Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara

Thomas, Chara and Bergeron skip Ottawa trip, won’t play Thursday


Tomorrow’s Boston-Ottawa tilt was supposed to be a postseason preview.

Instead, it’ll be more like the preseason.

The Bruins announced that captain Zdeno Chara, starting goalie Tim Thomas and second-leading scorer Patrice Bergeron won’t make the trip to Ottawa and, ergo, won’t face the Senators.

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk also didn’t travel with the team, but that was due to his injured leg that required an MRI.

The big news is that Boston’s resting three of its most important players against a division rival and likely first-round opponent (Boston is the No. 2 seed; Ottawa almost locked into No. 7.)

That said, it’s not an entirely surprising move.

One, the Bruins have played a ton of hockey over the last 12 months with Chara (25:02 a game), Bergeron (18:34) and Thomas (58GP) among the busiest. Two, they’re locked into second place and unable to gain anything from the Ottawa game. Three, why bother giving the Senators a free shot at any of your stars?

The interesting thing to watch moving forward is how other potential first-round opponents handle their regular-season finales. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (the East’s likely 4-5 matchup) face off in the regular season finale on Apr. 7; the top-seeded Rangers play Washington — currently battling for eighth — in the last game of the year as well.

Out West, current No. 5 seed Detroit hosts No. 6 Chicago on Saturday (the ‘Hawks are just one point back of the Wings) while current No. 7 seed Phoenix plays No. 2 St. Louis on Friday.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
Leave a comment

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
1 Comment

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?