James O'Brien

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

Video: Should Tkachuk be suspended for elbow on Doughty?


There’s no denying that Drew Doughty believes that Matthew Tkachuk‘s elbow from Sunday was dirty (and that Keith’s son is a “pretty dirty player” in general). What should the league do about it, though?

Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports that the phone hearing concluded on Monday, though it’s unclear when the NHL will actually announce a decision.

Brian Boucher and Keith Jones discusses what kind of punishment – if any – is warranted for the Calgary Flames forward’s hit on the Los Angeles Kings defenseman. You can watch it in the video above this post’s headline.

Marchand looks like he’s in a video game setting up Backes goal

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It’s tempting to focus on Brad Marchand‘s goal-scoring ability, but he’s in the running for the Art Ross Trophy because of some great playmaking skills, too.

He made that point with a pretty astounding assist on Monday, looking as if he was some sort of unrealistically over-powered video game player in setting up David Backes‘ 1-0 tally during tonight’s big game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Watch Marchand’s 43rd assist and 80th point of 2016-17:

The NHL’s first star of the week doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Here’s the helper in GIF form, if that’s your preference.

Capitals re-assign 2015 second-rounder Siegenthaler from Zurich to AHL


The Washington Capitals re-assigned defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler from Zurich in the Swiss league to the AHL on Monday.

Siegenthaler takes the next step to the big time as a second-rounder (57th pick) from 2015.

He actually managed to get a little bit of AHL experience last season, generating an assist in six games. In 28 games so far in 2016-17, Siegenthaler had a goal and six assists for seven points.

From the sound of his Hockey’s Future “talent analysis,” the 19-year-old defenseman boasts the sort of skills that could translate very well to the modern style:

Siegenthaler plays the game of a defensive defenseman. He has soft hands, handles the puck with care and keeps his plays simple. The good-sized Siegenthaler is a smooth skater with tremendous mobility. He makes soft passes, but lacks strength in them and needs to work on his timing for longer stretch passes. The missing power also hurts his shooting abilities and gives him only limited offensive upside.

WATCH LIVE: Buffalo Sabres at Detroit Red Wings

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The Buffalo Sabres will make their final visit to Joe Louis Arena to face the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, airing on NBCSN.

The Sabres are closing off a four-game road trip, having beaten the Ducks in a shootout on Friday (just their third win since Feb. 19). Meanwhile, the Red Wings aim for their third consecutive victory.

You can watch Jack Eichel & Co. take on Henrik Zetterberg and the Red Wings on NBCSN, watch it online and also via the NBC Sports App.

Click here to watch the livestream.

Blue Jackets tie for Metro lead, but Isles’ loss isn’t all bad news for Capitals


Thomas Greiss did what he could – and helped the New York Islanders earn a “charity point” – but eventually he couldn’t contain Cam Atkinson and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

John Tavares scored the goal that sent a fairly one-sided game (Columbus generated a 38-22 shot advantage) to overtime, but ultimately the Blue Jackets edged the Islanders 3-2 in OT on Saturday afternoon.

With that, a variety of races get more interesting. Let’s begin with the top of the Metro (and generally the top of the East/NHL):

1. Capitals- 98 points, 70 games played
2. Blue Jackets – 98 points, 70 GP
3. Penguins – 97 points, 70 GP

Yes, that’s a tight squeeze, especially since both Washington and Columbus boast 44 regulation/overtime wins, the first tiebreaker. One would think that the Blue Jackets winning in overtime was a totally crummy break for the Caps, but there is this fun caveat: with a victory tonight, the Caps can be the league’s first team to clinch a trip to the playoffs.

As far as the three-team race for the top spots in the Metro goes, some teams will get more of an opportunity to “control their own destiny” than others:

The Blue Jackets thwarted the Islanders’ attempt to climb back into the East’s final wild card spot:

Final wild card: Maple Leafs: 78 points in 69 GP

Islanders: 78 in 71 GP
Lightning: 77 in 70 GP

Yeah, that’s a skin-tight race too, with this loss really stinging for an Islanders team that now must watch the Bolts and Maple Leafs while biting their nails a bit more.