James O'Brien

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

No Shea Weber for Predators on Tuesday


For a team that still needs to cement its playoff status, beating the Toronto Maple Leafs is pretty important for the Nashville Predators.

That task is tougher than it may seem at first blush, as they’ll need to do so without captain Shea Weber, who’s out with a lower-body injury.

It’s unclear how serious this is (beyond the vague day-by-day label). The assumption is that Weber got injured sometime during Nashville’s shootout win against the Montreal Canadiens.

Barret Jackman steps in with Weber out.

Even in victory, things have rarely been easy for the Predators, so at least they’re used to fighting for their points.

Trade: Capitals get Mike Weber, Sabres add to draft pick war chest


The Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals made a Tuesday trade that basically inches them along in their very different directions.

Short version: Capitals acquired Mike Weber; Sabres received a 2017 third-round pick while retaining half of Weber’s salary.


Capitals: Washington adds depth without spending big money. He’s an unrestricted free agent after this season; beyond that, the Sabres are retaining 50 percent of his $1.67 million cap hit.

So, yeah, this is very cheap.

He’s pure depth for Washington, likely to fight for bottom pairing minutes. The “stay-at-home defenseman” could find himself as a healthy scratch some nights.

There are patterns in the way people describe him:

This may be the easiest way to understand his role, though:

Sabres: Buffalo’s takeaway is obvious enough.

They receive a third-round pick from the Capitals, albeit in 2017. (Then again, with the way Washington’s playing, there’s at least a chance that might have been the wiser pick to seek. Maybe.)

Weber didn’t figure heavily into the Sabres’ future, it seemed:

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Sabres continue this pattern of pick stacking for the next few days, at least with whatever assets (maybe Jamie McGinn himself?) teams may value.

With help from General Fanager’s listings, the Sabres now appear to have 11 draft picks in 2016 and nine in 2017. That includes three second-rounders in 2017, while this upcoming draft is heavier on third-rounders …

… For now?

No joke: Mitch Albom’s writing the script for the John Scott movie


So, get this: Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. reports that there will indeed be a movie depicting John Scott’s journey to become MVP of the 2016 NHL All-Star Game.

Not only that, but Mitch Albom is writing the script.

(Seems like a good time to roll with this GIF.)

Mandalay Sports Media acquired the rights to the story, which will be produced by Mike Tollin and Jon Weinbach. It’s important to note that there can often be bumps in the road between plans being hatched to make a movie and “sitting in a theater and nitpicking that movie.”

Still, it’s pretty wild stuff. Read more about it here.

Oh, and sadly, all the best/worst jokes have already been made:

(OK, that last one wasn’t about the movie and might not have been a joke.)

More bad news for Montreal: Season-ending surgery for Tom Gilbert

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Monday could have been a bad night for Craig Smith. It’s definitely a bad one for the Montreal Canadiens.

The losing kept going, for one thing (you can read about their shootout loss to the Nashville Predators here).

There was some frustration, too, including a missed penalty on Nathan Beaulieu. The trade deadline may be a time of selling for Montreal.

If that all wasn’t enough, the Habs will lose Tom Gilbert for the rest of the season thanks to a left knee injury that requires surgery.

The Habs recalled Victor Bartley in Gilbert’s absence:

Gilbert isn’t the presence he once was, but it’s another slap in the face for a Habs team dealing with what’s often been a painful season.

Sharks bash Blues as plot thickens in Pacific Division


On a day when the San Jose Sharks made a statement trade, they spoke even louder on the ice.

With this win, the Sharks continue to argue that the Anaheim Ducks aren’t the only reason why the Pacific Division seeding races are heating up.

Months ago, it seemed like the Los Angeles Kings would run away with the top spot, yet their hated California rivals continue to heat things up.

The Ducks are closer in trailing the Kings by just two points for first place, but the Sharks remaining only three behind Los Angeles and two behind Anaheim after an impressive 6-3 win against the St. Louis Blues.

Brent Burns was upstaged by burly-bearded-brethren Joe Thornton, who came through with a jumbo night: two goals and two assists. Even Thornton’s empty-net goal was especially impressive.

Tomas Hertl was almost as big a part of the win, scoring the opening game’s two goals, helping San Jose make the Blues pay for Ryan Reaves‘ boarding hit on Matt Tennyson (which produced these scary results).

While the Sharks ferociously fight for Pacific positioning, the Blues have suffered a brutal few days.

Alexander Steen‘s out for possibly the remainder of the regular season, and that wasn’t the end of their health woes, as Brian Elliott didn’t return to the game after suffering a lower-body injury.