James O'Brien

Derek Stepan

Derek Stepan toughs it out for Rangers


Derek Stepan looks to be in for the New York Rangers against the Arizona Coyotes tonight. That doesn’t mean he’s necessarily feeling great.

He was previously a game-time decision on Thursday thanks to some painful-sounding dental work.

It’s one thing to get a wisdom tooth/wisdom teeth pulled, but he also got screws removed from a broken jaw. Yeah, that sounds unpleasant.

You know the deal though: he’s a hockey player, and these guys fight through pain. In particular, teeth-related issues are almost stereotypical to what a player goes through.

If he follows the usual narrative, Stepan might have a big night, too.

Avs demote Rantanen, Duchene airs frustrations


These are frustrating times for the Colorado Avalanche, so it’s not too shocking to see some moves here and there.

Mikko Rantanen (pictured) failed to score a point in his first six career NHL games, so it’s not that shocking that he’s headed out of the picture.

Really, the Avs have bigger concerns when it comes to their scorers.

Matt Duchene expanded a bit on Cam Ward‘s save from last night, and his scoring frustrations in general, as mentioned in this Hockey Buzz article.

“It’s hard because I put so much pressure on myself,” Duchene said. “My job is to score and provide offense and obviously that’s probably game over unless they score having to pull the goalie. It’s extremely frustrating that I wasn’t able to put that one in, but when you’re getting chances it comes.”

(You can see Ward’s remarkable save in the video above this post.)

One can understand Duchene’s frustration at that specific moment, yet the bottom line is that he’s barely producing more than Rantanen (Duchene has one goal in six games).

However you may feel about Patrick Roy’s philosophy and systems, one goal just isn’t good enough from Duchene, especially since scoring is indeed his calling card.

Flyers, Bruins react to Rinaldo’s hit on Couturier


Zac Rinaldo‘s hit on Sean Couturier inspired a variety of reactions from onlookers – some say big suspension, others believe the penalty itself was too severe – but how do the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers feel about it?

(See the hit itself in the video above if you have not already.)

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol did that funny thing where someone says “no comment” and then comments on something, as the Courier Post’s Dave Isaac notes.

“I’m not gonna comment on that hit at all,” Hakstol said. “There’s no place for it. That’s all I have to say. No place for it.”

Couturier left the game and didn’t return thanks to an upper-body injury, certainly a tough break for the Flyers.

It’s worth noting that Rinaldo is most known for his days as a member of the Flyers. That factored into his response to the hit from his own perspective:

Not a big surprise to see the two sides divided on this issue.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s most important to find out how the Department of Player Safety feels about the hit.

Another great McDavid goal; another Oilers win


Connor McDavid isn’t struggling with the speed of the NHL game.

Instead, he’s making defenders look like they’re skating with cement feet, and the highlight reel goals just keep coming.

McDavid added to his growing run of clips during Wednesday’s contest against the Detroit Red Wings, as you can see in that video above.

That made it 2-0, and the Edmonton Oilers recently bumped up their lead to 3-0, which is bad news for a Red Wings club this already doing some soul-searching.

Hey, at least they don’t need to deal with McDavid all that often, though.

Update: The Oilers ended up winning 3-1, giving them three wins in a row (and three straight losses for Detroit). That tally also became a milestone for McDavid:

Giroux, Mason power Flyers’ comeback vs. Bruins


It’s kind of tough to know what to expect from the Bruins and Flyers at this point in the season. In some ways, you can say the same about tonight’s game.

At first, it looked like injuries and some strong Bruins special teams work would make the difference. Steve Mason stood as a possible goat at that time.

Claude Giroux also seemed to be on the verge of “what’s wrong with Giroux?” headlines … and then both narratives dissolved in dramatic ways.

The pivotal moment came when Mason made an absolutely outstanding save on a near-goal that required review.

Check it out:

Instead of going down 5-2, the Flyers remained two goals behind. Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux scored two tallies that probably really burned the Bruins – one a Boston blunder, the other a tally Tuukka Rask might want back – and the contest went to overtime.

From there, Giroux absolutely rocketed a shot home for the 5-4 overtime victory.

A lot can change between today and October, especially when you consider how injuries have already started to pile up for both teams.

If both squads continue down their current paths, this rivalry could very well culminate in a playoff bubble battle.

For now, it’s another example of the Flyers’ surprisingly scrappy work and the Bruins’ need to do a little more work of their own.