James O'Brien

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

The Killers, Green Day will help kick off World Cup of Hockey


Here’s something you don’t run into all that often when discussing music groups performing at NHL events: wondering who the bigger draw really is.

The league announced two remarkably relevant* performers for 2016 World Cup of Hockey-related festivities. At least relatively speaking.

First, on Sept. 16, the Killers will headline the “Pepsi World Cup of Hockey Premiere Party.”

Green Day will then perform a week later on Sept. 23 for the “World Cup of Hockey Celebration of Champions.”

(So, uh, the titles of these events are … a little less impressive than the star power on hand.)

Apparently Green Day’s performance will be the pop-punk band’s first live show in Canada in 2016.

You can read up on additional details in the press releases.

Now, to bully you with especially irrelevant songs from each group:

* – This being the Internet and especially with music being involved, commenters are virtually guaranteed to quibble with this. Enjoy:


Corey Perry replaces Jeff Carter for Canada at World Cup of Hockey


Well, that didn’t take very long.

About an hour or two after word surfaced that Jeff Carter won’t be able to suit up for Team Canada at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, we got word that Corey Perry will take his place.

When it comes to a hockey power like Canada, sometimes injury replacements almost feel like logical corrections. More than a few people probably wondered why Perry wasn’t on the roster in the first place.

(He’s a member of the Triple-Gold Club, after all.)

We’ve seen an early rush of players asking out or being knocked out of the competition; Carter joins David Krejci and probably Frederik Andersen as names who have been crossed off their respective countries’ lists as of Friday.

Perry and Carter are big bodies who can provide rare goal-scoring ability, so while they each have certain strengths and weaknesses in comparison to each other, it feels like a wash in the big picture.

This weekend may or may not inspire other injury announcements, as teams are likely getting into gear soon:

Naturally, injury updates are provoking the usual grumbling:

Report: Leafs will fly Frederik Andersen in for evaluation


This is just the Toronto Maple Leafs’ luck with goalies: they have to worry about Frederik Andersen‘s health before he’s even stopped a single puck for them.

(Check this post for more on the unfortunate moment when he was injured during Denmark’s Olympic qualifier match against Slovenia.)

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Andersen is being flown back from international competition so that the Maple Leafs’ own staff can take a look at the 26-year-old netminder. At the moment, it’s considered an upper-body injury with little additional information provided:

It’s reasonable to wonder if Andersen can play for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

The Maple Leafs took a leap of faith in handing Andersen a five-year, $25 million deal after trading for him this off-season. They must be holding their breath after this crash, then:

It’s been a heavy day of injury updates related to players possibly skipping the World Cup of Hockey, with Jeff Carter unable to play for Team Canada and David Krejci likely needing to skip representing the Czech Republic.

PHT will provide updates regarding Andersen’s condition.

It sounds like David Krejci won’t be able to play at World Cup of Hockey


One major risk of holding the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in September is that the tournament intersects with players who might be healing up from previous injuries.

(The summer is a great time to get closer to 100 percent, even if it costs training camp and maybe a few regular season games to do so …)

The names of players who cannot suit up for their respective countries/continents continue to trickle in. Earlier today, word surfaced that Jeff Carter probably won’t be able to go for Canada. Now it appears that lingering hip issues will prompt David Krejci to sit this one out, leaving behind a big role for the Czech Republic to fill.

Krejci, 30, underwent hip surgery around early May. The Boston Bruins stated that both Krejci and Torey Krug were doing well recovering from their operations in mid-July.

It’s unclear if Krejci will be good to go once the regular season begins – their season begins in Columbus on Oct. 13 – but it would make little sense for the scoring center to rush back.

This post will be updated if Krejci or the Bruins make this official, but it would be surprising these reports were dismissed.

It’s Toronto Maple Leafs day at PHT


In a lot of ways, the 2015-16 season represented more of the same for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The results were nearly identical to 2014-15, right down to finishing in the basement of the East (69 points last season, 68 the one the year before).

Indeed, Brendan Shanahan is probably correct in saying that the Maple Leafs earned the No. 1 pick “the hard way,” or at least “earned” the higher draft lottery odds that helped them land Auston Matthews.

The big question, really, is how long will fans be patient with the Maple Leafs taking baby steps in the right direction?


Naturally, the team tried to make more a leap forward in seeking Steven Stamkos and, to a less dramatic extent, Jimmy Vesey.

They fell short in those regards, but that doesn’t mean that management merely idled while hoping for improvements from in-house development.

The Maple Leafs made bold changes in net, ending the Jonathan Bernier era while betting big on Frederik Andersen and also bringing in a promising backup in Jhonas Enroth.

Beyond those big moves in net, the Maple Leafs made some minor adjustments. They handed surprising money and term to Matt Martin while taking short-term fliers on veterans Milan Michalek and Roman Polak.

On paper, this team still looks quite a few steps away from being a playoff contender, but perhaps we’ll start to see things come together?

A lot of that rides on the work of Matthews, Morgan Rielly and other young players (William Nylander, Mitch Marner) who may or may not make a lasting impact on the regular season roster.

Will the rebuilding plan start to pay dividends? PHT explores the iconic franchise on Tuesday.