James O'Brien

2014 Hockey East Championship - Semifinals

Bruins sign NCAA champ Noel Acciari, whose ‘motor never stops’


Noel Acciari was a significant part of the Providence College team that won the 2015 NCAA title. The Boston Bruins hope that he can help them win some big games, too.

The team made it official that they signed the 23-year-old forward to an entry-level contract on Monday. Specifics regarding terms and money were not shared, although ESPN’s John Buccigross indicated that it’s for two years a few days ago.

CSNNE.com passed along the views of a scout that certainly point to a player who could be well-liked in Boston.

Here’s what one NHL scout from a Western Conference team had to say about Acciari after multiple viewings of the player: “High energy, hard-working 2-way center. The kids motor never stops. Average size but gets his nose dirty and plays really hard. Will need some time in AHL, but he has 4th line/checking upside, and is smart. Think Antoine Roussel minus the fighting and agitating, or a Derek McKenzie type. Just loves to play.”

Roussel without the fighting and agitating? That’s kind of tough to imagine.

Acciari may be able to mix some decent scoring touch in with his energy game, too, it seems. Acciari scored 15 goals and 32 points for Providence College in 2014-15. He gained accolades such as Hockey East Defensive PLayer of the Year this pas season.

Sounds like a decent depth pickup for the Bruins all around.

Red Wings to announce Blashill hiring during Tuesday press conference


The Detroit Red Wings didn’t officially say what announcement will come on Tuesday afternoon, but it will clearly involve Jeff Blashill’s promotion to head coach.

Blashill, 41, enjoyed great success behind the bench of the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. With Mike Babcock headed to Toronto, the time seems right for him to become the second-youngest head coach in the NHL.

Members of the Grand Rapids Griffins spoke of “mixed emotions” after exit interviews on Monday, but they also praised the run they enjoyed with their ascending bench boss to MLive.com.

That same publication provides a detailed look back at Blashill’s rise from college hockey goalie to rising coaching talent (and now Red Wings head coach).

Even early on as a “solid goalie at the Division I level” with Ferris State, it seemed like he had the makings of a coach. Bob Daniels (his head coach at the time) remarked at his skills as Blashill ascended from a lowly position as a graduate assistant to an assistant gig.

“He understands the X’s and O’s. He knows how to break down video. He has a game plan,” Daniels said. “He’s able to paint a picture so that players have confidence.”

The NHL has seen a nice run of AHL coaches who quickly found success at the next level. Blashill has big shoes to fill in Detroit, yet at least it seems like he’s shown serious promise in his rise to this position.

In other Red Wings coaching news:

Injury or indigestion? Ben Bishop leaves ice in third period

New York Rangers v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Six

Game 2 of Blackhawks – Lightning has had just about everything. There have been goals and lead changes. Big saves and wild end-to-end action. Now we can add intrigue and … well, toilet humor.

Ben Bishop left twice during the third period of this crucial game, forcing Andrei Vasilevskiy into a high-pressure situation out of nowhere.

There’s always a chance that Bishop is hurt. Still, there are some, erm, backseat drivers who think that he might just have an upset stomach.

Here’s video of Bishop’s exit. Perhaps we’ll get more information after the game?

Unfortunately, many believe it’s a possible injury that would take more than Pepto Bismol to heal.

Take another look at the controversial 3-3 goal from Brent Seabrook to see if he may have gotten hurt there:

Vasilevskiy deserves serious credit, as he held strong and the Lightning made their 4-3 lead last, moving the series to a 1-1 tie and giving the young goalie his first NHL playoff win.

Video: Tampa Bay shakes off controversial goal, takes 4-3 lead

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Two

Aside from possible nibbling from Andrew Shaw, Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final didn’t provide much in the way of controversy. There’s some grumbling in Game 2, though.

Update: The volume is likely to go down on the debate thanks to Jason Garrison’s goal, though. Here’s that 4-3 tally:


Jonathan Toews made a great play in the neutral zone (and then in the attacking zone) to set up Brent Seabrook for the 3-3 goal. Officials huddled a bit after it went in, but Ben Bishop’s pleas about interference fell on deaf ears.

Should the goal count? Judge for yourself:

At minimum, people believe that this is the latest argument for a coach’s challenge.

Some go the extra mile and say it shouldn’t have counted:

Tyler Johnson caps wild second-period scoring spree

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

The goals are streaming in so rapidly in the second period of Game 2, it’s hard to catch your breath and keep track of the changing narratives.

Update: This post was barely live before the narrative changed again, as allegedly injured forward Tyler Johnson made it five total goals in about 11 minutes of wild second-period action, regaining the Lightning’s one-goal lead with a 3-2 tally.

Hurt or not, Johnson now has 13 goals in this postseason, which stands as a new Lightning record.

With the way things are going, there may be another goal before we hit the final frame of regulation.


First, it was about pests putting the puck in the net, as Cedric Paquette’s 1-0 tally did not hold up very long thanks to Andrew Shaw’s 1-1 put-back goal.

After that, it seemed to shift to the Chicago Blackhawks befuddling the Tampa Bay Lightning by scoring in bunches.

Chicago managed two goals in 1:58 in Game 1, and they nearly matched that effort in Game 2, as Teuvo Teravainen generated his third point of the series 2:16 later to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead.

Indeed, things looked pretty glum for the Lightning … but not for long.

Nikita Kucherov’s deft deflection made it 2-2 about a minute-and-a-half after Teravainen’s seemingly spirit-crushing goal:

People had a lot of nice things to say about Kucherov’s hands:

Shall we call him Nikita “The Surgeon” Kucherov? Maybe not, but it was pretty nice. There’s still plenty of time for more wild play in this hectic second period, too.