Lightning hand Bishop a two-year, $11.9M extension


The Tampa Bay Lightning answered one of their biggest lingering questions on Saturday, signing goalie Ben Bishop to a two-year contract extension. The financial details haven’t been made official, but ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that it’s worth $11.9 million overall (or $5.95 million per season).

In other words, it’s a lot like the contract Sergei Bobrovsky received from Columbus after he won the 2013 Vezina Trophy. Bishop gets paid as an essentially elite goalie, yet that limited term also means he needs to “prove it” to gain greater security.

The 27-year-old netminder has one year remaining on a deal that carries a $2.3 million cap hit, so this extension keeps the large goalie under contract through the 2016-17 campaign.

Bishop enjoyed a breakthrough 2013-14 season, generating a sterling 37-14-7 record while notching a strong .924 save percentage to go with five shutouts. His injury-related absence was glaring during the 2014 postseason; Anders Lindback struggled mightily as the Montreal Canadiens dispatched the Bolts in four games.

Even so, Bishop’s resume is pretty skinny; the American goalie only has 108 games of NHL experience and never played in more than 22 games before the 2013-14 campaign.

This gives the Lightning plenty of time to evaluate their goaltending situation, which could get quite interesting if 2012 first-rounder (19th overall) Andrei Vasilevskiy ends up justifying the hype. Tampa Bay invested in experienced backup Evgeni Nabokov during this offseason, yet the big-picture No. 1 battle is expected to eventually come down to Bishop vs. Vasilevskiy (with apologies to Kristers Gudlevskis).

By agreeing to this “bridge deal,” the Lightning won’t need to rush such a decision, even if they’re paying a premium in the short term.

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?