Blues re-sign Bouwmeester: five years, $27 million


The St. Louis Blues made a big move on Thursday, signing defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to a five-year, $27 million contract extension — ensuring he won’t go to free agency when his current deal expires at the end of 2013-14.

The extension is interesting on a number of fronts.

One is the timing perspective — St. Louis completed it prior to (or, made it a higher priority than) re-upping with prized RFA defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who has been without a contract since July.

According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Bouwmeester deal apparently won’t affect any future contract for Pietrangelo.

Also intriguing is the amount of money St. Louis has locked into its defense.

The Blues are carrying Bouwmeester’s extension, Kevin Shattenkirk’s four-year, $17 million deal, Roman Polak’s five-year, $13.75 million deal, Barret Jackman’s three-year, $9.5 million deal and Jordan Leopold’s two-year, $4.5 million deal.

Add it all up, and the Blues are now spending $3.3 million per defenseman, according to CapGeek — the fourth-highest total in the NHL.

And that’s without Pietrangelo.

Another interesting wrinkle? Bouwmeester is taking a pay cut to stay with the Blues.

His current deal carries a $6.68 million cap hit (a five-year, $33.4 million contract originally signed with Calgary in 2009) whereas his new one comes in at $5.4 million annually.

With the extension, St. Louis has the 29-year-old rearguard under contract until 2018-19.

Bouwmeester was acquired by the Blues prior to last season’s trade deadline and appeared in 14 games for the club, scoring seven points.

He also made his playoff debut in St. Louis’ opening-round series loss to the Kings, averaging 25:08 TOI per game — second only to Pietrangelo.

This is the second five-plus-year deal Bouwmeester has signed over the course of his career. Combined with his first contracts in Florida, he projects to make $72.9 million in lifetime NHL earnings, also according to CapGeek.

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?