Author: James O'Brien

New York Rangers v New York Islanders

Gillies gets automatic AHL suspension, apologizes on Facebook


Trevor Gillies is no stranger to going over the edge, but his ugly outburst on Rochester Americans rookie William Carrier from Friday even left him apologizing today. The Post-Star passed along this apology from Gillies’ Facebook page:

“I would like to apologize to my family back home for embarrassing the family name. To my teammates and the organization and the fans in the hockey community. I crossed the line. Thankfully the kid is okay. I’m not taking this lightly or easily and promise it won’t happen again. If you want to bash me I get it. I will just take my medicine with no response. Again I’m truly sorry – Gillies”

Here’s video of that incident one more time:

The 35-year-old is serving an automatic one-game suspension, which the AHL will review to determine if he’s worthy of additional discipline.

Gillies currently plays for the Adirondack Flames, Calgary’s AHL affiliate. He last played in the NHL in 2011-12, appearing in three games with the New York Islanders. Despite only appearing in 57 NHL games in his career, he received two lengthy suspensions.

NHL on NBCSN: Avs seek vengeance against the Wild

Nathan MacKinnon, Ilya Bryzgalov

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Minnesota Wild host the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center at 9 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

With about eight minutes remaining in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Colorado Avalanche, the Minnesota Wild looked like they were in trouble.

The Avalanche held a 4-3 lead thanks to an Erik Johnson goal 11:16 into the third period, and shortly after that, Darcy Kuemper left with an injury, prompting struggling goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to come in cold.

Of course, things unraveled for Colorado instead, as Jared Spurgeon tied that game up with less than three minutes remaining and then Nino Niederreiter capped an impressive night with the series-clincher in overtime, sending Minnesota to the second round and ending the Avs’ season in the process.

It’s the sort of defeat that sticks with you.

“It was a nightmare for all of us, especially for me,” Semyon Varlamov told in July.

Much like the San Jose Sharks against the Los Angeles Kings last night, beating Minnesota in their 2014-15 season-opener wouldn’t totally make up for that playoff letdown, yet it’s a start for the Avalanche. It won’t be easy, especially on the road, however.

Tonight’s contest also provides an opportunity to see how far the two teams have come after some significant offseason moves. The Avalanche parted ways with Paul Stastny and P.A. Parenteau while adding veterans Jarome Iginla, Brad Stuart and Daniel Briere. The Wild added dangerous sniper Thomas Vanek and saw Kuemper and Niklas Backstrom emerge from all their goalie drama. Each franchise made big moves, yet predictions are all over the board for Colorado and Minnesota.

Of course, both teams have plenty of young talent to get excited about, with Nathan MacKinnon drawing all kinds of hype this summer:

While one night won’t make or break Patrick Roy’s system, the debate between his traditional stance and the “fancy stats” crowd adds yet another intriguing storyline to the mix.

Could we see more seeds planted for a growing Central Division rivalry? Will MacKinnon and Matt Duchene wow us some more in 2014-15? Is this the year in which the Wild take all that marquee talent and make a big run?

The Avalanche and Wild will begin answering those questions tonight.

(Oh, and also that whole Matt Cooke-Tyson Barrie thing. Might want to keep an eye on that.)

Jets’ Maurice offers latest vote of confidence for Pavelec

Penguins Jets Hockey

In a league where patience runs out pretty quickly for unsuccessful experiments, the Winnipeg Jets have been sticking with Ondrej Pavelec through thick and thin. (OK, mostly thin.)

Aside from a depth move that may just complicate their backup situation in trading for Peter Budaj, the Jets are standing pat in net, even if Winnipeg’s lack of progress in this area sticks out like a sore thumb.

While it’s not exactly like head coach Paul Maurice has much of a choice, he’s backing up his 27-year-old netminder, as the Winnipeg Free-Press reports.

“The Pav thing… I guess I understand it when you start reading the stats from the last couple of years,” Maurice said.

” … But when I showed up what I saw from the guy, he played pretty darn well in that stretch. He had a .947 (save percentage) in the first 14 games and I couldn’t understand the surprise at it.”

Simply put, Pavelec hasn’t come close to translating that work over a full season, even if his highlight reel saves tend to captivate. His career save percentage (.906) is basically “backup-level” stuff, and it’s not as if he’s winning despite those stats, either (113-125-35 career record).

With a $3.9 million cap hit that doesn’t expire until after the 2016-17 season, the feeling seems to be that the Jets are “stuck” with Pavelec. At least the organization’s getting pretty adept at spinning his struggles, though, right?

Past stories about Pavelec’s struggles

He wasn’t happy with his play (2012-13 edition)

Vote of confidence from GM Kevin Cheveldayoff heading into this offseason

He had a nightmarish time in the 2014 Winter Olympics, too

Under Pressure

Seriously, this has been an issue for ages

Bettman’s cold to the idea of a Florida outdoor game


The NHL’s Stadium Series and Winter Classic events have pushed – and will push – league ice guru Dan Craig to some ambitious levels, but that doesn’t mean Gary Bettman’s open to just any idea.

During a sprawling 20-minute press conference ( provides the full details here) on Wednesday, Bettman made it clear that the Florid Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning are unlikely to get an outdoor game anytime soon.

“I think there are probably still a couple places where we wouldn’t dare try it. I’m not sure South Florida ever gets cool enough with great predictability to ever do it,” Bettman said. “But yeah, we’ve now figured out that we can push the limits a little bit. That’s a testament to Dan Craig. As I said last year before and immediately after the game at Dodger Stadium, I only asked him 10,000 times over the span of a year, ‘Are you sure you can do this?’ There was no question. But again, there is a huge demand for these. Now in terms of games in California it’s not about the elements, we think we can deal with that, it’s about making sure we move this around and satisfy the interest that we’re getting on a continent-wide basis.”

The San Jose Sharks are hosting the Los Angeles Kings at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Feb. 21 for that 2015 Stadium Series contest. It could be a challenging event climate-wise, yet Bettman obviously seems confident that it will be a success.

Bettman also noted during the press conference that the NHL’s still trying to find the right fit for the number of “special events.”

” … Two isn’t necessarily the right number. Six isn’t the right number. It’s probably going to be somewhere in between.”

The NHL’s commissioner touched on a variety of subjects, including echoing previous thoughts on expansion and shedding some light on Chris Pronger’s rumored discussions to join the league’s Department of Player Safety. You can read a detailed transcript of his presser here.

PHT Morning Skate: The media is Marchand’s pest

Brad Marchand

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. passes along excerpts from a radio interview in which Brad Marchand responds to a summer of trade rumors with this doozy:

“The funny thing about the media is they think that you’re best buddies, and it doesn’t matter how much you trash them,” Marchand told 98.5 The Sports Hub, via “I don’t like that, I don’t respect that, and if they think we’re going to be buddies this year then they’ve got something else coming.”

It doesn’t get any friendlier from there. (

Some infographics are better than others – including in this very collection – but the Hockey News put together some interesting factoids about the international makeup of the NHL. One takeaway: Sweden and Finland have made some nice gains. (The Hockey News)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Thursday’s NHL games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts Thursday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Jonathan Toews is a statistical darling by just about every measure, including looking brilliant by “fancy stats.” That doesn’t mean “Captain Serious” is particularly interested in diving into Corsi and PDO data any time soon, though. (

Nathan MacKinnon takes on Olympic speedskater Charles Hamelin in an entertaining “race.” (Sportsnet)

A timeline of events since the Carolina Hurricanes last made the playoffs in 2008. (Raleigh News & Observer)

Apparently Darryl Sutter is more than just a guy who wins Stanley Cups and offers precious few words during press conferences. (TSN’s Bar Down)

The Los Angeles Kings lost big time last night, but they still have more ammo for trash talk against the San Jose Sharks:

Apparently inevitable Alex Ovechkin storylines are a bit, well, much for some Washington Capitals onlookers: