Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators

Report: Flames expected to try out Brookbank


Sheldon Brookbank expressed some hope in returning to the Chicago Blackhawks next season, but it appears he’ll settle for a training camp tryout with the Calgary Flames, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc.

“The Hawks said that they liked me and they’d like to have me back if it worked but obviously they’re a little strapped under the cap,” Brookbank said on Friday. “It didn’t quite pan out as I’d hoped. It’s not to say that it’s totally over and done with. You never know what could happen from now until the start of the season. As for now, I’m moving on and I’m going to Calgary and I’m going to try to make their team.

The best way to describe Brookbank is as a depth defenseman. The tougher question comes down to whether or not he’s a useful sixth or seventh blueliner.

On one hand, he seemed to draw a pretty positive reaction from Blackhawks onlookers. Second City Hockey gave him a “B-” for his work in 2013-14:

The Blackhawks got about as much as they could have asked for from Sheldon Brookbank this past season.  He is exactly what you want in your 7th defenseman.  He is a veteran presence, who is responsible in his own end and will provide some physical play when needed.  It was the physical part of his game that had him dressed for all five regular season matchups versus the St. Louis Blues.

Of course, you could say that Brookbank was graded “on a curve,” as Habs Eyes on the Prize found that he was one of the most sheltered defenseman in the league last season, receiving favorable zone starts and arguably being propped up by teammates.

That said, grabbing meaningful minutes with the Blackhawks is likely quite a bit tougher than doing the same with the Flames, so it’s easy to see why the 33-year-old may get some consideration.

He put up respectable possession stats for a bottom pairing defenseman and could provide useful veteran insurance for the Flames next season (at least if he impresses during his tryout).

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?