Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game One

Carrie Underwood’s husband on Ottawa return: “Excited, but a little nervous”

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When the Senators sent longtime center Mike Fisher to Nashville last season, they did it on a road trip — meaning there was no opportunity for the Ottawa faithful to bid him farewell.

Because of that, there should be plenty of emotion on Thursday when Fisher returns to the Canadian capital.

“I’m excited, but a little nervous at the same time,” Fisher told the Globe and Mail. “I have so many great memories of my time in Ottawa. It’s going to be nice to see a lot of friends and the fans.”

Fisher played 675 games over 11 seasons for the Senators, emerging as a fan favorite. He was a key figure on the team that lost the 2007 Stanley Cup final to Anaheim and gave countless hours to charity — a big reason why Sens GM Bryan Murray was hesitant to pull the trigger on last February’s deal.

“It’s a tough trade for us. We know he’s been a good veteran here and he’s very popular with the fans,” Murray told James Gordon of the Ottawa Citizen at the time of the deal. “He’s a very good guy, a very popular guy, very popular with his teammates. Obviously a big member of the community.

“A guy that, when you do it, you have feelings in the pit of your stomach that are upsetting that you have to, if you’re going to go forward, you have to do something of this magnitude.”

Murray also admitted that “three or four” teams inquired about Fisher, but he leaned towards Nashville because of Fisher’s wife, country music singer Carrie Underwood. It’s something Fisher’s very appreciative of.

“Nashville has been very good to me,” he said. “The trade was hard, but if I had to go anywhere this was a great place to go. The team and fans have been great.”

Speaking of great, that’s exactly what Fisher’s been lately. He comes into Ottawa having scored eight goals in his last eight games, during which Nashville has posted a 6-1-1 record, moving into a tie for fourth overall in the NHL.

Fisher leads the Preds in goals, with 16.

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?