The pressure is on Oilers GM Tambellini


Under Steve Tambellini’s watch as the General Manager of the Edmonton Oilers, the team has fully embraced their youth movement. They’ve drafted first overall picks Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who, along with Jordan Eberle, should be an intimidating trio for years to come. Throw in whoever the Oilers get with the first overall pick in 2012 – be it with the pick itself or as part of a trade – and things are looking up for Edmonton.

That’s one way of looking at it at least. The other is that the Oilers have been horrendous under Tambellini’s watch and basically the only thing going for them is that the draft lottery has served them well. After all, while you can applaud Tambellini for his draft choices, it’s not as if he flew in the face of conventional wisdom when he took Hall or Nugent-Hopkins and if you don’t give him credit for that duo, then what are his noteworthy accomplishments thus far?

Ultimately, while the Edmonton Oilers have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future, they are not yet a fully realized team. That might be a problem because typically a fanbase will only tolerate a rebuilding effort for so long before they start to turn on their GM. It seems like that might be the concern in Edmonton as Tambellini dismisses head coach Tom Renney and talks about the need to do better.

“I’m not going to dissect Tom as a coach. He’s a good man, a good coach,” said Tambellini. “We’re just trying … to get better. We need to get better as an organization. Better as a management staff. Better as a coaching staff. Better as players.”

This will be a key summer for the Oilers as they try to transition from a rebuilding squad into a legitimate contender. If they stumble, Renney might not be the only one dismissed in Edmonton.

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?