James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

NHL gives Matt Calvert a one-game suspension; most say that is not enough

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The NHL punished Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert for viciously cross-checking Tom Kuhnhackl of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but few are satisfied with the one-game duration of the suspension.

Calvert received a two-minute minor penalty in that Game 2 win for Pittsburgh.

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The Department of Player Safety refers to cross-checking as a a “fairly common infraction” that is normally appropriately addressed by penalties. In this case, factors elevated it to a suspension: it was not a hockey play, even if the blow was “only delivered to the arm.” The league also believes that this falls into the category of message-sending by Calvert:

His lack of a suspension history helped his cause. Again, plenty of people find it to be an unsatisfying suspension.

Long story short: no Calvert for Game 3, but he can return in Game 4.

Defensemen make difference for Senators in tying series with Bruins

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Injuries are hurting the Boston Bruins, especially on defense. The Ottawa Senators’ defensemen put a hurt on the Bruins in Game 2, too.

Despite being hobbled himself, Erik Karlsson made a scintillating assist to send the contest into overtime.

Zdeno Chara‘s delay of game penalty came in the waning moments of regulation, and while the decisive goal wasn’t technically during a power play, Boston was in an awkward spot for Dion Phaneuf‘s hard shot.

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Boom. Just like that, the Senators rallied back from a two-goal deficit with three unanswered goals, tying the series at 1-1 after a 4-3 overtime win.

The Bruins managed to grab home-ice advantage in the series by taking Game 1, but there’s no denying that it must burn to realize that they held a two-goal lead (and a chance at a 2-0 series advantage) heading into the third period.

They’ll need to dig deep as the series shifts to Boston, much like Ottawa did in getting back into it with this Game 2 win.

Here are the West Finalists for Kraft Hockeyville

The nominations are in, and we have a Top Four for Kraft Hockeyville.

Watch the video above for more information on the two rinks that made it in the East and the two that will represent the West region.

The two East finalists can be seen here while the two West rinks that made it to the Top Four are:

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Pepsi Ice Center: Bloomington, IL

“Hockey is for everyone” at this rink, which serves hockey players of many age groups and skill levels.

Bloomington Ice Garden: Bloomington, MN

It makes sense to see “watch out for flying pucks” on the walls when you consider some of the talent cultivated at this rink, including some (now-bearded) fellow named Brent Burns.

To find out more, including details regarding prizes and individual vignettes for each location, visit krafthockeyville.com.

Here are the East Finalists for Kraft Hockeyville

The nominations are in, and we have a Top Four for Kraft Hockeyville.

Watch the video above for more information on the two rinks that made it in the East and the two that will represent the West region.

The two East rinks that made it to the Top Four are:

Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena: Geneseo, NY

A building that’s stood for more than 50 years is beginning to show its age.

The Rostraver Ice Garden: Belle Vernon, PA

Eight months after the roof collapsed back in 2010, the community made sure this busy rink was up and running again. Even so, this is another building that could use some upgrades.

To find out more, including details regarding prizes and individual vignettes for each location, visit krafthockeyville.com.

Suter: Wild will ‘find out what we’re made of’

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You’d need to be delusional to deny that the Minnesota Wild are in a tough spot after Friday’s loss.

They’re now down 2-0 in their first-round series against the Blues, and with both defeats at home, it means they need to get back into this bout with Games 3 and 4 in St. Louis.

Jake Allen‘s been playing at an absolutely elite level, going on one of those tears that can really frustrate a team. The Wild, for their part, are at least saying the right things.

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“This series is long from over,” Chris Stewart said. “There’s no quit in this locker room.”

That doesn’t mean that there’s no room for improvement. After generating a massive advantage in shots on goal in Game 1, chances were fairly even on Saturday, with the Blues getting a late goal to win 2-1.

Zach Parise has, essentially, been the only player who’s been able to beat Allen, an unusual sign for a Wild team that’s enjoyed deploying waves of attackers during their best moments. At least they know that they need to ramp things up.

A playoff series can get away from you fast, particularly after burning home games. The Wild are at least making the right statements about showing urgency, but we’ll find out what they’re “made of” soon enough.

Check out the recap of Game 2 here.