Chicago Blackhawks v Vancouver CanucksVancouver

On the possibility of Kesler to Chicago


Imagine a team with two Selke Trophy winners up front and a Norris Trophy winner on the blue line. Because that’s what the Chicago Blackhawks would be if they traded for Ryan Kesler.

In addition to Kesler, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith, the ‘Hawks would boast Marian Hossa, one of the best two-way wingers in the NHL, and Patrick Kane, one of the most gifted forwards in the game. Also, Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook, each good enough to win gold for Canada at the Olympics.

So…that would be a pretty good team.

Adding Kesler would also address one of the few weak spots on Chicago’s roster, the much-discussed second-line center hole that may have ultimately been the difference between losing to and beating the Los Angeles Kings in this year’s Western Conference finals.

Chicago is also one of the few teams to which Kesler is reportedly willing to be traded. The 29-year-old wants to win, and you can’t blame him, having suffered painful losses in both the 2010 Olympic gold-medal game and Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, i.e. the two biggest games a hockey player can play.

And for the Canucks, despite their previous heated rivalry with the ‘Hawks, trading him to Chicago may be more palatable than sending him to Anaheim, a division rival.

Kesler has two years left on his contract, with a very attractive cap hit of just $5 million. Granted, the ‘Hawks might have to shed some salary to fit him in. (Could they move Bryan Bickell? Johnny Oduya? Would they move Nick Leddy?) But if Stan Bowman really wants Kesler, one would think he could manufacture a way.

Which begs the big question: what could the ‘Hawks send the Canucks in return? Would Bowman part with a youngster like Brandon Saad? Because that’s the type of significant return Vancouver’s new general manager, Jim Benning, will be seeking. Benning just cannot afford to waste Kesler. And he shouldn’t have to.

Related: Kesler likes playing with Kane ‘a lot’

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?