal is for six years at $5.5 million per season, good for $33 million over the term of the deal.

Tavares was the first pick overall in the 2009 NHL Draft and is heading into his third year in the NHL. Tavares has seen his numbers increase greatly over his first two seasons and now that he’s just a little bit older, he’s poised to become one of the league’s top players. Last season, Tavares had 29 goals and 38 assists for the Islanders and while he’ll turn 21 during training camp, he’s without a doubt the Isles top center.

The cap hit of $5.5 million might seem a bit large, but should Tavares numbers continue to rise as the years go along, it’ll end up looking like a steal soon enough. The Isles cap situation also isn’t in any sort of dire position. The Islanders now have Tavares, Michael Grabner, Kyle Okposo, and Matt Moulson locked up to deals that will keep all four of them together through until at least the 2013-2014 season when Moulson’s deal expires. Tavares’ deal has him committed to the Islanders through the 2017-2018 season while Okposo and Grabner are set through 2015-2016.

The hype surrounding the eventual rise of the Islanders has a basis in having great young players being locked up for a while and with those four in place, the Isles are going to be a team for opponents to worry about very soon.

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?