James O'Brien

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

Hogging the puck paid off this time around for Bruins against Red Wings


The Boston Bruins have struggled during much of the 2016-17 season, something that’s been extra-frustrating since they’ve often excelled in areas friendly to “fancy stats.”

With that in mind, Bruins fans were probably quite frustrated at times on Tuesday.

Boston generated a 21-7 shot advantage on the Detroit Red Wings in the first period, yet only enjoyed a 2-1 lead. They out-shot Detroit 47-24 in regulation but were still forced to overtime at 3-3.

Then again, maybe it was for the best, as David Pastrnak scored his 20th goal of the 2016-17 season … to end a 17-game streak without a goal.

Much like the Bruins’ own four-game losing streak, just looking at one thing (wins for Boston, goals alone for Pastrnak) ignores some of the good stuff. Pastrnak had been getting assists here and there, while the Bruins were, again, firing a lot of shots on goal, usually more than their opponents.

It finally came together tonight, though not in the easiest way considering their need to win it beyond regulation.

We can only guess at how much this win eases the pressure on Claude Julien and increases the Bruins’ playoff chances, but it’s better than dropping another frustrating loss, particularly not all that far removed from a Red Wings loss that likely frustrated scores of B’s devotees.

And hey, there was also pizza as a reward.

Kings chase Schneider, beat Devils for much-needed win


Winning to close off a back-to-back set isn’t exactly easy, but the Los Angeles Kings needed to take this one.

They headed into Tuesday night on a four-game losing streak, at times dealing with an inability to finish scoring chances and an equally frustrating tendency to let in soft goals. They got what they needed against the New Jersey Devils, however, taking this one 3-1.

So, does that mean that the Kings stopped tweeting pictures of Darryl Sutter to express their sadness?

Well, kind of.

Hey, they’re not out of the woods yet.

With Jonathan Quick not expected to be back for at least another month and change, the Kings seem to have to live or die by Peter Budaj‘s work. In this case, he redeemed himself, though he enjoyed a break or two:

His fortunate moments included a non-call that could be used a frustration GIF during a squabble on social media:

The Kings lost the first two games of their five-game road trip, so this win was pretty important. They can’t celebrate for too long, however, as they play six of their next seven on the road and only enjoy three home games in their next 11 contests.

Senators upset Capitals on night they honor Bryan Murray


Don’t be surprised if the Ottawa Senators bring a little extra emotion to Tuesday’s game against the Washington Capitals.

The team made a wonderful gesture tonight, making long-time executive (spending much of his time as an executive and GM) Bryan Murray the first inductee into the Senators’ “Ring of Honor.” He’s currently in an advisory role with the team as he struggles with cancer.

The tribute video celebrates his 35 years of involvement in the NHL:

Update: Attribute it to that emotional night or Mike Condon‘s continued brilliant play … but the Senators ended up beating the mighty Capitals 3-0 to end Washington’s 14-game point streak on Tuesday. Wow.

Vegas Golden Knights owner says they may hire coach before end of season


Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley wouldn’t admit that competition over Gerard Gallant explains why the team might hire its first head coach sooner than some expected.

Debates regarding a possible catalyst for an accelerated choice aside, it’s possible that decision could come before the end of the 2016-17 campaign, as Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

“At this point, I’d say it’s 50-50 we have our head coach in place before the season’s over,” Foley said.


Management indicated that a head coach would be in place in late spring, according to Carp, so this would move things up at least a fair bit.

Of course, on the other hand, waiting until the regular season ends – or maybe even through a round or two of the playoffs – would likely give the Golden Knights a wider array of choices (though that would also open the door for more teams to seek those candidates).

The looming presence of the Golden Knights’ expansion draft may already make the trade deadline more dramatic and more complicated, but coaching considerations are another way the team can make an impact on other NHL franchises even before they’re truly in the mix.

(H/T to The Score.)

Would Blues trade Shattenkirk? GM says ‘all bets are off’ if losing continues

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During an appearance on NBCSN last week, hockey insider Bob McKenzie mentioned that continued struggles could prompt the St. Louis Blues to trade Kevin Shattenkirk.

When asked by Hockey Central at Noon on Tuesday, Blues GM Doug Armstrong didn’t exactly shoot down the idea of trading Shattenkirk (and maybe some other assets?) if St. Louis doesn’t get it together.

“If we’re stumbling along like this, then all bets are off,” Armstrong said. “We don’t want to keep players here, hope to sneak into eighth place and get hammered in the first round.”

Yep, that basically follows McKenzie’s update note for note. As you can see in this video, McKenzie mentions that Shattenkirk is also more willing to explore different options, including the possibility of being a “rental” rather than signing an extension wherever he goes.

So, it seems like the Blues might be open for business (or at least willing to open up shop if things don’t turn around soon).

With that in mind, what would be a reasonable price for Shattenkirk and what are the Blues asking for? Perhaps we’ll need to wait and see if we get a little more information in that regard soon.

You know, unless the Blues began a run with tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, of course.