Devils hope Jagr can boost power play


Even with Ilya Kovalchuk in tow, the New Jersey Devils’ power play wasn’t very strong in 2013, with just 29 goals on the man advantage (tying them for 13th in the NHL). Despite losing that crucial piece, the team hopes to improve in that area next season, as they told the Bergen Record.

Many, including Dainius Zubrus, believe that adding Jaromir Jagr could make a big difference.

“He’s a good power-play guy. He’s done it for years and years,” Zubrus said “His hockey sense and his ability to make plays and his shot, all those things, he’s a great player. You give him a little (more) space and that’s what a power play does for you. It gives out a little bit of that extra space, extra time and guys like that make plays, make a difference.”

Really, though, the Devils’ best hopes for an improved PP mirror those of their offense as a whole: getting better by committee.

Kovalchuk generated 14 power-play points in 2013, the same as teammate Patrik Elias. Jagr was no slouch at 11 points, but perhaps they should be most excited about Michael Ryder, who generated a whopping 17 up a man during his stints with the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens.

Head coach Peter DeBoer preached the normal special teams spiel about getting big bodies in front of the net, so maybe the real wildcard is actually Ryane Clowe.

Clowe only managed four power-play points last season, yet he’s had his moments, including a whopping 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) on the PP with the San Jose Sharks in 2008-09.

Ultimately, it can go either way, but one could argue that the Devils may very well ice a dangerous special teams unit in 2013-14.

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?