Max Talbot Philly getty

NHL-laden “Tournée des Joueurs” begins Thursday


Philadelphia Flyers forward Max Talbot says he expects a sellout crowd on Thursday when he and fellow NHLers play in the inaugural game of “Le Tournée des Joueurs” — the player’s tour.

“It’s a way to keep in shape and raise some money for charity,” Talbot told the Montreal Gazette. “We hope to play twice a week on Thursday and Friday nights. We’ve had a lot of arenas around the province express interest in having games, and we’ll talk to the players and see what works best.”

The first game will take place at the Centre Multisports in Chageauguay, a suburb of Montreal. Players expected to participate in the contest include Talbot, Bruno Gervais, Brian Gionta, David Desharnais, Josh Gorges, Colby Armstrong, Simon Gagne, Kris Letang, Danny Briere, Alex Burrows, Marc-Andre Fleury, David Perron, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Mathieu Darche, Guillaume Latendresse and Steve Begin.

The tour will feature 20 minute periods and full five-on-five action, in an effort to simulate real games. The brainchild of Talbot and Gervais, the tour has received support from Joel Bouchard, an ex-NHLer that ran a similar “caravan” league during the 2004-05 work stoppage.

“Our format was a little different because we played 4-on-4, but we had 16 games over eight weeks and they were all sold out,” Bouchard told the Gazette. “I talked to Bruno and gave him some advice and wished them luck because he and Max are good guys who are involved in the community.”

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?