Leon Draisaitl

Oilers’ Draisaitl makes an argument to start in NHL


Leon Draisaitl is the latest in what’s become a long line of Edmonton Oilers top-five draft picks. What makes the 2014 third overall selection a bit different doesn’t just come from his size but his maturity.

During the Oilers development camp, Draisaitl talked about what it would be like to make the Oilers roster right out of training camp.

As Chris Wescott of the Oilers’ website shared, he’s also got a very mature take on how he and other 2014 draft picks should be judged  out of camp.

“I think it is a learning process for any 18-year-old kid,” Draisaitl said. “But at the same time, I think if a player is ready to play and step in and make an impact, then why wouldn’t you let him play and give him a chance? I think there’s a lot of players who aren’t ready and come in to training camp, they’re young, and that’s usually every 18-year-old kid is not as strong as an NHL player. I think it’s a learning process, but if a player is ready and he wants to make an impact, then there is no way you can get around letting him play.”

Are we sure he’s not a veteran player disguised as a hot NHL prospect? From that it sounds like Draisaitl isn’t just making the case for himself to stick around in Edmonton but also arguments for fellow top picks Aaron Ekblad in Florida and Sam Reinhart in Buffalo.

The Oilers haven’t been shy about starting draft picks in the NHL right away. Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov all jumped from the draft stage to the NHL right away. With Draisaitl’s skills he very well could be joining them in Edmonton next season.

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?