James O'Brien

David Backes’ boarding hit on Rene Bourque


David Backes avoided league discipline stemming from the hits/fight/general chaos he took part in against the Chicago Blackhawks. Will he find himself on the wrong side of the law this time around, though?

The St. Louis Blues’ snarly captain received a two-minute boarding penalty for his questionable check on Rene Bourque.

Video’s available in the clip above.

So, what do you think? Is the two-minute penalty enough, or should the league make him sit out a game or more?

The Blue Jackets ended up winning the game 3-1.

Video: Scary fall for Olli Maatta after Nino Niederreiter hit


Olli Maatta is a young player, but he’s already dealt with some seriously bad injury luck.

(And health luck, really, considering his cancer scare.)

Tuesday presented his latest bit of bad luck, as his scary fall following a Nino Niederreiter hit became especially unfortunate thanks to the Minnesota Wild bench being slightly open.

You can see that frightening fall in the video above.

No word yet on Maatta’s condition. This post will be updated when (or if) information becomes available.

Update: Still nothing official, but Pierre McGuire said that Maatta was taken out of the Consol Energy Center on a gurney.

Watch: Andersen allows long-distance goal, Bieksa loses tooth in fight

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Some hockey fans love fights. Others like bloopers. Plenty enjoy a beautiful goal.

Is the long-distance goal the closest thing to a unanimous favorite?

(The answer from a typical fan might be “As long as it’s not against my team.”)

Anyway, the latest goal from way downtown came from James Neal, who scored one that Frederik Andersen would like to forget. You can watch the video above.

Andersen ended up getting chased by Nashville.

Update: Here it is … goodness.

This GIF captures the moment in its infamy:


Schlemko sees similarities between Devils and last year’s Flames

If you’re looking for insight about scrappy teams, David Schlemko‘s a pretty good source.

The defenseman cut his teeth with the (then-Phoenix) Coyotes. Most recently, he played for the 2014-15 Calgary Flames and now the upstart New Jersey Devils.

You know that comparison between last season’s Flames and this year’s Devils? Schlemko told NHL.com that he could see it.

“I can see some similarities,” Schlemko said. “We’re a young team in here and going through a cliché ‘rebuild’ or whatever people want to call it. We’ve had a better start than people think. It’s a little early, here in November, to be talking about a playoff run but so far so good …”

As you can see in the video above, there are reasons to believe that this may not amount to much more than a month-and-change of better-than-expected play.

Perhaps the more interesting question may be: what happens if they stick with it? Could an unexpected run to the playoffs affect the “rebuild or whatever people want to call it” in some way?

We can’t watch this season’s Devils face last season’s Flames, so we’ll instead settle for both of the 2015-16 models squaring off on Tuesday night.

Blues’ Lehtera reportedly hospitalized after taking stick to throat

You know how the St. Louis Blues have distinguished themselves by shaking off a series of injuries? They’re going to get tested in that area … again.

The team announced that Jori Lehtera won’t return to Tuesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets thanks to an upper-body injury.

Beyond that, there’s no word regarding how severe this issue might be.

At this point, it’s genuinely getting tough to sort through all of the Blues’ injuries, yet they’ve generally found ways to win.

Their next game is on Thursday, so we’ll eventually find out if Lehtera will miss any additional time.

Update: Troubling news from TSN: Lehtera was reportedly hospitalized because of that high-stick.

NHL.com’s Lou Korac reports the same:

The official response is to delay.