James O'Brien

St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) puts on a glove as he gets ready to replace Brian Elliott, right, during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild in St. Paul, Minn., Saturday, March 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Goalie controversy on? Blues activate Allen from IR


Just a few days ago, PHT’s Jason Brough asked: what happens for the St. Louis Blues if Jake Allen gets healthy?

Apparently that was well-timed, as the Blues activated the young goalie from injured reserve mere days later on Sunday.

Brian Elliott‘s been a workhorse for St. Louis, playing well enough to make people wonder if the Blues will finally give him another shot in the playoffs after choosing others (including Allen last season and Ryan Miller before that) instead.

Let’s look at the two goalies’ stats so far this season:

Elliott: 17-7-6, .931 save percentage, one shutout
Allen: 18-10-3, .924 save percentage, five shutouts

As you can see, the Blues have enjoyed great goaltending from both goalies so far this season, with Elliott getting the slight edge (but Allen seemingly being the guy that the franchise wants to carry the torch).

For what it’s worth, the comments seem to range from “Mean things said about Hitchcock” to “play the hot hand” to “stick with Elliott for once.”

As Brough mentioned, having two good choices is better than none … but the second-guessing will almost certainly be there no matter what if the Blues fall short in the playoffs once again.

Ryan O’Reilly is out today, could reportedly miss ‘weeks’

Buffalo Sabres' Ryan O'Reilly, left, shoots as Columbus Blue Jackets' Ryan Murray defends during the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. The Sabres won 4-0. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

The Buffalo Sabres will be without Ryan O'Reilly during Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and that might just be the beginning.

The fantastic two-way center ranks as one of the top reasons why people believe that the Sabres have some major pieces in place to turn things around.

It’s considered a lower-body injury at the moment.

Buffalo would be wise to handle this situation carefully, then, as it sounds like there might be an update with a more dire reading than “day-to-day” later on today.

No doubt about it, that’s a bummer.

Again, the Sabres would be wise to tread lightly, as their focus should likely be on “selling” around trade deadline time and generally gearing up for the 2016-17 season. If this is a matter of “weeks,” maybe they should tell ROR to save his energy for next year.

They could be aiming to make bigger steps forward by then.

This turnover may be Exhibit A for Erik Karlsson’s critics

Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson, left, collects himself with Erik Karlsson (65) after allowing a goal to Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. The Penguins won 6-5. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It feels like Erik Karlsson has taken the torch from Mike Green as the high-scoring defenseman that some fans and pundits love to hate.

If you follow “Hockey Twitter,” you probably see it all the time: Karlsson haters surface to point out a mistake, then mysteriously go underground during the frequent moments when he does great things for the Ottawa Senators.

That crowd must have feasted on Karlsson’s mistakes on Saturday night, even if the Senators ended up beating the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 via a shootout.

This tweet was nowhere near the harshest comment toward Karlsson:

The “one-timer” Karlsson sent to Andreas Athanasiou really was pretty bad:

While this own-goal seemed to sting:

Karlsson currently leads the NHL by averaging 29:08 minutes per contest. Most of those minutes are productive, with Karlsson driving offense and Ottawa’s transition game.

Still, there will be those moments where things go awry, and Karlsson’s critics received two files to cite come Norris debate time.

(Because, chances are, Karlsson will be in the discussion.)

Sights, sounds and nostalgia from Blackhawks-Wild alumni game

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For at least one afternoon, the “State of Hockey” enveloped itself in a state of nostalgia. And it was good.

A team of Minnesota Wild/North Stars (including Mike Modano) beat a group of retired Chicago Blackhawks (featuring Chris Chelios) by a score of 6-4 during the 2016 NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game on Saturday.

Of course, the score wasn’t what most people will take away from that exhibition, which reportedly drew a crowd of 37,992 people to TCF Bank Stadium.

(Here are the full rosters, in case you want to peruse them.)

Instead, it was all about creating great memories and also recalling the legacy of the North Stars, even for those who were far removed from the time before that franchise became what is now the Dallas Stars.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a full highlights video available, but CBS’ Eye on Hockey and My Regular Face’s collection of GIFs are great places to re-live some of the best moments.

Let’s be honest: some of these great images stand as highlights in their own right.

Great stuff, and let’s not forget that hockey fans will be treated to more great images this afternoon:

For more, the NHL took a look at the game here.

Bruins squash Stars, but Krug might be injured

Dallas Stars' Mattias Janmark (13) of Sweden skates back to the bench as Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak (88), of the Czech Republic, and Kevan Miller (86) celebrate a goal by Miller in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The Boston Bruins generated an impressive win against the Dallas Stars. Unfortunately, that victory could be pretty costly.

Boston bombarded Dallas by a score of 7-3, leaving the Stars stumbling into a three-game losing streak.

Brad Marchand stood out among the many Bruins performers who enjoyed great nights, as No. 63 hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career thanks to his two goals (and added an assist for good measure). Patrice Bergeron also managed his 600th point in this win.

Zdeno Chara also quietly put together a brilliant game, apparently:

The Bruins might not get much of a chance to savor this, however, as Torey Krug may have been injured by a Jason Demers hit late in the game.

Boston seems that much more comfortably seated in playoff position, yet there’s no denying that this is a cause for concern.