Edmonton Oilers v Phoenix Coyotes

Kypreos says Oilers should shut down Nugent-Hopkins: “He’s still not a man. He’s up against big guys”


Former NHLer and current Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos has voiced concern over how the Edmonton Oilers are handling prized rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, suggesting the club might be wise to shut the youngster down for the year.

Nugent-Hopkins recently suffered his second shoulder injury of the season. The first cost him 13 games — the second is expected to shelve him for up to 10 days.

“They’ve got to be so careful with his kid,” Kypreos said (quote courtesy the Edmonton Journal). “And if it was me, I wouldn’t have any problems shutting him down.”

“Do you want this guy having shoulder problems the rest of his career? He’s got to get physically stronger going into next September. He’s a buck-70 soaking wet. He’s still not a man. He’s up against big guys here. Just be careful with the shoulder.”

RNH’s physical strength — or lack thereof — was a major concern heading into his first professional season. Even though he tested well during the NHL Draft combine and Edmonton’s preseason physicals, he was still a 6-foot-1, 175-pound 18-year-old (that reportedly weighed 161 pounds to start the 2010-11 season.) He defied all expectations by scoring at a near point-per-game clip through his first 40 contests, but injuries have limited him to just three games since Dec. 31.

With the Oilers season essentially over, Kypreos’ shut-down idea is an intriguing one — and it’s been done before, with impressive results.

The Los Angeles Clippers employed a similar strategy with Blake Griffin in 2009-10, shutting him down entirely after he suffered knee injury during L.A.’s final preseason game. He returned the next season and played all 82 games, earning an NBA All-Star spot and the league’s Rookie of the Year award.

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?