Charlie Coyle

AHL boss on prospect Coyle: “He’s going to make an impact on the Wild”


If John Torchetti is right, Charlie Coyle will play a big role in Minnesota this season.

“He’s going to make an impact on the Wild for two reasons,” said Torchetti, who’s currently coaching Coyle in AHL Houston. “He’s no-maintenance, high-character and he is so good, so willing defensively.”

Torchetti knows what it takes to be successful in the pros. He’s been a head coach in both Florida and Los Angeles and an assistant in Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Chicago, winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010.

In Coyle, Torchetti sees a player primed to make an impact in the NHL this season (whenever it begins.)

The 20-year-old center is lighting it up for the Aeros, leading the team in scoring while being dubbed the “most consistent, complete forward night in and night out since the start of the year.”

The Wild acquired Coyle from San Jose in last June’s Brent Burns-Devin Setoguchi trade. A year earlier, San Jose made Coyle the 28th overall selection of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, then watched him score 26 points in 37 games as a freshman at Boston University.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson was loathe to move such a highly-skilled talent, but knew he had to give to get Burns.

Here’s more, from the Sporting News:

When Wilson alerted Coyle that he’d been dealt, he handed the phone over to Sharks director of scouting Tim Burke, one of the NHL’s best talent evaluators. He’s probably the guy in the organization who knows Coyle best, and there was real emotion on the other line as Burke relayed the reasoning behind the deal.

“They were saying, ‘This is pretty emotional. We don’t want to do this,’ ” Coyle told Sporting News.

The Wild are glad they did.

Head coach Mike Yeo and Aeros GM Jim Mill told the Minnesota Star-Tribune that Coyle has a major chance of making the Wild if/when the lockout ends.

“He’s adapted to the pro game so quickly,” Mill said.

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?