Author: James O'Brien

Claude Julien

Julien doesn’t think Bruins are getting ‘benefit of the doubt’ from officials


Here’s what we know: the Boston Bruins have received easily the least amount of power-play opportunities so far with 88, 14 less than the Montreal Canadiens’ 102 (and the Habs have a game in hand).

It’s not as if the Bruins are not going to the penalty box themselves, either, as their 117 times shorthanded ranks higher than nine other teams.

Overall, that’s 29 more times killing power plays than receiving one, which isn’t the greatest trend in just 38 games of action.

What we don’t know is why this is happening.

Bruins head coach Claude Julien seemed pretty frustrated with the issue, for one, as he told on Thursday.

“Welcome to, again, the same questions every game. I think it was a trip [on Marchand], I think it was pretty obvious to everybody,” Julien said. “It’s getting frustrating to say the least. You see a lot of things out there, or even the hook. I gotta look at it again – on Lucic trying to go to the net there in the second period. We’re not getting the benefit of the doubt, that’s for sure.”

Is it a matter of style of play or reputation? That’s unclear, but this disparity doesn’t seem that out of order. The Bruins received the fewest power-play opportunities in 2013-14 (230, nine fewer than the Nashville Predators) and 2012-13 (122, 13 fewer than the Anaheim Ducks), as well.

Those stats were lower on the radar when Boston was in the upper ranks for the East, but with the margin for error being much smaller this season, it’s a more prevalent concern.

It’s tough to say what, exactly, the Bruins can do about this. Sometimes merely “lobbying” officials makes a difference, though.

Yikes: Oilers’ Pitlick is out with a lacerated spleen

Arizona Coyotes v Edmonton Oilers

In one of those updates that make you cringe, the Edmonton Oilers announced that forward Tyler Pitlick suffered a lacerated spleen during Wednesday’s game against the Calgary Flames.

The Oilers didn’t address this in their tweet, but many believe that the 23-year-old suffered the injury while delivering a hit on the Flames’ Josh Jooris. Pitlick received a two-minute minor for elbowing on the play.

When you get beyond some bitter reactions regarding that check (video isn’t available at this time), the general reaction is that Pitlick has poor luck:

The Oilers haven’t shared new information about the state of Pitlick, who was the 31st pick of the 2010 NHL Draft. They did recall Anton Lander, though that could have as much to do with other roster situations as it does with Pitlick.

Here’s a little more in that regard:

One can assume that he’ll be out for some time, marking another setback for a prospect who’s apparently had his fair share of tough breaks. Pitlick had one point (a goal) in 14 games this season for Edmonton.

PHT Morning Skate: Wrapping up the 2015 Winter Classic

NHL-Winter Classic practice

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

There are plenty of additional bits and pieces from yesterday’s 2015 Winter Classic, so let’s check out a little hodgepodge of leftovers.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting an $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday night’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Friday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Sportsnet lists 24 “awesome things” about this year’s event. (Sportsnet)

Karl Alzner didn’t feel that cool wearing sunglasses to get ready for the glare. (Puck Daddy)

Troy Brouwer looks back at his game-winning goal. (

The day’s festivities might be a good sign of great things to come for D.C. sports. (

One more from Barry Trotz is having a great time –

Gudas can’t play for Lightning on Wednesday


The Tampa Bay Lightning won’t have Radko Gudas in the lineup on Wednesday, so the team called up Nikita Nesterov to take his place, the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson reports.

(It’s believed to be a lower-body injury.)

It also appears as though Jason Garrison was placed on injured reserve to make room for Nesterov, who aims to make his NHL debut, according to Erlendsson. That IR appointment is retroactive to Dec. 20, so Garrison is able to return whenever he’s fit to do so.

Gudas, 24, has endured a bumpy 2014-15 season. He’s missed time with a lower-body injury and stomach bug (“The Gudas Flu”). When healthy, he’s been playing a lot like he did last season: five points, a -5 rating, 34 PIM and 115 hits in 31 games.

The Lightning face the Sabres in Buffalo tonight, where the Sabres have been surprisingly effective lately.

Leafs take Komarov off of IR

Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Washington Capitals 6-2

The Toronto Maple Leafs took Leo Komarov off injured reserve on Wednesday, which TSN’s Jonas Siegel believes is a good sign that he could play against the Boston Bruins tonight.

Going further, the Leafs’ website projects Komarov to line up with Peter Holland and Mike Santorelli.

Komarov, 27, has been sidelined since Nov. 29, when an Alex Ovechkin hit left him with a concussion. Komarov also has more points (16) in 23 games in 2014-15 than he generated (nine) in 42 contests back in 2013-14.

Toronto’s other bit of positive news is that Jonathan Bernier’s back in net after dealing with an illness that may or may not have been the mumps.

Here’s a more detailed list of who’s in and who’s still out: