Author: James O'Brien

Pittsburgh Penguins v Minnesota Wild

NHL on NBCSN: Crisis-mode Wild visit Penguins


NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Minnesota Wild at the Consol Energy Center at 7:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

The Minnesota Wild are baffled by their lack of success, going as far to admit that head coach Mike Yeo’s job might be on thin ice. The Pittsburgh Penguins serve as a serious challenge at a tough time, but perhaps that’s sometimes the best way to turn things around?

Yeo and Wild GM Chuck Fletcher have some roots with the Penguins organization, so there might be a wistful feeling considering Minnesota’s substantial struggles.

MORE: Jeremy Roenick says Yeo has to go

The Wild are currently on a five-game losing streak, which is their second five-game skid in a month. You can spend all day cutting up pieces of this meltdown for Minnesota; for another example, the Wild have dropped 11 of their last 13 contests.

The team seems perplexed as far as what exactly is going wrong, at least beyond the obvious problem that their goalies aren’t stopping enough pucks.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

On Pittsburgh’s end, things have been a little bumpy at times, though clearly not as dire as what Minnesota is going through. They won against the Montreal Canadiens in overtime on Saturday, but have struggled a bit recently, losing six of nine. They’re gearing up for an interesting test against the New York Islanders on Friday (not to mention another test versus the red-hot New York Rangers on Sunday).

Marc-Andre Fleury has been strong this season (21-7-4, .926 save percentage), and he’s shooting for a personal milestone tonight. points out that Fleury has beaten every NHL team aside from the Wild and has some ugly numbers against Minnesota (0-5, .853 save percentage).

One would think that Niklas Backstrom will be in Minnesota’s net, although considering his recent work, there’s always the chance the Wild will opt for someone else (perhaps John Curry?).

Either way, there’s little doubt which team will be more desperate tonight, yet that doesn’t mean that we can expect the Penguins to roll over for the Wild. It should be a fascinating scene to take in on NBCSN, so be sure to tune in.

For all we know, we may just witness the end of Yeo’s days with the Wild.

PHT Morning Skate: Making the most of those rare goals


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.

Jincy Dunne and the U.S. women’s under-18 team beat Canada to take gold, doing so for the first time since 2011. (IIHF)

Anaheim Ducks players reflect upon Teemu Selanne’s big night. (Ducks)

Fascinating question: could Dustin Byfuglien win the 2015 Norris Trophy even though he may only play on defense for half of the season? (The Hockey News)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

It may take a while to get William Nylander ready for the big time. (Sportsnet)

Here are the little Dominik Hasek banners Buffalo Sabres fans will receive for attending tonight’s celebration:

What would you do if you were an enforcer who barely scored any goals? Well, you might wear a T-shirt emblazoned with that moment, as San Jose Sharks fighter John Scott did. (Via Mirco Mueller’s Instagram page)


In case you’re curious, here’s video of the goal itself:

Lundqvist wanted to make All-Star team, will rest instead


New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist told the New York Daily News that he wanted to make the 2015 NHL All-Star Game roster, yet he’s not using that “snub” as motivation, either.

“Not really,” Lundqvist said. “I’ve been planning not to go (to Columbus in late January), spend time with family and recharge. I feel like there are a lot of good goalies and the competition is tough, but I think about it. I want to be one of those guys, obviously. I see myself as a guy that can compete against the guys that are there, but at the same time there are guys having strong seasons right now.

It’s easy to see why Lundqvist isn’t totally heartbroken about this situation, especially since he’s probably been the most consistently “All-Star caliber” goalie in the NHL during the last decade or so. He’s made three teams, yet with how erratically the events have been happening lately, his frequently elite numbers argue that he doesn’t have much to prove.

Beyond that, one wonders how many players are secretly glad to get the break, even ones who don’t profess to planning exotic vacations like Joe Thornton did. Lundqvist, 32, noted that he’ll use the break to “recharge” and spend time with his family.

In a way, the Rangers are probably glad he didn’t make it, unless this disrupts his rhythm.

Lundqvist has been absolutely lights out since December 8, winning 11 of 12 games, pitching a shutout and allowing two goals or less in all but two contests.

After another slow start (5-3-0 with a troubling .891 save percentage in October), “The King” has ranked among the league’s best once again. He probably doesn’t need an All-Star nod to confirm that.