James O'Brien

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

Video: Versteeg, Brouwer combine in best and worst ways

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There’s still some time for the narrative to change between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames, but as of this writing, Kris Versteeg and Troy Brouwer authored the high and low point of the game.

On the bright side, Versteeg made a pretty magical move to set up Brouwer for the 1-0 goal (the only one as of this moment).

Seriously, this is pretty sweet from one former Blackhawks forward to another:

Unfortunately, the Flames will need to monitor the two forwards’ health rather than rising chemistry thanks to this collision:


Update: The Flames ultimately won 2-0, so that goal stood as the game-winner.

Yes, really: Crosby goes after McDonagh for boarding Sheary


Technically, Sidney Crosby only received a roughing minor for “reacting” to Ryan McDonagh‘s hit on Conor Sheary.

Still, that’s a matter of semantics and an official’s judgment, as he clearly threw some punches after McDonagh’s questionable check, which drew a five-minute major penalty for boarding.

You can see the entire incident in the video above this post’s headline.

Later on in the game, Crosby scored his NHL-leading 13th goal in just his 14th game of the season, so apparently that scuffle didn’t hurt his hands too much:

The Penguins presented an interesting tweet on the matter:

Video: Auston Matthews ends goal drought in a big way

Auston Matthews and Toronto Maple Leafs fans can utter a sigh of relief after the promising rookie ended his 13-game goal drought on Wednesday night.

His seventh goal of the 2016-17 season gave the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead against the New Jersey Devils, and Matthews set up a Nazem Kadri tally shortly thereafter.

Moments before this post was about to go up, Matthews scored a second goal (his eighth of 2016-17), too.

Watch the first goal in the video above. Here’s the second goal:

Also, in case you’re wondering … yes, Matthews’ production has been erratic, even if his efforts have actually been remarkably consistent.

Canadiens’ Beaulieu sidelined, no longer in hospital after puck to throat

The good news for Nathan Beaulieu and the Montreal Canadiens is that he’s out of the hospital today after taking a puck to the throat on Tuesday.

The bad news is that he’s been ruled out of Thursday’s contest against the Carolina Hurricanes and probably won’t play against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, according to Michel Therrien and LNH.com.

“He’s still got some tests,” Therrien said. “We’ll find out a bit more in the next few days.”

(You can see that scary moment from last night’s 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators in the video above this post’s headline.)

The Canadiens are gearing up for one of their tougher stretches of this early season after dropping four of their last five games (1-3-1 to go to 14-4-2).

After Thursday’s home game against the Hurricanes, Saturday begins a five-game road trip that includes a three-game jaunt against the California teams. Having Beaulieu back sometime in that span would be ideal, but obviously his overall health is the top priority.

WATCH LIVE: Flyers at Lightning – Wednesday Night Rivalry


The Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers boast two of the brightest GMs in the NHL, so don’t be surprised if these two teams eventually surpass previous heights between the two franchises.

(Remember that great 2004 Eastern Conference Final series where Keith Primeau & Co. gave the eventual Stanley Cup champions a run for their money?)

In this latest rendition of “Wednesday Night Rivalry,” we’ll see the Lightning face the Flyers before the San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks face off.

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

Click here for the livestream, which includes NHL Live to get you ready.