Brent Burns Getty

Burns’ injury opens up trade possibilities for Sharks


Injuries are never really a good thing, aside from the occasional bit of dumb luck (see: Drew Bledsoe being sidelined to open the door for the Tom Brady Age). That being said, if they need to happen, teams likely prefer them to take place in advance of the trade deadline.’s Ray Ratto indicates that might be the case with Brent Burns and the San Jose Sharks. The offensive defenseman fell victim to bad luck in the form of Alex Hemsky’s knee-to-knee injury, a snafu that might force GM Doug Wilson’s hand a bit.

Here’s a quick look at the possible scenarios according to Ratto (click here for an extended take).

1. Wilson could do little-to-nothing if Burns, Ryane Clowe and Martin Havlat end up healthy.

2. He could be forced to overpay in a scenario in which Burns is hurt but the two forwards end up healthy.

3. The Sharks might be forced to replace Clowe – a player I deemed the NHL’s most functional fighter – but the other two are fine. (Good luck finding another Clowe at a reasonable price.)

4. Chaos if Burns and at least one of those two are out for a prolonged period.

So what’s going to happen? That remains to be seen as injury updates trickle in, but Ratto has this entertaining look into how it could play out if No. 4 is the answer:

But this will allow a glimpse of Doug Wilson’s gift for tactical prevarication. Maybe he’ll slip us a safe word as a tell — maybe something from the George Carlin Words You Can’t Say On Television Collection. Because if the news on Burns and/or Clowe and Havlat is bad, he’ll be using all seven of them, loudly and repeatedly.

For unbiased observers, it all sounds quite entertaining, doesn’t it?

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?