James O'Brien

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

Connor McDavid shows off his unfair speed, again


Even for hardcore hockey fans, Connor McDavid is a sight to behold.

It’s one of those so-simple-it’s-stupid points, but it’s true: McDavid’s speed is the first thing that really jumps out to you.

The thing is, McDavid somehow finds a way to do things he shouldn’t be able to do at full speed. Imagine, for a second, a NASCAR driver winning races while taking selfies, sipping coffee and generally flaunting his or her skills.

(Think Jean Girard from “Talladega Nights,” but with a bland public presence.)

Anyway, McDavid reminded us once again that every one of his games is an event with this borderline-unfair display of speed on Friday:

Senators down to third goalie after Hammond gets hurt


Add the Ottawa Senators to the list of teams dealing with some really bad goalie luck.

No, we’re not talking about playing behind their leaky defense. In this case, it’s the Senators falling down to their third goalie against the Calgary Flames on Friday.

With Craig Anderson out thanks to personal reasons, Andrew Hammond looked like he’d finally get a chance to really prove himself (and earn more hamburgers?) … until he suffered a lower-body injury.

Now the focus shifts to Chris Driedger and who would come in if something happened to him:

Can we get Roberto Luongo to tweet on this?

Looks like Getzlaf will play for Ducks (on his bobblehead night!)


Nothing’s more awkward* than sitting out your bobblehead night.

Ryan Getzlaf appears slated to avoid such a hideous fate as the Anaheim Ducks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, according to NHL.com’s Curtis Zupke.

Getzlaf was limited to 10:05 time on ice against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday and missed Wednesday’s blowout win vs. the Nashville Predators on Wednesday. It’s believed that he was dealing with an arm injury.

If there are any setbacks, PHT will make note of it, but it all looks good to go.

Now, bask in the glory of that bobblehead:

* – Not true.

Video: Jeff Skinner with a Crosby-level backhand goal


Fans of old-school hockey love hip checks, but don’t sleep on a wicked backhander.

Sidney Crosby is generally regarded as the modern champion of the infrequently-dangerous shot, but Jeff Skinner scored his second goal of the night with a really sweet one off of a partial breakaway.

Watch as he takes a nice breakout pass and beats Henrik Lundqvist to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 2-1 lead against the New York Rangers:

The Hurricanes are off to a tough start, but consider this: tonight marks their first home game of 2016-17.

They also happen to have one of the best-kept-secret top lines in Skinner, Victor Rask and Lee Stempniak.

Since you took the trouble to click, here’s the first goal Skinner scored tonight, free of charge:

Update: It seemed like Skinner got a hat trick, but instead he grabbed an assist on a late goal in the second period. He still has 20 minutes (maybe more?) to get that third goal, however.

If nothing else, the Hurricanes had fun with it:

Skinner ended up figuring into all three Carolina goals as the Hurricanes beat the Rangers 3-2.

Sharks’ Dillon criticizes lengthy goal reviews

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If goal reviews in the NHL – and really any “challenge” process in sports – proves anything, it’s that there are times when you simply can’t make everyone happy.

With replays readily available online and with TV instant replay, fans can dissect missed calls – or calls they perceive as missed calls – as they fasten their tin foil hats.

So, the league decided to allow goals to be reviewed and … there are still plenty of people who are unhappy.

Take San Jose Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon, for instance. On Thursday, he had a goal disallowed, but he’s (allegedly) more steamed about the arduous eight-minute process to determine the no-goal.

“They obviously have to tweak a couple things,” Dillon said, according to the Mercury News. “Whether, hey, it’s a five-minute window. If you can’t find enough evidence in that five minutes, or that three minutes, which would be preferable for us players, instead of having your goalie sitting around. …

“It could be a big momentum shift if the call goes the opposite way, which it did. But it’s frustrating.”

If you’re the league, the instinct might be to reply with a mere ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

As Peter DeBoer notes in that same article, these are tough calls, and it’s important to get things right. Or as right as you can. We’re not ordering a Domino’s pizza here, right?

Anyway, check out the play in question and decide for yourself. And with no time limit.