CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 10: Dave Bolland #36 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates during player introductions before a game against the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center on March 10, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Hawks have Chicago’s attention – can they finish what they’ve started?


After their second straight regulation loss, the Chicago Blackhawks admitted that the condensed schedule might finally be catching up to them.

“We’ve had a lot of games in the past 11 days,” Patrick Kane said in an ESPN report. “I think it’s seven games. So maybe there’s a little excuse there.”

He’s right, and that stretch included three one-game road trips.

In the grand scheme of things, a two-game losing streak is hardly a big deal, especially given the cushion the Blackhawks have given themselves. And yet, by the same token everything the Blackhawks do has been magnified by their success.

It wasn’t that many years ago that the Blackhawks were, as broadcaster Pat Foley put it in a NBC Sports report, “irrelevant,” but that’s changed.

Since Jonathan Toews was drafted in 2006 and Kane in 2007, a chain reaction has started that’s led to 203 consecutive sold out contests, incredible television ratings, and – oh yeah – the Stanley Cup in 2010, their first since the 1960s.

Their historic 24-game points streak is the latest in a running list of accomplishments that’s reconnected the Blackhawks to their city.

Expectations are high in Chicago this season and the playoffs aren’t far off either.

The Blackhawks are starting a stretch of off-days and will enjoy a similar stretch from March 21-24. That will give them a chance to rest up and prepare for the monumental task of finishing what they’ve started.


Streak over, but Hawks winning over Chicago’s heart

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?