Marian Gaborik

Huge blow for Slovakia: Gaborik (broken collarbone) ruled out of Olympics


The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that forward Marian Gaborik will be unable to play for Slovakia at the 2014 Winter Olympics, as he’s yet to sufficiently recover from a broken collarbone.

“Marian has worked extremely hard and done everything possible to rehabilitate his injury and return to the ice with the hope of representing his country in Sochi,” said Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen.  “We share his deep disappointment that he will not be able to do so, but are optimistic that he will be fully recovered very soon.”

Gaborik, 31, was a key performer during Slovakia’s surprising fourth-place finish at the ’10 Winter Games in Vancouver, leading the team with four goals in seven games while averaging over 17 minutes a night.

He had five goals and 12 points for Columbus through the first 18 games of this season.

“I’m extremely disappointed that I won’t be able to play for Slovakia at the Olympic Games but understand the decision is the right one for my recovery and for the national team,” said Gaborik.  “I have been lucky and proud to represent my country at two Olympic Games and other international tournaments and look forward to doing so again in the future.”

Slovakia will have an extremely difficult time replacing Gaborik’s offense and overall pedigree. The country doesn’t have a wealth of NHL talent to choose from — all 13 active Slovaks in the league made the Olympic team, which includes Chicago sniper Marian Hossa and Boston captain Zdeno Chara. Isles defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky has already been ruled out of playing for the Slovaks because of concussion concerns.

According to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, former NHLer Branko Radivojevic will replace Gaborik on the Slovakian team. Radivojevic played in nearly 400 games with the Flyers, Coyotes and Wild before moving to the KHL in 2008-09.

UPDATE: According to the KHL, Radivojevic is indeed the replacement.

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

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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?