James O'Brien

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

Minor trade: Logan Shaw to Ducks, Panthers get Michael Sgarbossa

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The Anaheim Ducks received Logan Shaw while the Florida Panthers acquired Michael Sgarbossa in a small trade on Wednesday.

Sgarbossa is a 24-year-old player who did not go drafted and currently has 19 games of NHL experience. He put up solid numbers in the AHL last season (44 points in 62 games).

Shaw, also 24, was the 76th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft. He’s played in more NHL games (53, all in 2015-16) but his AHL stats haven’t been quite as impressive.

Seems like a fairly even trade of two players likely to bounce between the AHL and NHL levels. Then again, with the way the Panthers have identified bargains in the likes of Jonathan Marchessault and Colton Sceviour, you never know if we’ll look back at this differently …

WATCH LIVE: Penguins – Capitals on Wednesday Night Rivalry

You can’t ask for much more than Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals on Wednesday Night Rivalry.

Of course, there’s always Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin, but as you know, these teams present plenty of other high-end players. Each squad is well-coached and should be considered legit contenders in the East, only spicing up an already¬†robust rivalry.

With injuries hitting big stars around the NHL lately, we should savor these nights where some of the big names are ready to go.

You can watch this game on NBCSN, online or via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.

Video: A decade of Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin


Both players have experienced ups and downs – whether from injuries or disappointments – but overall, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin deliver over and over again.

With Connor McDavid and other young guns infiltrating the rankings, it’s remarkable that the faces of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals are still going strong.

Wednesday presents another chapter in their rivalry, which is – prepare to feel old – now at the decade mark.

The video above celebrates what this rivalry’s meant, what it continues to mean and what we might see next.

Does anyone else get a “Friday Night Lights” feel at times while watching it, by the way?

Hellebuyck shuts down Blackhawks, Laine scores yet again


WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season, rookie Patrik Laine scored his NHL-leading 12th goal and the Winnipeg Jets beat the division-leading Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Tuesday night.

Rookie defenseman Josh Morrissey scored his first career goal, while forwards Chris Thorburn and Nic Petan got their first scores of the season for the second-place Jets.

Nikolaj Ehlers had two assists, helping Winnipeg stretch its points streak to five games.

Chicago goalie Corey Crawford was replaced by Scott Darling after letting in four goals on 22 shots. Darling made two saves.

It was the first of five games between the Central Division foes this season.

The Blackhawks had points in each of their previous 11 games. It was their first game in a season-high seven-game road trip.

Morrissey beat Crawford at 6:26 of the first period when his one-timer from the high slot went through the goalie’s legs.

It was only the 11th even-strength goal Crawford had allowed this season.

Morrissey finished the period in the penalty box after he was called for charging against Hawks wing Vinnie Hinostroza with 26 seconds left, but Chicago couldn’t take advantage of the extra man.

The Hawks got two more power plays early in the middle period, including a two-man advantage for 1:07.

Winnipeg handled the puck often in the short-handed situation and got a standing ovation from the crowd at MTS Centre after the second penalty expired.

The Jets had their first power play midway through the scoreless second, but couldn’t add to their 1-0 lead.

Chicago outshot Winnipeg 20-13 after two periods.

Thorburn scored at 4:41 of the third period with a surprise shot. The veteran got the puck along the boards, spun around and shot at the net. The puck went high past Crawford for the 2-0 lead.

Laine scored after Dustin Byfuglien‘s wraparound attempt went off a stick and Laine got the puck and flipped it by Crawford at 8:32.

Eleven seconds later, Petan scored his first of the season when he missed shooting a loose puck but his second attempt beat Crawford.

NOTES: Winnipeg is now 6-0 when leading after two periods. … Chicago had scored at least two goals in each of its previous games this season. … Blackhawks D Duncan Keith played in his 850th career NHL game.


Blackhawks: At Calgary on Friday night in the second game of a seven-game trip through Canada and California.

Jets: At Philadelphia on Thursday night in the opener of a five-game trip.

Spillage: Oilers drop fourth in a row in falling to Ducks


Yes, it indeed looks like the Edmonton Oilers are starting to face some serious adversity in 2016-17.

By falling 4-1 to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, the Oilers have now lost four games in a row, all in regulation. They’re also 2-6-1 in their last nine contests after beginning the season 7-1-0.

There is some good news.

Even with this loss dropping them to 9-7-1, they’re tied with the Ducks for first in the Pacific with 19 standings points.

They’re also generally being positive to the press, backing up the numbers (including Tuesday’s 35-27 shots on goal advantage).

“We’re still generating a lot of chances, which is positive,” Connor McDavid said. “But we have to build on that.”

It’s key for Edmonton to keep such a calm demeanor going through what could be a harrowing stretch. They just began a three-game road trip against the Ducks, Kings and Stars. They face five of their next six games on the road.

Their power play has come up dry lately, failing to connect on their last 11 opportunities.

In the past, the Oilers have cratered under pressures like these. It’s a positive sign that they’re not pointing fingers – at least in the press – but it doesn’t erase the notion that there’s a tough road ahead.