Mike Sullivan

Rangers assistant Sullivan on Calgary’s head coaching radar?

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George Johnson of the Calgary Herald has an interesting theory regarding the Flames’ vacant head coaching gig, suggesting that current New York Rangers assistant Mike Sullivan could be at (or near) the top of the candidate list.

At 44, Sullivan would project the youngish, upwardly mobile image an exhausted, stale franchise keeps insisting it’s searching for. He therefore doesn’t come with a lot of baggage, but would arrive with NHL head-coaching experience already at his beck and call.

Sullivan, remember, skippered his home-state Boston Bruins for two seasons, sandwiched around the 2004-2005 lockout. In the first of those, he piloted the B’s to a 41-17-15-7 record, good for 104 points and top perch in the Northeast Division.

He was also highly regarded enough to be part of the U.S. setup for the Torino Olympics in 2006.

Other things working in Sullivan’s favor?

— He’s familiar with the city and organization. He spent three seasons playing in Calgary in the mid-90s.

— Sullivan worked for Flames GM Jay Feaster in Tampa Bay (as an assistant coach under John Tortorella.)

— He’s not that far removed from his playing days (former teammate of Daniel Briere, Shane Doan and Michal Handzus, among others.)

It’ll be interesting to see if the timing works out for Sullivan and the Flames. He’s unable to speak with any potential suitors until after New York’s playoffs are over and there’s a belief Feaster would like a coach in place prior to the draft.

That doesn’t leave a huge window of opportunity, especially if the Rangers advance to the Cup final.

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?