Marcel Dionne

Kings, Devils faced humble early years


One could argue that the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils came a long way during this season alone, yet their earliest days were even more humbling.

The Los Angeles Times’ Chris Foster takes a fascinating look back at the first edition of the team, which was founded by Jack Kent Cooke in 1967. The flashy owner’s quirks manifested itself in team that fit the bill of a squad headquartered near Hollywood – in good ways and bad ways.

Cooke set out to woo Hollywood, and celebrities and starlets often were spotted at his table in the Forum Club.

“If we won, Mr. Cooke would bring Walter Matthau or Jack Lemmon into the locker room,” Wall said. “If we didn’t, it was just him.”

Sure, the Kings were an oddball organization at times, but the Devils took a strange path to being one of the league’s best-run franchises as well. As you may know, the franchise is currently in its third incarnation as the Devils share roots with the Kansas City Scouts (1974-76) and Colorado Rockies (1976-1982).

The awkward growth of that team famously manifested itself in 1983-84, when Wayne Gretzky called the Devils a “Mickey Mouse organization.” (As this Sporting News archived piece shows, Devils fans enjoyed trolling “The Great One” about it.) The Devils missed the playoffs for their first five seasons in New Jersey but have only missed the postseason three times since their first berth in 1987-88.

That’s the kind of success that can make it easy to laugh off those humble beginnings, yet veteran fans of each team could probably regale each other with plenty of anecdotes about more modest times.

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?