James O'Brien

Fight video: Jonathan Toews vs. Adam Henrique


Many roll their eyes when two heavyweights halfheartedly engage in a “staged fight.”

There’s some novelty when smaller-to-average-sized players square off, especially for guys who rarely do so … and especially when at least one of those fighters is a big star.

That happened on Friday, as Jonathan Toews dropped the gloves with Adam Henrique.

As you can see above, the usual give-and-take made way to a fight, which the officials allowed to take place (maybe with some bemusement?).

This was the fourth NHL fight, according to Hockey Fights.

No Rick Nash for Rangers tonight, considered day-to-day

Rick Nash

One man’s injury absence is another player’s opportunity, although the New York Rangers might be thrilled with this particular trade-off.

Back issues that left Rick Nash questionable are bad enough that he won’t play against the Colorado Avalanche tonight. The Rangers didn’t discuss his actual injury, just stating that he’s day-to-day.

With that, Emerson Etem gets the aforementioned opportunity, and he needs it.

It’s a chance to prove himself whether he gets a plum job or not.

It looks like Dylan McIlrath is also in the mix, putting Dan Boyle in the press box.

We’ll see if a Rangers team that still looks awfully spry can remain so against what’s been an up-and-down Avs squad on Friday.

Kick in the pants: Islanders send Ryan Strome to AHL

Ryan Strome

Apparently “The Kid Line” hasn’t quite come of age just yet for the New York Islanders.

The team shared a bold announcement on Friday, as they “loaned” Ryan Strome to the AHL.

Looking at reactions on social media, some are flustered by even the possibility of believing this is merely a conditioning stint. Others use the situation to throw long-time hot-seat coach Jack Capuano under the bus.

Really, it could be a pivotal moment in Strome’s development, as his current deal is set to expire after 2015-16. Will this be a source of estrangement or just the “kick in the pants” that he needs?

Big kick, indeed.

Apparently it’s also a big slap to the wallet:

This should be an intriguing situation to follow in the next week or so.

Elation, highlights, drama: Ducks-Panthers finish had it all


In the waning moments, it looked like the Anaheim Ducks would suffer another gut-wrenching defeat.

Instead, they won in one of the most thrilling finishes you’ll see, besting the Florida Panthers 3-2 via a shootout.

Things really started to ratchet up as the Ducks pressed over and over again to tie the game, yet Roberto Luongo made some real highlight-reel saves. It was pure elation when Corey Perry scored his first goal of 2015-16 in a dramatic fashion, tying it 2-2 with less than six seconds remaining.

There was some controversy about the penalty Perry drew to set up that situation, yet some might chalk it up to the Ducks finally getting some breaks.

The 3-on-3 OT span was a real heart-stopper, with Luongo and Frederik Andersen making some jaw-dropping saves, including Andersen thwarting a 2-on-0.

(This post will be updated when the NHL posts a full highlight package, as words can only do so much for such great action.)

With that, the Ducks have now won two games in a row and continue a schedule that’s home-heavy until mid-November. Will we look at this night as one of those turning point moments?

Penguins just keep winning (and this time, Crosby scored)


The Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t always looked so hot … but the standings argue to the contrary.

Pittsburgh saw a 3-0 lead evaporate into a tense 3-2 situation against the Vancouver Canucks, but they managed to hold on nonetheless.

With that, the Penguins are now on a five-game winning streak, even with four of five on the road.

Going a little further, Pittsburgh has wins in eight of nine.

One big relief comes in Sidney Crosby scoring one of Pittsburgh’s goals, which prompted many to make jokes about “big boy pants.”

Honestly, Marc-Andre Fleury has been the go-to guy for the Penguins more than anyone else, and he had some strong moments in this one (albeit with the rare hiccup).

Let’s also face the fact that Eric Fehr‘s game-winner was the beauty of the game, which you can see above the headline.

Is everything perfect for the Penguins? Not necessarily.

Even so, it’s early, so the Penguins have time to work out their perceived issues. They have to be happy piling up points in the process.

Quick note: Daniel Sedin seemed shaken up late in the contest, so that’s something to monitor.