Evander Kane

Evander Kane expected to play in big test for Jets


Evander Kane left Wednesday’s practice favoring his right leg, but the 22-year-old Jets forward is expected to play tonight against the visiting, and very good, St. Louis Blues.

Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel provided the Kane update today. The Jets (3-4-0) have lost four of five after winning their first two, so the news that one of their best forwards’ injury isn’t serious is most welcome.

As for Noel, he’s feeling the heat as his team continues to struggle for consistency.

From Winnipeg Free Press columnist Gary Lawless:

There’s no questioning Noel is in a tough spot. His GM has just been signed to a fresh five years and the bulk of his core players are also on long-term deals.

The coach, however, has only this year and next left on his deal, exposing him to be the first in line should change be deemed necessary.

The players, should Noel get a little too pushy for their liking, can tune him out. The GM, who has spent the last two years locking these players up with deals that stretch as long as seven years, likely won’t want to hear the skaters are the problem.

Leaving Noel to walk a tightrope and still find a way to get results from this group.

Also worth noting: Winnipeg played five of its first seven games at the raucous MTS Centre — a schedule that could have helped the Jets to a good start. Instead, there have been home losses to Anaheim, Dallas and Montreal.

After the St. Louis game, the Jets host the Predators Saturday and Capitals Tuesday then hit the road for a four-game trip to Nashville, Dallas, Colorado and St. Louis.

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?