James O'Brien

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

Jack’s back: Sabres overcome Hoffman’s hat trick, end Sens’ streak


It probably felt like ages for Buffalo Sabres fans to finally see Jack Eichel score his first goal of the 2016-17 season.

He made sure not to take too long to do so in his season debut, then.

Eichel found the net less than halfway through the first period of tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Watch that tally in the video below:

Eichel also assisted on another power-play goal when Kyle Okposo made it 1-0 about 6:16 into the contest, so he also has his first assist of the season in his first 10 minutes.

Yes, Eichel has been missed, yet he’s not exactly procrastinating.


It’s not all good news for Buffalo tonight, as Robin Lehner left the contest early with an injury.

Update: Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly were among the stars of the night for the Sabres, who scored three of their five goals on the power play. Mike Hoffman generated a hat trick for Ottawa, yet it wasn’t enough; Buffalo won 5-4 to end the Senators’ winning streak at four games.

That had been the NHL’s second-longest active streak behind the Los Angeles Kings’ five consecutive wins, by the way.

Report: Coyotes would ‘consider’ trading Anthony Duclair


Anthony Duclair was a big reason why people were excited about watching the Arizona Coyotes this season, even if part of that excitement revolved around the future.

What if he’s not part of that future?

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the Coyotes would “consider” trading Duclair, although they might not be actively doing so. From the sound of things, it’s more along the lines of his team “listening to offers” rather than going out of their way to make something happen.

Maybe it’s not a priority, but this also isn’t the first time there have been some rumblings.

Dreger notes that the winger’s name was circulating during the 2016 NHL Draft, while Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos brought up Duclair’s name earlier this month.

The price, according to Dreger, would be a center.

Here’s a reasonable statement to add to this mix: the 21-year-old’s stock was a lot higher during the summer.

In 2015-16, Duclair generated 20 goals and 44 points. So far this season, he has just four points in 20 games.

Savvy GMs might have sniffed out the risk, however; as promising as Duclair looked at times, he also boasted a 19 shooting percentage, the kind of puck luck you won’t see very often. The bounces are swinging in the other direction for Duclair in 2016-17, as he only has a single goal to show for 25 shots on goal (a scant four percent).

Even if the Coyotes want to part ways with the 80th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, they might want to wait until things level out for Duclair, or they won’t be too excited about the “centers” other teams may offer up for him.

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers


It’s been a while since the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers butted heads in the playoffs – Simon Gagne wore both teams’ sweaters since then – but it’s possible that these squads might duke it out for a spot this season.

As it stands right now, both the Bruins and Flyers are outside of the East’s top eight, but not by much.

That really sweetens the deal for hockey fans on Tuesday: two teams with history face off, yet they also have plenty to fight for in the present. They also boast the likes of Claude Giroux and Patrice Bergeron on each side.

This kicks off what should be a really fun doubleheader on NBCSN tonight. You can watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.

Kyle Turris is on fire for the Senators

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OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Kyle Turris scored his team-leading 10th goal to help the Ottawa Senators beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Saturday night.

Turris broke a tie with 3:32 left, beating goalie Cam Ward high to the stick side. The Hurricanes challenged the goal, asserting that it was offside, but it stood after a review.

Dion Phaneuf also scored, and Craig Anderson made 32 saves. The Senators have won three straight to improve to 13-7-1.

Sebastian Aho scored for Carolina, and Ward stopped 22 shots.

Phaneuf tied it at 1 at 6:15 of the second with his second goal of the season. Ryan Dzingel did some great work, was patient and found Phaneuf who stepped into the slot and buried it past Ward.

For the 11th straight game Ottawa gave up the first goal. Carolina opened the scoring at 11:24 of the first. Aho put a shot on goal, Anderson made the stop and the rebound went in off Ottawa’s Tom Pyatt.

NOTES: Carolina was 1-2 on its three-game trip. … Erik Karlsson played his 500th NHL game, all with the Senators.


Hurricanes: Return home to face Florida on Sunday night.

Senators: At New York Rangers on Sunday night.

Getzlaf and Perry guide Ducks to gutsy win vs. Sharks


The Anaheim Ducks really needed this, and so did the two faces of their franchise.

A night after Ryan Getzlaf called himself and his partner-in-crime Corey Perry out for not scoring enough goals, Getzlaf generated the game-winner in a 3-2 victory against the San Jose Sharks.

The Ducks captain scored just his second goal of 2016-17 and helped his team snap a three-game losing streak. So, yeah, this was a pretty big deal.

Perry didn’t score a goal, but he did generate two assists of his own, so the Ducks’ dynamic duo really came through during a crucial time. If you want a sense of how much this meant to Anaheim, consider the efforts of Perry and Getzlaf, but also how much the team put on the line:

Losing to the Ducks is bad enough for San Jose, but in an uncomfortable theme of the night, the losing team also has to worry about a notable health issue. We may not know more about Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s status until Sunday (or maybe later), but it really adds an injury to the insult of losing to their California rivals.