James O'Brien

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

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.

With Kucherov day-to-day, Lightning recall Conacher

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that Nikita Kucherov is considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury after Thursday’s unfortunate spill.

(You can see that crash in the video above.)

That’s a bummer, no doubt, especially if there are a lot of “days” missed. On the bright side, the Lightning have some reasonable depth to help stem the tide; in this case, that means recalling familiar face Cory Conacher.

The 26-year-old has been bouncing around hockey a bit lately, playing in the Swiss league last season. He’s something of an AHL/NHL ‘tweener at this point, but Bolts fans can look back fondly at him scoring 24 points in 35 games with the Bolts back in 2012-13, a span that inspired enough interest in Conacher that he was the main piece Ottawa received in the Ben Bishop trade.

So, hey, if you’re a Bolts fan feeling sad about Kucherov … just take a look at Conacher. It will probably remind you that you have, you know, one of the best GMs in hockey.

Get this: Bruins aren’t happy with Pastrnak’s suspension


You’re not going to believe this, but the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers don’t see eye-to-eye on David Pastrnak‘s two-game suspension for a hit on Dan Girardi.

In discussing the decision, the NHL provided the following explanation:

“Rather than staying low and hitting through his opponent’s body, Pastrnak unnecessarily extends up and into this hit, picking the head and making it the main point of contact,” the Department of Player Safety explained.

Claude Julien provided the Bruins’ side of the argument, as CSNNE.com reports.

“To me I see a guy [in David Pastrnak] whose feet are still on the ice,” Julien said. “I just think that was an attempt to finish his check, but certainly not to injure.”

Julien insists that Pastrnak didn’t go “full-tilt.”

The Rangers, meanwhile, believe that it is the sort of check that needs to be eliminated.

“Initially when watching it, we didn’t feel it was the type of hit that the game wants, and the league took a stand,” Alain Vigneault said, according to Newsday’s Steve Zipay.

Now, if the roles were reversed, would we see Vigneault griping about a suspension and Julien backing it up? Perhaps.

Ultimately, what we know for sure is that the top-heavy Bruins will be without a red-hot performer in Pastrnak for two games.