Alexander Steen #20 of the St. Louis Blues is introduced prior to playing against the Detroit Red Wings at the Scottrade Center on January 19, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.
(January 18, 2013 - Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America)

NHL on NBCSN: Sharks, Blues gear up for 2012 playoff rematch


NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the St. Louis Blues host the San Jose Sharks at the Scottrade Center at 8:00 p.m. ET.

In January, the Sharks could do no wrong thanks in part to an explosive offense led by forwards Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Joe Pavelski.

They earned seven straight victories that month – and they haven’t won since. Instead, San Jose has a 0-4-3 record in February and the trio that instilled fear into goaltenders earlier this season has combined for just four points this month.

Still, Sharks GM Doug Wilson is preaching patience.

“There are other teams that have gone through phases of losing some games, other very good, talented teams out there that are not on top of their game to the level they want to be,” Wilson said.

Until recently, Wilson might have been referring to their opponents tonight.

The Blues also got off to a hot start this season only to struggle in February. They lost five straight games, in part because starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak suffered a groin injury and netminder Brian Elliott was lit up in his absence.

However, the Blues bounced back with 22-year-old goaltender Jake Allen between the pipes. Halak has recovered as well, although Allen will start tonight, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.

With St. Louis rising and San Jose looking for answers, the Sharks probably wish this meeting was under different circumstances. This is the two squads’ first match since the Blues dismissed San Jose in the first round of the 2012 playoffs.

Just a few weeks ago, the Sharks could have used this game to prove that they’ve moved past their 2012 shortcomings. Now they are limited to a far more basic need: Two points.

Probable goaltenders: STL – Allen (3-0-0, 2.76 GAA, .888 SV%) | SJS – Antti Niemi (6-2-3, 1.94 GAA, .930 SV%)

Top scorers: STL – Alexander Steen (4-11-15, 15 GP) | SJS – Marleau and Thornton are tied with 15 points in 14 games.

Notable Injuries:
St. Louis – Forwards: Jamie Langenbrunner (hip)
San Jose – Forwards: James Sheppard (lower body), Andrew Desjardins (illness)

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby

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Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

You can watch all three goals in the video above.

It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.

Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

John Tortorella

Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

(He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.


Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’


Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).