Henrik Lundqvist

Lundqvist still in Sweden, still not playing

When Henrik Lundqvist left New York for Sweden three weeks ago, many figured he’d soon be playing in the Swedish Elite League.

Yet as of Thursday, he was still without a club — and antsy about the lack of work.

“Nothing has changed. I’m not going to play for Frolunda unless things change,” Lundqvist told the New York Post about joining his hometown club. “The longer I have to wait, obviously the more I want to join my brother [Joel] on Frolunda, but right now I’m sitting tight.”

(That would be Lundqvist’s identical twin brother, Joel. That’s right, ladies — there are two of ’em.)

Much of Lundqvist’s frustration comes from the Swedish league’s reluctance to sign locked-out NHLers.

Even though an anti-trust ruling by the Swedish Competition Committee forced the SEL to allow the signings of such players, teams haven’t exactly jumped at the opportunity.

Matt Duchene, Viktor Stalberg and Alex Steen are the only prominent signings thus far, with Swedish stars like Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Backstrom opting to join other leagues.

This trend sent Lundqvist into a Twitter frenzy on Wednesday:

“Trying to understand why the Swedish hockey league is the only league in the world which doesn’t want to see NHL players give back to the clubs which raised them.”

“Seeing many of our best players all around Europe and not in Sweden is for me personally a sign of weakness, not strength.”

“Is the NHL strike really a problem for the Elite League or should it be viewed as a glorious opportunity instead?”

(H/T to Puck Daddy, Linus Hugosson for translation.)

If he’s unable to latch on with Frolunda, it’s going to be awfully curious to see how Lundqvist reacts to such an extended break once NHL play resumes.

Though he’s coming off arguably the finest year of his career, he’s also now on the wrong side of 30 and hasn’t played a competitive game since May 25.

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?