Luca Sbisa

Anaheim’s Sbisa (ankle) out two weeks, questionable for opener

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Anaheim’s patchwork defense took another hit on Thursday as the club announced Luca Sbisa would be out for the remainder of the preseason, and is questionable to start the beginning of the year.

Sbisa, 23, has been a regular fixture on the Ducks blueline over the last two seasons, appearing in 121 of 130 games while averaging nearly 20 minutes a night. The former first-round pick (19th overall, 2008) injured his ankle during Anaheim’s preseason opener against Phoenix and didn’t play in Tuesday’s 6-0 loss to the Kings or Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Colorado.

As mentioned, it’s another hit for the Anaheim defense.

The club is already without the services of veteran Sheldon Souray, who tore wrist ligaments in August and could be out ’til the new year. While the club did scramble to sign Mark Fistric, it still lacks veteran presences on the blueline with the absence of Tony Lydman.

Lydman, 35, averaged over 20 minutes a night for the Ducks last year, but also suffered a concussion in their postseason series against Detroit that has sidelined him indefinitely. Lydman, currently a UFA, has received contract offers but is unsure he wants to resume playing.

There are also questions about whether Francois Beauchemin will be ready for the start of the year. He underwent torn ACL surgery in the offseason and is progressing well, but there are no guarantees he’ll be good to go for Oct. 2.

Update (5:15 p.m. ET)

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?