James O'Brien

John Klingberg

John Klingberg can’t be ignored, especially after Saturday


The Dallas Stars already have two of the highest scoring forwards in Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, but don’t sleep on their high-octane defenseman.

John Klingberg was already making a serious impression, yet Saturday’s performance may have been a true breakout for those who were reluctant to hop on the bandwagon.

In a 3-2 overtime victory for the Stars against the Minnesota Wild, Klingberg factored into every goal, including scoring the OT game-winner.

With that three-point outburst, Klingberg now comfortably leads all NHL defensemen with an impressive 20 points. He’s also among the top scorers in the league, as he’s in a three-way tie for sixth place with Taylor Hall and Blake Wheeler.

One needs to stretch to be pessimistic with Klingberg, and Dallas-area sports fans might get that familiar feeling, as maybe some will attribute his success to Benn and Seguin. It might not be far off from those decrying Emmitt Smith as a guy who merely benefited from a great offensive line.

As frustrating as that might be, the implication is that those people are likely jealous, and it’s easy to see why.

Benn, Seguin and Klingberg are all on cheap contracts and they’re all young. Specifically with Klingberg, he’s 23 and locked up with a killer $4.25 million cap hit through 2021-22.

In other words, critics better hope that Klingberg isn’t as promising as he looks.

Voracek picks great time (overtime) for first goal of season


You know things weren’t going well for Jakub Voracek when you see stats crop up like “Luke Schenn has just as many points.”

That didn’t stand, as Voracek scored his first goal of 2015-16 in glorious fashion: an overtime game-winning goal.

He found some humor in it, too.

You can watch Voracek’s goal in the video above. To reward your fastidious clicking, here’s Patrick Marleau‘s overtime clincher against Buffalo, which may or may not have prompted a few “Trade this!” headlines/quips.

Flu bug bit Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tonight

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
1 Comment

Are we hitting that time of year where the flu can ruin a game or more?

NHL players aren’t immune to the same things that “sideline” people from offices – seriously, if you have the flu, call in sick, don’t make everyone else miserable – and Saturday provided another reminder.

As hot as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been, apparently his thermometer argued that such heat was more literally hot, so he wasn’t able to go against the Los Angeles Kings tonight.

Andrew Ference apparently wasn’t able to play either (though some would harshly joke that’s not such a bad thing).

We’ll see if the Oilers can find a way to win without two of their No. 1 pick centers against the formidable Los Angeles Kings.

Malkin on Penguins’ plight: ‘We’re mad at each other’

Mike Johnston

When the Pittsburgh Penguins were winning despite their offense, it was easy to say “a win’s a win.” Their current record probably limits the urge to panic, too.

Even so, their sputtering offense is baffling, and now with two losses in as many days, it’s that much more troubling.

Former Penguins front office members Ray Shero and John Hynes faced their former employers in New Jersey on Saturday, and they had to enjoy tonight’s 4-0 win.

The Devils also reminded people that they could very well be in the mix for a playoff spot, as they’re ahead of Pittsburgh as of tonight.

After starting 0-3-1, New Jersey is on a 10-3-0 tear, including two straight wins and four victories in five games. That includes this win against Pittsburgh and two decisions against the Chicago Blackhawks.

As much as people may spin the positive aspects of Pittsburgh’s situation, it’s clear that players such as Evgeni Malkin are frustrated.

(He also said “we need to look in the mirror.” Yikes.)

The Penguins are probably glad that they don’t play again until Tuesday, with four straight games. They need to get their house in order sooner rather than later, however.

Nashville’s blowout vs. Jets was nasty (not just on the scoreboard)


As brutal as Blackhawks – Blues might be, it may not even be the most barbaric Central Division skirmish from Saturday.

That honor may go to the Nashville Predators’ absolute thrashing of the Winnipeg Jets.

Nashville managed a lopsided 4-0 lead in the first period, taking little time to chase Michael Hutchinson from Winnipeg’s net.

One would think the Jets might show frustration from that opening frame, and Nashville eventually capitalized on it, pouring it on with two third-period tallies to eventually win 7-0.

Yes, that’s right, a 7-0 score in 2015-16.

To give you an idea of how wild things became, just look at NHL.com’s penalty summary. The Jets received 84 penalty minutes while the Predators were tagged with 72.

Seems like a good time to throw in a “that escalated quickly” reference.