James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.
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Leafs ruin Reimer’s return to Toronto with rout

In more than 200 regular season games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, James Reimer enjoyed some great moments. Even so, many look back at his time with mostly bad memories.

His first game against the Maple Leafs with the Florida Panthers did little to erase such thoughts in Toronto.

Reimer absorbed all six Leafs goals as his former team ruined his Toronto reunion 6-1 on Thursday. With that, Reimer is now 2-3-1 as Roberto Luongo‘s highly paid understudy in Florida.

Connor Brown scored twice and flirted with a hat trick. Mitch Marner‘s tremendous “triple-deke” goal can be seen here, his seventh of 2016-17. James van Riemsdyk might be on an even hotter streak, connecting for his eighth of the season.

On the other end of the ice, Frederik Andersen continues to get his bearings in Toronto’s net, only allowing a single tally.

If Maple Leafs fans wonder what could have been with Reimer, they at least likely weren’t daydreaming about that too wistfully on Thursday.

Video: Ben Bishop shows how you clean up your own mess

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Even the best puck-handling goalies have a tendency to raise their fans’ collective blood pressure with the occasionally ill-advised jaunt away from their nets.

Ben Bishop ranks as one of the best-passing goalies in the NHL right now, yet the double-edged sword is that he can be a little, um, adventurous at times. Whether his journeys are worth it overall or not is probably a debate for number-crunchers (and maybe an occasionally tense film session).

Bishop suffered one of those gaffes on Thursday, but in this case, the big goalie managed to make a highlight-reel save to avoid disaster. Watch that exciting/scary moment in the video above this post’s headline.

Senators lose Bobby Ryan (and lose big to Predators)

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Are the Ottawa Senators primed to be the next team to suffer a wave of injuries?

The Senators were already without important (if struggling) forward Mike Hoffman against the Nashville Predators on Thursday; now they’ll play the remainder of tonight’s game without Bobby Ryan.

The team’s official announcement is that it’s an upper-body injury. They didn’t give an indication regarding how serious the ailment might be, at least beyond it ending his night early.

TSN’s Steve Lloyd wonders if it might be a hand issue, which is especially cruel to Ryan, who apparently fought through similar issues the past two seasons.

For a guy who lives off his nifty hands like Ryan, you wonder how much more productive he might be if he had a little better luck in this area.

Perhaps this time it will be a mere bump in the the road …

Update: It was a rough night for the Senators either way, as the Nashville Predators clobbered them 5-1. James Neal continued his hot streak:

The Senators aren’t sure about Ryan’s status, although this cryptic comment is a little troubling.

Video: Mighty Mitch Marner with a triple-deke beauty

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When Auston Matthews exploded onto the scene with his four-goal game, a lot of Toronto Maple Leafs opponents were quick to note that Mitch Marner was looking great, too.

Marner’s work probably won’t sneak up on hockey fans much longer.

He gets bonus cool points on his goal on Thursday, which reminds many of the “triple deke” fun from the Mighty Ducks movies.

ESPN’s John Buccigross captured that part in GIF form:

Watch the goal in its full beauty in the video below. He already has seven goals in 2016-17.

Bruised Blues: Tarasenko can play, but Steen is out

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Both Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen were game-time decisions for the St. Louis Blues against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, with Tarasenko getting the green light while Steen can’t go.

Steen likely suffered his ailment thanks to a hit by Buffalo Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges (which prompted a memorable response by Robby Fabbri).

Ty Rattie and Robert Bortuzzo (who was just activated off of IR) are the only scratches for the Blues tonight.

Nail Yakupov gets a chance to cement his place in the lineup by drawing back in.