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

Blues remain hot under Yeo, close off perfect five-game road trip


It was an emotional night at Joe Louis Arena as Detroit Red Wings fans paid tribute to late owner Mike Ilitch, but on the ice, the St. Louis Blues were the ones controlling all the momentum. Then again, they’ve been hogging a lot of the momentum since Mike Yeo took over for Ken Hitchcock.

Tonight’s 2-0 win continues a hot streak for Carter Hutton (back-to-back shutouts, four shutouts in his last six road starts) and the rest of the team under their new head coach.

They’ve won eight of 10 games overall, but looking a little closer makes their accomplishments even more impressive. Instead of a five-game road trip ending the “honeymoon” period for Yeo, they won all of those games. They’ve won six of seven under Yeo so far.

While it’s true that Petr Mrazek probably kicks himself for Ivan Barbashev’s 1-0 goal, the bottom line is that Detroit just couldn’t get much going against that smothering St. Louis possession game. Mike Milbury critiqued Mrazek for allowing the eventual game-winner by being off his angle:

This leaves the Blues fairly comfortably in the third spot in the Central, or failing that, seemingly in a great position to at least make the playoffs. It makes questions about what to do with Kevin Shattenkirk that much tougher, but it’s a better problem to have than all the questions they were facing when things were getting uglier under Hitch.

WATCH LIVE: Florida Panthers at San Jose Sharks


Both the San Jose Sharks and Florida Panthers have some work to do, even if the Sharks top their division while the Panthers are on the outside of the East playoffs.

Need proof? Merely look at their records in the last 10 games:

Sharks: 5-2-3
Panthers: 5-3-2

Not awful by any means, but there are certainly signs for improvement.

For your viewing pleasure, consider that both teams boast young talent (Logan Couture, Jonathan Huberdeau) to go with some of the league’s most beloved elder statesmen in Jaromir Jagr and Joe Thornton.

You can watch on NBCSN, online and via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream.

Hey, another stick infraction: Alex Chiasson ejected for spearing


A strange week of stick-related infractions continued on Wednesday, as Calgary Flames forward Alex Chiasson was ejected for spearing Philadelphia Flyers center Nick Cousins.

The reactions so far, seem to be a mixture of 1) that was foolish by Chiasson and 2) it wasn’t especially vicious.

Cousins ended up having a busy period: receiving that spear, scoring a goal and then serving the Flyers’ too many men on the ice penalty. The Flyers were unable to make Chiasson and the Flames pay for the infraction with a power-play goal.

Apparently Cousins is getting under the Flames’ skin tonight, also drawing a roughing penalty from Sam Bennett.

Check out the infraction in the video above this post’s headline.

For your consideration:

More stick drama:

Gustav Nyquist gets a six-game suspension

Antoine Vermette receives automatic 10-gamer for “abuse of official.”

Blue Jackets hand Maple Leafs a frustrating loss


There’s plenty of motivation for the Calgary Flames and Philadelphia Flyers in their game tonight, but if the Flyers wanted extra incentive to win, they can thank the Columbus Blue Jackets.

While the Toronto Maple Leafs got back into the game to save some face, the Blue Jackets ultimately took the game 5-2.

With that, Columbus reasserts the Metropolitan Division’s dominance. They tie the Pittsburgh Penguins with 77 standings points, although Pittsburgh is technically ahead in second place thanks to holding a game in hand. Remarkably, the Penguins and Blue Jackets join the Washington Capitals as three of the top four teams in the NHL.

So … yeah, the Metro’s outstanding, but don’t sleep on the wild card races out East.

In that regard, this one stings for Toronto. Again, Philly can virtually tie the Buds if they beat Calgary tonight. (Update: They didn’t, so here’s an updated look.)

Abbreviated look at race for last wild card spot

Last spot: Maple Leafs – 63 points in 56 games

Flyers – 61 points in 57
Islanders – 60 points in 55
Panthers – 58 in 54 (in action later tonight vs. San Jose)
Devils – 58 in 56
Sabres – 58 in 57

High-sticking is the word of the day, so it’s worth mentioning that the Maple Leafs probably missed out on either a two or four-minute power play:

Regardless, Columbus won, making a couple different playoff positioning battles more congested in the process.

Video: Red Wings fans pay tribute to Mike Ilitch at Joe Louis Arena

1 Comment

Teams from around the NHL have shared their condolences for late Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, who passed away at 87 last Friday. To little surprise, the tributes were that much more heartfelt at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.

As the Red Wings host the St. Louis Blues tonight, fans said goodbye to “the consummate owner.”

The team also added a nice tribute on the Joe Louis Arena rink, too, with “Mr. I” on the ice.

You can watch the video tribute above this post’s headline.

More on Ilitch below: