Max Pacioretty,  Thomas Vanek

Guy Lafleur: Guys like Vanek, Pacioretty fade under adversity


Max Pacioretty recently said that he has a difficult time taking criticism from people who have never scored a goal in the NHL, per’s Аrpon Basu. Then a Hall of Famer with 560 career goals offered a scathing assessment of him and forward Thomas Vanek.

“Guys like (Thomas) Vanek and (Max) Pacioretty, you don’t keep these guys on your team,” Guy Lafleur told La Presse. His quote was translated by the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs. “They should stay home if they’re not ready to pay the price. Your team will never win with players like this who fade when confronted by adversity.”

Vanek had five goals and 10 points in 17 playoff games while Pacioretty had 11 points. The duo combined for 66 goals and 128 points in the regular season.

For his part, Vanek suggested that he couldn’t find any chemistry once he was put on a line with Daniel Briere and Rene Bourque. Vanek didn’t end up logging more than 14 minutes in any of his final six games.

He is expected to test the unrestricted free agent market this summer.

As for Pacioretty, he still has five campaigns left in his six-year, $27 million contract, so he probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. That said, a $4.5 million annual cap hit is very appealing for a guy that has breached the 30-goal mark in each of the last two 82-game seasons, so in the unlikely event that Montreal did want to trade him, they wouldn’t have to work hard to find an interested party.

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?