Author: James O'Brien

Tampa Bay Lightning v Vancouver Canucks

Report: Phone hearing for Burrows, who says hit on Emelin wasn’t late


The NHL will hold a telephone hearing with Vancouver Canucks forward Alex Burrows for his hit on Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports. As you can see, Kypreos believes supplemental discipline is imminent:

Burrows delivered that check during the Canucks’ overtime win against the Canadiens on Thursday. He believes that it wasn’t a late hit, according to the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs:

Habs coach Michel Therrien deemed it a dirty hit to the head. Decide for yourself:

That hit didn’t generate a penalty.

Burrows, 33, hasn’t ever been suspended by the NHL despite being one of the league’s most agitating presences. He has, however, been fined on two different occasions. It likely helps Burrows’ cause that Emelin, 28, returned to the game during the third period.

Kypreos reports that a decision will be made today. Vancouver’s next game is against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Heads up: Scott Stevens reportedly interviewed for Player Safety gig

New Jersey Devils v Buffalo Sabres

Many critics of the NHL Department of Player Safety’s decision to hire Chris Pronger threw out the blurb, “Who’s next, Scott Stevens?” Well, maybe so.

Yahoo’s Nick Cotsonika reports that the league interviewed him while Bob McKenzie added that it’s by no means a “done deal” during Thursday’s edition of TSN’s Insider Trading. The Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti notes that Owen Nolan and George Parros were also among the interviewees.

Much like Pronger, Stevens was one of the best – and easily among the most intimidating – defensemen of his generation. It’s an understatement to regard both blueliners as two of the most polarizing players of their era, too.

One popular refrain regarding the changing standards for dirty hits is that Steven’s highest profile hits (career-threatening, bone-crushing stuff on Paul Kariya and Eric Lindros) would likely be illegal by today’s standards. It’s not all that shocking to see that a potential Stevens hire drawing some debate out from media members, too:

Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski brings up a salient point beyond all that bluster, though: would a Stevens hire be a bit redundant?

One of the great things about the NHL’s competition committee, by comparison, is that it’s a cross-section of players. Seriously, look at this group. Scorers, defensemen. Guys who hit, guys who get hit. A goalie!

In many ways, one of the guys Stevens basically ended, Paul Kariya, would be a better voice in the player safety room. We have hitters represented; what about the hittees?

It’s an interesting proposition to consider. After all, wouldn’t a “finesse” player provide some added perspective regarding when a guy might put himself in a “vulnerable position” and when it might be a flimsy argument? (One example: Jonathan Toews provided some interesting prospective on a big Willie Mitchell hit back in 2010.)

Either way, it’s clear that Stevens draws respect for his “hockey IQ.” He’s already off to a fairly productive career in coaching* and, polarizing or not, he was rarely suspended despite his physical style.

We’ll eventually find out if the league will make another controversial hire in an area that might just promote the most controversy among hockey fans.

(Aside from goalie interference penalties, maybe.)

* – Although it was put on hold.

PHT Morning Skate: Closing out Hockey Halloween (plus a bloody KHL brawl)


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

It’s finally Halloween for those of you who hate fun don’t really enjoy seeing NHL players and fans in zany costumes. Let’s take a stroll through recent costumes and a few that slipped through the cracks.

Dion Phaneuf as Spider-Man is … uh.


Russian Machine Never Breaks provides an in-depth take on Washington Capitals Halloween costumes. You’ll have to go there for Alex Ovechkin’s bit, as Joel Ward, Tom Wilson & Co. won it with this “Dodgeball” motif:

The Edmonton Oilers’ Twitter feed passes along this “Zoolander”-inspired bit by members of the Bakersfield Condors, the team’s ECHL affiliate:

(Admission: it’s kind of easy to forget Owen Wilson’s “Hansel” character, aside from when people are making lazy Martin Hanzal jokes.)

This is a high-quality “Flying V” routine:

BarDown has some other costume ideas, including the increasingly popular “go as the Stanley Cup” idea. Not sure how to feel about it:

The NHL shared this great (and elaborate) fan costume:

Admittedly quite late on this, but the Pittsburgh Penguins still have room for improvement costumes-wise:

That said, Sidney Crosby as Philadelphia icon “Rocky Balboa” is pretty provocative, eh?

Yay or nay on this Florida Panthers – Batman splice?

Moving on beyond Halloween …

Also late on this but: the Gin Blossoms are still around? Huh.

Ryan Miller is already buying hockey gear for his expected child:

Oleg Gubin and Jonathan Sigalet set off quite the bloody scene during a KHL game between Sibir Novosibirsk and Slovan Bratislava last night:

Smith, Predators halt Oilers’ winning streak

Craig Smith, Filip Forsberg

Onlookers can debate whether Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith was robbed of a goal during Wednesday’s 4-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers. There’s no denying that he had a big impact on tonight’s game, anyway, as he scored two goals (that counted) as Nashville ended Edmonton’s four-game winning streak.

(Speaking of streaks, the Predators won five straight home games for the first time since 2008, according to Sportsnet.)

Smith, 25, scored the first of his two goals after a nice bit of defensive work. Here’s the end result:

Ben Scrivens made some tough saves, yet Nashville was just too much for Edmonton. Also too much: Shea Weber’s ridiculous shot for his fourth goal of 2014-15:

Here are a couple possession charts if you’re into that sort of thing:


(via Natural Stat Trick)


(via War on Ice)

Even with Edmonton fighting to get back into the game in the third period, Nashville outscored the Oilers 2-1 in that final frame.

Plenty left to learn about both teams

The Predators have been looking pretty good, especially considering that 6-1-2 record. Still, we’ll find out more about this squad soon; tonight’s game kicked off a six-game road trip that will get tougher as it goes along. (Their possession stats are solid enough so far, so that’s good.)

The pendulum seems to swing violently for the Oilers each week so far in 2014-15. Perhaps a 4-5-1 record is fair enough for Edmonton so far. While the Oilers’ four-game winning streak was heartening, they’re also 0-5-1 against Western Conference opponents this season.

The Oilers finish their seven-game homestand on Saturday and then face five straight road games, so we may very well see more peaks and valleys through November.

Overall, the jury’s still out on both teams, yet the grade for the Predators is “so far, so good.”

Red Wings’ Weiss still dealing with groin injury

Detroit Red Wings v Florida Panthers

The Detroit Red Wings’ best players powered Wednesday’s comeback win against the Washington Capitals. In an ideal world, Stephen Weiss would have contributed to such a victory.

Instead, Weiss continues to struggle with health issues that have plagued him since his last season with the Florida Panthers.’s Ansar Khan reports that the 31-year-old was held out of the third period of Wednesday’s game for the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.

Weiss’ deal runs through the 2017-18 season. It currently carries a $4.9 million cap hit, but it’s going to become especially tough to stomach in the next two seasons.

Take a look at the structure of the deal, salary-wise:

2013-14: $4 million
2014-15: $4.5 million
2015-16: $6 million
2016-17: $6 million
2017-18: $4 million

Considering that he’s just 31, it’s conceivable that Weiss might be able to make a positive impact on the Red Wings roster at some point.

It’s hard not to throw the word “albatross” around here, though.