Nail Yakupov

Top 5 stories of the 2012 NHL Draft


The 2012 NHL Draft may not have grabbed everyone’s attention, but it did leave us with some lasting memories and impressions. What were the biggest ones? Well, we think we know what’s best so here’s your official PHT Top 5 stories of the draft.

1. Nail Yakupov goes No. 1

There was a lot of debate whether or not Yakupov would be Edmonton’s pick at No. 1, but GM Steve Tambellini made the speculation seem silly when he grabbed the Sarnia Sting scoring phenom first overall. Now Yakupov gets to play with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, and Jordan Eberle to make up their own offensive flying circus.

2. Ray Shero sure knows how to spoil the home fans

GM Ray Shero made sure the home fans headed home ecstatic after Friday night’s first round. The Penguins came into the draft with just one pick at 21st overall in the first round. They left the draft dealing Jordan Staal to Carolina for a package that included the eighth overall pick as well as dealing Zbynek Michalek back to Phoenix for a pack of prospects. Well played, Shero.

3. Defense dominates the first round

We knew this draft was loaded with quality defensemen, what we didn’t know was just how many of them would wind up being first-round caliber guys. 13 blue liners went in the first round this year, tying the mark for most defensemen taken in the opening round back in 1996. For what it’s worth, that ’96 draft had notable picks like Ottawa’s Chris Phillips and… Uh… Andrei Zyuzin. Let’s just hope this draft class turns out a little better.

4. Columbus doesn’t deal Nash

We thought this might be the right time for the Blue Jackets and GM Scott Howson to deal Rick Nash. Yeah, about that… Turns out the right time for the Jackets to move him might be after Zach Parise finds a home after July 1. You know what they say about the best laid plans.

5. Luongo is still a Vancouver Canuck

Much like Nash, Roberto Luongo was shaping up to be a big name to be moved at the draft. While Luongo wasn’t traded, his name was thrown around a bit between Vancouver and Florida (of course). Panthers GM Dale Tallon says he’s listening but Canucks GM Mike Gillis says he himself is the guy getting in the way.

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?