James O'Brien

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

Islanders light up Leafs amid more ice complaints


So, what was uglier on Sunday: Jhonas Enroth‘s misplay on a Shane Prince goal, the Maple Leafs’ overall effort in losing 5-1 to the Islanders or the Barclays Center ice?

That’s up to debate, but there’s no denying that the New York Islanders enjoyed a lopsided 5-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Here’s that Prince goal off of the Enroth gaffe:

It’s a heartening effort for what’s been an up-and-down Islanders team, but it was at times overshadowed by grumbling about the ice surface and grumbling about grumbling about the ice surface.

This is far from the first time that people have voiced complaints about the rink in Brooklyn. Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck couldn’t help but describe the surface as “unplayable” about a week ago.

Some go as far as to chastise the Isles organization for the issue, yet the solution might be a little trickier when you pour over the actual logistics of the situation, at least as it pertains to the 2016-17 season.

Well, what can you do? However this season shakes out for the Islanders, the ice could very well be a topic of frequent discussion, whether the team likes it or not.

Brandon Manning wins it for the Flyers


The Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers both boast a bevvy of enviably talented young players, so it only makes sense that a fresh face made the difference.

Granted, Brandon Manning might be “old” by certain standards at 26 but … you get the idea.

His shorthanded goal ended up being the difference as the Flyers topped the Hurricanes 4-3 on Sunday:

The win also is a boost for Michal Neuvirth, who hasn’t gained a victory since being in net for the Flyers’ season-opening win. Philly’s next game is a Wednesday Night Rivalry clash with the Detroit Red Wings on NBCSN.

Sceviour’s first hat trick powers Panthers vs. Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers are getting big production from smaller names, and not just Jonathan Marchessault.

Marchessault did keep his hot streak going with a goal on Sunday, but it was Colton Sceviour‘s first career hat trick that stole the show in a 5-2 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings.

Sceviour began his run of scoring with two goals in just 23 seconds:

His third tally of the night came shorthanded:

Both the Panthers and Red Wings were shut out on Saturday. Florida bounced back here, while this is an early test of Detroit’s mettle as its hot streak was spoiled by back-to-back losses.

Sceviour’s celebration of one of his goals was one of the highlights of Sunday night:

Lightning get Kucherov back, Callahan makes season debut


What better time for Ryan Callahan to make his season debut for the Tampa Bay Lightning than to face the team he once captained?

The Lightning get Callahan and dangerous winger Nikita Kucherov back in the lineup tonight as they face the New York Rangers.

J.T. Brown and Matt Taormina are the scratches for Tampa Bay in the return of those two forwards.

Callahan last played for Tampa Bay on May 26. Here’s how Kucherov got hurt:

Royal pain: Kings put Brayden McNabb on IR


The Los Angeles Kings placed Brayden McNabb on injured reserve on Sunday.

While this move doesn’t devastate the Kings’ roster quite like Jonathan Quick‘s absence does, it’s another tough blow to Los Angeles, a team also without Marian Gaborik for quite some time.

McNabb is a big defenseman who’s been taking on an increasing role with the Kings. He went from averaging about 16 minutes in 2014-15 to almost 19 in 2015-16 and is now at 20:14 time on ice per contest through this young season.

The Kings have been able to stay in (and often win) recent contests by protecting Peter Budaj and hogging the puck, so this stings Darryl Sutter’s crew.

Los Angeles faces the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night.