James O'Brien

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

Video: NHL reportedly will look at VandeVelde’s elbow on Toews


Chris VandeVelde only received a two-minute elbowing minor for his hit on Jonathan Toews during Wednesday’s games, but the larger repercussions could come later.

Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will take a look at the elbow that the Philadelphia Flyers forward delivered on the Chicago Blackhawks captain.

You can watch video of the check above and judge it for yourself.

At the moment, it seems like Toews is just fine, which would likely help VandeVelde’s cause in avoiding supplemental discipline.

Ah bummer, we were so close to a goalie fight tonight


There are a plethora of reasons to dislike regular, run-of-the-mill fights. It’s a reasonable thing for a hockey fan to do.

Let’s be honest, though: the sheer novelty and oddness of a goalie fight makes it difficult not to at least¬†smile.

Big awkward pads flying about. One guy possibly being way in over his head, which isn’t always the most fun (sorry, Braden Holtby, about that time you fought Ray Emery).

Long story short, goalie fights are quite the spectacle, so it’s a bit of a bummer that a bout was averted between Montreal Canadiens goalie Ben Scrivens and Buffalo Sabres netminder Robin Lehner tonight.

So far, video of the near-exchange/super-icy staredown isn’t available, but Stephanie “My Regular Face” tells much of the story through GIFs.

Darn it.

Should be a goldmine for memes, at least.

Update: Now there’s video AND GIFs. Hooray.

Blue Jackets make three recalls, including prospect Bjorkstrand


Even as they present dangerous spoiler potential, the Columbus Blue Jackets are likely looking to next season.

(Pulling the plug on Jack Johnson‘s 2015-16 season was just the latest sign.)

With that in mind, Wednesday’s recalls include one player who could be an interesting person to watch with eyes on 2016-17: Oliver Bjorkstrand.

Bjorkstrand made quite an impression with his play in the WHL, generating 109 points in 2013-14 and 118 in just 59 games in 2014-15, with the latter campaign earning him a player of the year nod.

He’s been solid, if unspectacular, in the AHL this season.

Maybe that lack of acceleration from WHL to AHL signifies that he needs more time before making a long-lasting impact on the Blue Jackets roster, yet either way, he’s a person to watch.

(Read more about him here.)

The Blue Jackets also brought up Michael Chaput and John Ramage. Click here for that full release.

WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Flyers at Chicago Blackhawks

1 Comment

The Philadelphia Flyers are surprising a lot of people. Beating the Chicago Blackhawks, considering the circumstances, would be even more impressive.

Philly’s coming off of a significant win against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, so they might be a little tired. The Blackhawks have plenty on the line in the Central Division title race, which means the Flyers will likely face a focused group in the defending champions.

If that’s not enough incentive to watch, there’s also Claude Giroux vs. Jonathan Toews with a cast including Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and wunderkind Shayne Gostisbehere.

All of this sounds pretty fantastic, so tune in on NBCSN and stream via the link below.


Video: McDonagh dazzles in Goals of the Week


EA Sports “NHL 16” is a pretty big leap in realism from the pixelated glory of the 16-bit generation, yet there are still moments when people probably claim that a goal was “so fake.”

Perhaps they should instead say, “That would only be a goal of the week.”

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh‘s fantastic wraparound goal leads the charge in the latest edition of Goals of the Week. Watch them all in the video above.