Alexander Ovechkin

What controversy? Caps blowout Canes


When we last saw the Washington Capitals on the ice, Bruce Boudreau was benching (nor not), Alex Ovechkin was yelling, and Nicklas Backstrom was snipping in an OT victory over the Anaheim Ducks. There was plenty said after the victory—but very little of it had anything to do with the win. So the question tonight was: how would Ovechkin and the Caps respond?

The answer: Well. Very well. After giving up an early goal, Washington rattled off five unanswered goals and blew the Carolina Hurricanes out of the RBC Center by a 5-1 score. If this is how the Caps are going to respond to adversity, Boudreau should start benching his captain more often.

It was a mixed bag for Ovechkin. Boudreau put him out on the ice for over 20 minutes of play and the superstar captain produced three shots and a pair of assists. For those who expected to see Ovechkin take his game to a new level, they would have been disappointed. For the majority of the game he was looking to set up teammates and consistently passed up open shots in favor of making the extra pass. It was very un-Ovechkin like.

At the end of the day, Ovechkin had two points and the team had one of their best results of the season. In fact, he’s produced five points in Washington’s last three games. No matter what anyone thinks of Ovechkin’s play individually, the team responded with a dominating performance when they needed to get back on track.

In the meantime, we’ll keep our eye on Ovechkin. Just a hunch, but if they keep beating every opponent by a 5-1 score, no one is going to worry about Ovechkin, passing, or getting benched.

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?