Author: James O'Brien

Calgary Flames v Washington Capitals

Green still not ready, but Caps say he’s very close


There was some hope that Mike Green might play for the Washington Capitals against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, but that’s not the case.

On the bright side, knowing so early allowed Barry Trotz to plan things out so Green has the best chance to return healthy (whenever that may be), as the Washington Post reports.

“If Mike feels that he’s probably not ready for tomorrow, I’m going to keep him back,” Trotz said on Monday. “If not, I’d rather him have a really good day of just conditioning and get some therapy and some strength work and that on the rehab, than make the trip and have a late-morning skate. We can skate him, but we don’t have quite the facilities there as what we do here.”

The 29-year-old seems to be on the same page with his team and his coach, emphasizing that he’d rather avoid any setbacks instead of rushing to return from an injury he suffered on Nov. 22.

Green told the Washington Post that Monday was “the first day I could actually shoot, really push it,” so that’s a positive sign, especially for a blueliner who still possesses one of the NHL’s most dangerous shots (at least among defensemen).

As this post discusses in greater detail, the Capitals are a better team with Green, yet it’s a long season and the injury-prone defenseman knows all too well about how much nagging issues can plague a campaign.

After tonight’s road game against the Lightning, the Capitals play at home on Thursday and Saturday. They finish 2014 with a road-heavy haul (six of seven away), so the team would probably be happiest to get Green up to speed once they hit that rougher patch.

Bobrovsky on returning Dubinsky: ‘He drives us’

Brandon Dubinsky

As mentioned yesterday, the Columbus Blue Jackets expect Brandon Dubinsky to return to the lineup tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. The team didn’t discount how much of a difference-maker he can be, as the Columbus Dispatch reports.

“Dubi, he’s our leader,” Sergei Bobrovsky said. “He drives us, the whole team. It’s a big thing that he is back.”

Dubinsky also “drives” play, as you can see from his strong possession numbers, even in heavy-lifting situations. Not many players can score in decent bunches, play a physical game and do the little things to move the puck in the right direction quite like the 28-year-old forward.

Columbus is 9-15-2 for 20 points without him, tying the Buffalo Sabres for the second-worst standings total in the league (although they do hold a game in hand). It’s possible that the Blue Jackets dug too deep a hole in the 26 games without Dubinsky to make a charge for the playoffs, but if it isn’t too late, Dubinsky can make a significiant difference.

The Blue Jackets are currently on a three-game winning streak, so things are looking up in general.

PHT Morning Skate: Sharks rap for the holidays, Rangers warm our hearts


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.

San Jose Sharks players rapping. What else needs to be said?

OK, maybe this needs to be said: that’s awful-great.

For the Calgary Flames, it’s all about “heart and Hartley.” (The Hockey News)

The lowdown on Dave Cameron, who’s taking over for Paul MacLean in Ottawa. (Sportsnet)

More on Guy Lafleur mourning Jean Beliveau. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The New York Rangers’ “Garden of Dreams” promotion did some absolutely wonderful things for 15-year-old Chris Falzone, who was diagnosed with cancer but refused to allow the disease to stop him from playing hockey.

They signed him to a one-day contract and did an array of great things.


Here are a few of the other highlights:

The promotion was pretty fantastic, in general:

The Rangers really outdid themselves here.

Eric Staal’s status for Monday is uncertain thanks to foot injury

Nashville Predators v Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes might face the New Jersey Devils without Eric Staal, as he suffered a foot injury thanks to a Justin Faulk shot on Sunday, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

The 30-year-old was seen on crutches after Carolina’s 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, so it certainly doesn’t sound promising. Then again, hockey players tend to bounce back quickly, so we’ll see.

Either way, it hasn’t been the luckiest season for the elder Staal brother (or the hockey-playing family in general, really). He missed weeks with a lower-body injury earlier this season, watching his team suffer in the standings early on.

Don’t expect the Devils to shed a tear in sympathy for Staal’s issues, as they’re dealing with a fairly ridiculous array of ailments themselves.

Perhaps Staal should rest up today, as things get pretty messy for Carolina starting on Thursday. From Dec. 11 to Dec. 31, the Hurricanes play seven of 10 games on the road.

NHL will hold Monday hearing with Evander Kane

New York Islanders v Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane will have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his check from behind on Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner.

There was no clarification regarding whether it’s in person or over the phone, but one would assume that it would be the latter considering the quick turnaround (it’s scheduled for today).

Here’s video of that hit on Stoner, which drew a five-minute major for checking from behind as well as a game misconduct:

Kane, 23, hasn’t been suspended before in his NHL career.