James O'Brien

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

PHT Morning Skate: Brent Burns chia pet – what took so long?


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.

As you can see in the video above, Chris Chelios had fun (briefly) disrupting Nicklas Lidstrom’s intermission interview on NBCSN.

(You can see his puck drop ceremony at the bottom of this post.)

The value of playing the (draft) lottery. (Sportsnet)

Five possible trade deadline bargains. (The Hockey News)

The case for chasing Jeff Skinner in a trade. (TSN)

The chia pet Brent Burns, aka one of those “How did I not think of that?” ideas.

Sounds like McLellan wants Oilers to ‘get rid of some players’


Selling at the trade deadline can be great for a team’s future. It can also open up an opportunity for a guy being moved as a “rental.” You don’t see coaches getting too excited about their rosters being depleted during this time very often, however.

In the case of the Edmonton Oilers, Todd McLellan might just look at this situation as “addition by subtraction.”

You can watch the very interesting press conference in the video above, but this moment was singled out by the media:


McLellan didn’t mince words when asked directly about Justin Schultz, describing his night in the 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators as disappointing for the team and individual.

Earlier on Tuesday, TSN’s Darren Dreger said that if you’re an Oiler beyond Connor McDavid, you shouldn’t consider yourself “an untouchable.”

If McLellan had the opportunity to see that, he might be nodding his head in approval.

Torchetti dimmed: Isles end Wild’s winning streak


In his first home game as Minnesota Wild head coach, John Torchetti experienced his first defeat with the team.

It wasn’t in much doubt, either, as the New York Islanders beat Minnesota 4-1 to end the Wild’s winning streak at four games.

Special teams were a big problem for the Wild. The Islanders went 2-for-3 on the PP while Minnesota failed to connect on five opportunities. Going further, Frans Nielsen even added a shorthanded goal.

That’s a frustrating effort, something that wasn’t lost on Minnesota’s interim head coach.

Even so, the locker room was uniformly down, so there’s still some holdover optimism.

Minnesota’s attention remains on the East to finish the month. They face the Flyers on Thursday, then take on division leaders in the Capitals and Islanders during the weekend.

Red Wings edge Columbus via shootout, defuse late controversy


Detroit Red Wings fans are no strangers to controversial calls, but Tuesday’s crowd-displeasing moment may fizzle away because the home team won.

Petr Mrazek and the fans at Joe Louis Arena were incensed when a would-be breakout pass for a potential Pavel Datsyuk breakaway was whistled dead prematurely in overtime.

It was one of those moments that would generate even louder grumbling if Detroit didn’t beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 via a shootout tonight.

The Red Wings did win, however, and they celebrated a night for Nicklas Lidstrom with a tightly-fought victory. Detroit ended a four-game losing streak in the process, too, so a defeat really could have lingered in the minds of many.

Granted, it’s not the prettiest win, and the Red Wings would probably like to light up the scoreboard after this narrow win and Sunday’s 1-0 overtime loss to Ottawa.

Not every win can be pretty … especially with their perfect human firmly in retirement.

Ghost busted: Flyers fall, Gostisbehere’s streak is over


You know what they say: all good things must come to an end.

In the case of the Philadelphia Flyers, two concluded on Tuesday. Shayne Gostisbehere‘s great 15-game point streak is now over, and the Flyers failed to extend a three-game standings point streak, falling to the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 3-1.

Cam Ward is the main person to thank for this. He stopped 36 out of 37 shots tonight, including two by “Ghost Bear.”

(Perhaps Ward is pumping up whatever trade value he has, at least in the event that Carolina might want to shop him?)

Gostisbehere’s streak included five goals and 13 assists for a dazzling 18 points, giving him 35 in now 41 games.

Between that production and the considerable workload he’s carrying, it’s probably safe to say that his Calder argument hasn’t ended with his point streak.