Wade Megan

Back to Class: Boston U. and Boston College meet in Beanpot final once again

We’re taking you “Back To Class” for our roundup of the weekend’s action in college hockey. Look for more college hockey on NBCSN this Friday night as Dartmouth takes on Yale. 

After last Monday’s Beanpot Tournament semifinals, the two usual suspects get to square off one more time to see who the best college team in Boston is. When No. 1 Boston University and No. 5 Boston College square off tonight at TD Garden, it will mean that for the 19th straight year either one of those schools will take home the Beanpot trophy.

While the two sides don’t always wind up facing each other in the finals, they’ve been the two best teams in the city for a long time and it shows. BU has taken home the Beanpot 29 times while Boston College has won it a mere 16 times. For what it’s worth, Harvard and Northeastern have combined to win it just 14 times with Harvard winning 10 of those. Tonight’s game will feature 19 NHL drafted players (nine for BC, 10 for BU) so the talent level is pretty high too.

Whether you love the tournament for all the hate BC and BU have for each other and the tradition it has in Boston or hate it because there’s not enough variety in who wins, it makes for a good way to get warmed up for the conference playoffs and NCAA Tournament that will soon be on the way.

Elsewhere in college hockey:

Jon Merrill’s return for Michigan is helping spark the Wolverines to a big second half. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, Michigan and Michigan State split their weekend rivalry series. (CHN)

Maine upset UMass-Lowell on Saturday night to possibly derail Lowell’s hopes of taking over the No. 1 spot. (USCHO)

Your first team to 20 wins this season? Bet you wouldn’t have guessed Ferris State. (USCHO)

Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota split their nasty weekend series. (CHN)

Denver swept Minnesota this weekend to shake things up in the WCHA. (LetsGoDU)

Austin Smith just keeps scoring goals for Colgate. He had two more this weekend bringing his season total to 32. Austin for Hobey, anyone? (GoColgateRaiders)

Could the NCAA be merging the Division-I and Division-III championships to have them played in the same location starting in 2015? It’s being discussed. (D3hockey)

Video: Chris Kreider doesn’t just fight Cody Eakin, he hits him with his helmet

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Tuesday’s Dallas Stars – New York Rangers almost seemed destined to be a wild affair, and so far, the two teams aren’t disappointing.

For one thing, Chris Kreider and the Rangers were open about “not forgetting” Cody Eakin‘s hit on Henrik Lundqvist, something Eakin realized heading in. The Stars had their own irritations coming into this game, as they clearly weren’t happy with their loss to the Buffalo Sabres and their shaky play overall.

So, yeah, plenty of reason for this to be a rowdy affair.

Kreider is delivering in particular, with the most memorable moment being his strange fight with Eakin, which you can see above. SBNation’s Pat Iversen points out that Kreider probably should have been ejected for hitting Eakin with a piece of his equipment, a violation of Rule 53.

As many know, Kreider has even more of a reputation for “interacting” with goalies, as he did once again with Antti Niemi:

The Stars currently lead the game 5-3, so it’s been a busy one on the scoreboard, too.

Video: Maple Leafs lose Morgan Rielly after fall into boards

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Down 2-0 to the Buffalo Sabres, the Toronto Maple Leafs are off to a shaky start on Tuesday. Still, their concerns likely revolve the most around the health of defenseman Morgan Rielly.

As you can see from the video above, the young Buds blueliner was shaken up by an awkward spill into the boards.

It’s too early to know if he avoided injury or might miss some time, but there’s at least some concern that he might have aggravated an issue from before his NHL days:

We’ll need to wait and see, but with his offensive skills and overall importance in mind (average just under 23 minutes a game this season, more or less in line with his breakthrough year in 2015-16), the Maple Leafs are crossing their fingers that this isn’t anything major.

WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23:  Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck as he turns against Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center on December 23, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Avalanche defeated the Blackhawks 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Blackhawks need to put a tough weekend behind them; maybe the Colorado Avalanche are just what the doctor ordered.

Colorado is clearly ranked last in the league, whether they believe they have some assets in the likes of Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog or not. Perhaps there will be a few scouts on hand to see how such potential Avs trade targets perform against a contending team?

It’s rarely a dull night when the Blackhawks roll out talented players like Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Jonathan Toews – among others – so it should be a good time on NBCSN on Tuesday.

You can watch online or via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.

Short-lived return? No Tyler Ennis for Sabres tonight

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 25:  Tyler Ennis #63 of the Buffalo Sabres takes a shot on goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center on October 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Tyler Ennis‘ return to the Buffalo Sabres lineup on Monday after a 30-game absence seemed like a breath of fresh air. Tuesday, then, represents letting the air out of the balloon.

The Sabres announced that Ennis wasn’t out for warm-ups heading into tonight’s Sabres – Toronto Maple Leafs game. It certainly gives the impression that his groin injury isn’t fully healed.

Ennis contributed a goal to Buffalo’s 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars on Monday and nearly scored another in “lacrosse” style:

When healthy, he’s been a 20-goal, 40+ point player for Buffalo lately, so he was missed. The team tweeted out Ryan O'Reilly‘s comments about Ennis’ return mere hours ago, so you get the impression that it was a surprise for many:

Maybe it’s just a minor setback?

Update: The Sabres deem it a “precautionary scratch,” according to John Vogl of the Buffalo News. So maybe file this under minor setback. We’ll see.