Adam Henrique

NHL rivalries live on in the AHL

One thing the lockout has helped do is cool off a few long-standing NHL rivalries as well as some budding ones as well. If there’s something NHL fans can take solace in, it’s that some of those wars rage on in the AHL with future league stars.

Rivalries between the Oilers-Flames, Devils-Flyers, Rangers-Islanders, and others all live on between the exiled young NHLers with those teams. For them, it provides a chance to improve themselves against equal competition.

For New Jersey Devils forward Adam Henrique (Albany Devils) playing against guys on the Flyers like Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, it doesn’t get old.

“That’s one of those rivalries that picks up over the course of the season. We play them, what, 12 or 13 times here so teams get really familiar with each other.”

“We’re familiar with each other. We know what they’re going to bring to the table each night. We know what we’re gonna bring. More often than not it’s going to be a hard-fought battle to the end of the game.”

The rivalry between the Devils and Flyers is tight in the NHL, but it’s the same way in the AHL with the two teams being separated by a relatively short drive for the minor leagues. Brayden Schenn says that just helps add to the flavor.

“We play ’em lots, we see ’em lots. We know what they’re all about and since they’re so close as well, about a 30-minute drive, it’s almost like you’re playing a home game.”

For a guy like Travis Hamonic, playing with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers, matching up against forward talent like that presents him with his own set of challenges.

“I like it, I really enjoy it,” Hamonic says of facing other NHL guys there. “Those are good young players that are in the same situation I’m in. It seems like every team’s got a few of those guys so for me I enjoy it. Those are guys I play against on a regular basis so it’s nice to be able to compete against them.”

Whenever the NHL does return, it’ll be good to see this kind of heat carry over for fans to relish in again.

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?