Author: James O'Brien

Florida Panthers v Columbus Blue Jackets

Rinse, repeat: Blue Jackets place Gibbons on IR, could get Hartnell back in weeks

Apparently the “hockey gods” finally made their rounds back to the Columbus Blue Jackets, as they announced that forward Brian Gibbons was placed on IR on Friday. The Blue Jackets recalled Alexander Wennberg and Cody Goloubef as well today.

The Blue Jackets estimate that Gibbons, 26, will need about two-to-three weeks to recover from a knee injury that he suffered against the Washington Capitals last night.

Depending upon healing speed, the Blue Jackets could be quite a bit stronger at the end of Gibbons’ recovery window; the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline reports that Scott Hartnell could also be back from his finger injury in a couple weeks.

The bright side is that there might be some benefit to getting another look at Wennberg, 20.

Both Gibbons and Wennberg have played 21 games apiece so far in 2014-15, and while Gibbons has two more assists (five versus three) in that frame, the Blue Jackets obviously must expect bigger things from Wennberg long-term.

(He was the 14th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, after all.)

As much as this injury narrative has dominated the Blue Jackets’ headlines this season, the team recently went on a seven-game winning streak and has recorded at least one standings point (7-0-1) in December. Their next game is against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Habs demote Andrighetto, who made a strong impression

Montreal Canadians v Chicago Blackhawks

The Montreal Canadiens sent Sven Andrighetto to the AHL on Wednesday, but not before the 21-year-old forward made a good first impression at the highest level.

Habs Eyes on the Prize argues that the Swiss forward is better off getting experience in the AHL, even after scoring three points in his first four NHL games.

His puck skills are great, his vision is solid, and he skates hard, but you can tell that he’s not quite there yet. Andrighetto struggles a bit in the defensive zone, and even though he’s played with high quality linemates, his possession game hasn’t been very good, sitting at just 47.1% Corsi. It’s a small sample, but I think we all know he can be better than that.

Andrighetto has been productive with the Hamilton Bulldogs, as he ahs 18 points in 21 AHL games this season.

The 86th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft seems to be ahead of the curve so far, but onlookers also believe that he might be better off in the AHL, at least at the moment.

Penguins clear Fleury, continue to deal with mumps

Pittsburgh Penguins v Carolina Hurricanes

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced that Marc-Andre Fleury tested negative for the mumps and has been cleared to play against the Colorado Avalanche. The rest of the news is murky or downright negative, however.

Backup goalie Thomas Greiss is being tested and kept in isolation. As mentioned on Wednesday, defensemen Olli Maatta and Robert Bortuzzo are also being monitored, as their results are still to be determined.

Sidney Crosby and Beau Bennett have already been confirmed to deal with the problem, so this mumps outbreak is causing serious issues for the Penguins.

We may know more about whether Crosby can play against Colorado later today:

Despite these problems, Pittsburgh beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Monday and hope to improve on a 20-6-4 record tonight.

Beliveau’s family thanks community for ‘heartwarming tributes’


The late Jean Beliveau’s granddaughters Mylène and Magalie shared a heartfelt letter with the Montreal Canadiens community – and hockey world at large – on Wednesday.

They wrote that Beliveau would have expressed “his deepest gratitude for the many heartwarming tributes that were shared over the past few days.”

Here’s the full text of that letter:

Hello everyone.

You can be certain that our grandfather, had he been with us today, wouldn’t have addressed all of you without first expressing his deepest gratitude for the many heartwarming tributes that were shared over the past few days. We would like to take this moment, first and foremost, to say a special thanks to all of you.

Thank you to all his fans for their passion and kindness. He respected all of you unconditionally. Thank you to all of the doctors who treated him over all these years: Dr. Douglas Kinnear, Dr. David Mulder, Dr. Maurice Godin, Dr. Michael Churchill-Smith, Dr. Robert Côté and Dr. Pierre Lanouette. You were a source of infinite support for our family, and you have his most sincere admiration. A big thank you to the members of the nursing staff who watched over our grandfather with gentleness and care until his last day. Thank you to the Montreal Canadiens

organization, the Molson family, and every person who worked so hard to present such memorable tribute ceremonies. We also wish to thank Suzanne Pelletier and the staff at the Urgel Bourgie funeral complex in Longueuil, who took care of him with compassion and dedication, even after his death.

Our grandfather’s family, former teammates and friends all had a chance, like us, to prepare for his departure and to come and personally say goodbye to him. Despite the pain and tears, it is possible to see the beauty that emerged from your time shared with him. We know that he was profoundly moved by this.

The values that have long been attributed to our grandfather — humility, generosity and altruism — were as present within our family as they were on the outside. We were also fortunate to discover other qualities, including his sense of curiosity, his benevolence, his patience and sense of humour. We can definitely confirm that his integrity was deeply ingrained in him. Our grandfather always backed up his words with action.

Through our pain, we face each new day recognizing that, in death, there is deliverance. Many of you have expressed the desire that he rest in peace. In these difficult days, it is what we all wish for him.

On behalf of our grandmother, Élise, our mother, Hélène, our spouses, Robert, Vincent and Mathieu, we say thank you, and our family shall forever remain thankful.

– Mylène and Magalie, Jean Béliveau’s granddaughters

(Photo via the Beliveau family and the Canadiens.)

PHT Morning Skate: Holiday cheer plus doom and gloom in the KHL


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.

Following up on the broader story of the ruble’s troubles impacting the KHL at large, there’s a more personal perspective. The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell caught up with KHL player Jeff Glass, who claims that players are getting “hosed” because of these problems. (The Hockey News)

The Milwaukee Admirals signed Ian White to a PTO. (Milwaukee Admirals)

Could Todd Nelson finally be the right person to motivate the Edmonton Oilers? (Sportsnet)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting an $18,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday night’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Thursday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Catching up on some insight from Bob McKenzie on NBCSN last night, he provided this take on Slava Voynov:

As well as this information regarding the way the NHL is handling the many mumps headaches:

Finally, the Florida Panthers have been handing out plenty of holiday cheer lately.

For one thing, there was “Chanukah on Ice,” which was documented in this photo gallery.


Over-sized Panthers players also visited Chris Evert Children’s Hospital to share some Christmas joy: