Zach Parise, Ryan Suter

Report: Wild successfully lobby NHL, will open at home on Hockey Day in Minnesota


The new-look Minnesota Wild will open the regular season with a home date against the Colorado Avalanche — but it didn’t come without persuasion, according to the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo.

An earlier report said the Wild would open at Colorado, meaning Zach Parise and Ryan Suter would make their Minnesota debuts on the road.

That’s something the Wild weren’t thrilled with, given owner Craig Leipold spent like crazy this summer to bring Parise and Suter aboard, a move he called “a game changer.”

Here’s more, from Russo:

The Wild’s opener was going to be AT Colorado on Jan. 19.

It is now back at home after the Wild made its case to the league that the team should open at home on the day this sport is celebrated in the great state of Minnesota. The league, after flipping some things around, has worked to accomodate the request.

So as of now, … barring any other changes, the Wild is expected to open at home Jan. 19 against Colorado.

Russo notes the NHL schedule “has had a lot of moving parts” and things are still subject to change.

But it’s safe to assume this Wild game will go on as reported, and the Hockey Day in Minnesota tie-in probably played a role.

The event is an all-day affair celebrating various levels of in-state play. The Wild-Avalanche game will be preceded by a pair of high school contests, then a game between the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers — the top-ranked team in collegiate hockey — and rivals North Dakota.

For all the latest on potential Jan. 19 opening night games, click here.

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?