Ryan Malone

More injury woes for Tampa Bay

Can’t blame Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher for being exasperated right now. Upon learning LW Ryan Malone suffered a lower-body injury (which kept him out of Tuesday’s game against Toronto and, apparently, tomorrow night’s game against Ottawa as well), the fiery bench boss all but threw up his hands.

“Again with the injuries,” Boucher told the Tampa Tribune. “Happy New Year! It’s been that way since Day One this year, so we are not going to cry about it. We are going to move forward and continue to find ways like we’ve been doing.”

Malone was injured during Monday’s practice on what appeared to be an innocuous collision with Nate Thompson. So innocuous, in fact, that Thompson didn’t realize his teammate was hurt.

“We had a collision, but I’m not sure what is going on,” Thompson said after learning Malone was being held out against Toronto. “This was the first I had heard about it, too.”

The Malone incident is the latest in what’s been an injury-ravaged season for the Bolts. Mattias Ohlund (knees) hasn’t played a single game this year and Victor Hedman is out indefinitely with a concussion. Ryan Shannon is expected to miss another two weeks with a knee sprain (he’s been out since Dec. 21) while Martin St. Louis, Pavel Kubina and Steve Downie have combined to miss 11 contests.

It’s all added up to an extremely disappointing season. The Lightning were within a game of the Stanley Cup Final a year ago but, heading into tonight’s action, sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, seven points back of eighth-place New Jersey.

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?