James O'Brien

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

Yikes, Anton Stralman might be injured after awkward landing


Update: Really bad news … Anton Stralman is out indefinitely. More here.


At this time of year, you can lose big even if you come out on top on the scoreboard.

Injuries always hurt, but they sting exponentially heading into the playoffs, so the Tampa Bay Lightning have to hope that a scary moment for Anton Stralman ultimately ends up being not as bad as it looked.

Video isn’t available of his awkward fall from Friday’s game against the New York Islanders. Still, this GIF captures the moment in it’s cringe-inducing horror:

Yikes. While Stralman looked shaken up by many accounts, there’s no official word on his condition yet.

So stay tuned. In the case of Lightning fans, try not to bite your nails down too deep.

Stralman was unable to return to the game:

NCAA referee Oliver ‘Butch’ Mousseau passes away at 48 after fall

via Kevin Kelly/Mousseaux's GoFundMe page

Awful news today from the IIHF and USA Hockey: NCAA referee Oliver ‘Butch’ Mousseau died at age 48 because of an injury he sustained from a fall during warm-ups of a WCHA playoff game last week.

The IIHF shared the sad details of that accident:

The on-ice official from Colorado reportedly caught an edge and hit his head on the ice during warm-ups without a helmet on and was in medically-induced coma since. The incident happened in Grand Rapids before the semi-final game of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association between Michigan Tech and Ferris State. He had been in hospital since and suffered a brain hemorrhage on Friday. 

One of the most heartfelt messages for the official came from Kevin Kelly by way of his Go Fund Me Page. Here is an excerpt:

RIP Butchy, can’t believe that you’re gone.

It is often said amongst those of us in the officiating community that the only team that never loses is the Referees. Well, this morning our team lost. Oliver ‘Butch’ Mousseaux passed away this morning after sustaining a pre-game head injury in Grand Rapids, Michigan.Butch was a rarity. He was not only loved by his fellow officials, but also by the coaches and players in the games he worked. What made Butch so special were his communication skills with the coaches and players.

The WCHA released the following statement regarding Mousseaux:

Read more about the official at Puck Daddy, the Denver Post and his Go Fund Me page.

John Carlson returns for Caps on Friday


With the East’s top seed already clinched,* the Washington Capitals don’t have a ton to play for.

Instead, it’s all about “tuning up,” so in Friday’s case, that means taking on a hot New Jersey Devils team while integrating John Carlson back into the lineup.

The underrated defenseman has been sidelined since late February with a “lingering” lower-body injury. Before you ask, the Capitals already said that they don’t want to rush him back into the lineup.

You don’t want him to be too rusty, either, so that’s sort of the chance you take.

Caps fans are excited to get him back, no doubt:

* – And let’s be honest, the Presidents’ Trophy pretty close to guaranteed …

Still a Blue Jacket: Columbus re-signs Prout for two years, $3.15M


Dalton Prout got Ryan Johansen‘s wish: to remain a Columbus Blue Jacket.

All kidding aside, the Blue Jackets locked up the big defenseman to a two-year contract extension on Friday at the cost of $3.15 million overall.

That’s a $1.575 million cap hit for 2016-17 and 2017-18, as Rob Mixer of the team website notes:

Prout, 26, would have been an RFA this summer. Looking at the Blue Jackets’ salary structure, Columbus fans are probably just a touch more eager to hear about a contract extension for another pending RFA defenseman: Seth Jones.

Prout’s mainly a big body who does dirty work (see: 234 PIM in just 201 career games), although maybe a relatively hot streak of three assists in four games helped secure the extension.

He’s logging 15:47 minutes per game, which is actually a pretty big dip from the past three seasons on average, but it’s not as if his asking price is significant.

“Dalton is a hard-working defenseman who adds size, strength and physicality to our blueline,” GM Jarmo Kekalainen said.  “He is very well respected by his teammates and everyone in our organization and we are very pleased that he will continue to be part of our group moving forward.”

(Aside: Jack Skille, another former Blue Jacket, is alongside Prout in this post’s main image. It all comes together, folks.)

This time, Kadri received the throat-slashing gesture (from Manson)


Perhaps Nazem Kadri is just a magnet for “the cutthroat motion.”

Back in mid-February, the Toronto Maple Leafs forward received a $5K fine for making that throat-slashing gesture toward Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames.

This time around, Kadri was the recipient of that gesture after a boarding hit, with Josh Manson delivering that “message.” The Anaheim Ducks tough guy received a game misconduct in what ultimately was a 6-5 overtime win for the Maple Leafs.

Guess who scored the winner? Why, that would be Manson’s buddy Nazem.

Here’s a tweet version of that moment, with both versions provided by “DucksNPucks.”