Author: James O'Brien

New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four

Flyers expect seamless Coburn return: ‘He’s a freak that way’


The Philadelphia Flyers will welcome defenseman Braydon Coburn back into the lineup as they face the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Despite missing 12 games with what might have been a fracture in his foot from blocking a shot, Coburn is expected to be up to speed right away, at least according to what head coach Craig Berube told

“For us, playing a fast team like Colorado he can really skate and defend,” Berube said. “That’s how I look at it. He can fly. He’s out there skating and it looks like he hasn’t been off.

“He has that ability to really move no matter what. He is always in great shape. He’s a freak that way.”

Coburn, 29, will replace Carlo Colaiacovo. If the team skate is any indication, he’ll pair up with Luke Schenn.

Coburn averaged about 22 and a half minutes per night the last two seasons, so he could make a meaningful impact on a Flyers defense that doesn’t look very impressive on paper. Steve Mason will likely appreciate that, as he’s set to make his fourth consecutive start.

Report: No fine or suspension for Ovechkin’s hit on Hjalmarsson


Alex Ovechkin is unusual among the NHL’s top scorers for how often he throws his body around. Sometimes that gets him into trouble with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, but the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc reports that he’ll sidestep a fine or suspension for this hit on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson:

Ovechkin, 29, received a two-minute minor penalty for an illegal hit to the head during the game. His most recent suspension came via a three-game ban in 2012-13. The Capitals star has more than 1,000 hits since 2009-10 (when the stat’s been tracked a little bit more regularly).

It doesn’t sound like Hjalmarsson, 27, suffered an injury from that check.

Washington ended up beating the Blackhawks 3-2 last night. They face Carolina tonight.

Sabres’ Ennis sorry he took ‘frustrations’ out on linesman

Boston Bruins v Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres forward Tyler Ennis is sorry that he hit linesman Derek Nansen with his stick on Friday – resulting in a game misconduct – but hasn’t heard from the league regarding a possible suspension, the Buffalo News reports.

“I was a little frustrated,” Ennis said this morning. “I just went to go talk to the linesman and tap him on the bum lightly, but I think I got his hand a little bit. He was a little upset, so I apologized after the game to him and the referees. Kinda just said I shouldn’t take my frustrations out on them. They’re just doing their job.”

Here’s video of the interaction from last night’s loss against the Edmonton Oilers:

The Buffalo News points out that a suspension is plausible, as outlined by Rule 40.

If any supplemental discipline happens, it would need to take place soon; the Sabres close off a back-to-back set with a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. Ennis, 25, didn’t skate this morning, yet that could have as much to do with the back-to-back games as anything else.

Either way, it’s obvious even Ennis knows that it was a foolish decision.

Blue Jackets lose Calvert (again)

New York Rangers  v Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets seem like they’re getting the occasional peek at that light at the end of the tunnel, but they’re not there yet.

While Sergei Bobrovsky and Brandon Dubinsky skated on Saturday, Matt Calvert apparently had a setback. He re-aggravated an injury (he was on IR with head/ankle issues) and won’t play against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight.

Columbus demoted Mark Dano in favor of Dana Tyrell, who looks to take Calvert’s spot in the lineup. The team’s in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, including last night’s overtime loss against the climbing Carolina Hurricanes.

Calvert hasn’t been all that productive this season (one goal, one assist and a -5 rating in nine games played), yet the Blue Jackets are hurting enough for experienced players that this stings.

Leafs limp into Saturday’s game vs. Rangers

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Buffalo Sabres

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ injury updates are a mixed bag as they ready for tonight’s game against the New York Rangers.

Phil Kessel: He didn’t play during the third period of a loss against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday with an undisclosed issue and also skipped today’s morning skate. He’s in despite all of that, according to the Leafs. Perhaps he won’t be at full speed, though?

Jake Gardiner: The up-and-down young defenseman is a game-time decision.

Daniel Winnik: He won’t play. TSN’s Jonas Siegel shares mixed messages about a possible concussion.

Overall, the Leafs seem a little banged up tonight. Still, even with Derek Stepan returning, the Rangers probably won’t feel much sympathy for Toronto considering their own problems.