James O'Brien

Ryan Strome’s bumpy season continues with upper-body injury


Some listed Ryan Strome as a possible breakout candidate in 2015-16. Instead, his season’s been more of a breakdown.

The latest bump in the road came on Saturday, when Strome suffered an upper-body injury thanks to a hit by Andrew Bodnarchuk of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

You can watch the hit – which many believed warranted at least a major penalty – in the video above.

The New York Islanders didn’t provide an update regarding Strome’s condition after their 3-2 overtime win against Columbus, so you can probably consider him questionable for tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils.

It’s already been a turbulent campaign¬†for the 22-year-old considering his AHL demotion, and now he’s injured. We’ll see if this is a minor issue or something that may plague him for some time.

Dan Hamhuis helped off ice after taking scary shot to face

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Frightening scene out of Vancouver on Wednesday night, as Dan Hamhuis was helped off the ice after getting in the face by a hard Dan Boyle shot.

You can watch the unsettling moment in the video above.

Details are a little scarce at the moment, although it sounds like Hamhuis was eventually hospitalized:

It may be a broken jaw:

The Vancouver Canucks beat the New York Rangers 2-1 tonight.

The Beau Show: Penguins pour it on late against Avalanche


On a night where the Pittsburgh Penguins had No. 9 on their minds, No. 19 sure put on a show.

Beau Bennett helped the Penguins put together a fantastic third-period turnaround, eventually beating the Colorado Avalanche by a score of 4-2.

Much like Boston’s comeback against Montreal, it was a dramatic turnaround. The Avalanche were up 2-1, yet Pittsburgh scored three goals in less than four minutes to run away with the contest.

Bennett’s 4-2 goal may have been the most prominent showing of increased confidence:

It was a special night for a first-rounder who’s development has been bumpy, to say the least.

With Daniel Sprong being the topic of much conversation – and consternation – around Pittsburgh, it was other Penguins youngsters who made the biggest difference.

Olli Maatta continues to show the sort of promise that’s been all-too-rare at times this season,¬†grabbing¬†two helpers in this one.

Is everything perfect in Pittsburgh? Not really … in fact, Bennett seemed to get shaken up late in the contest, keeping with what feels like a “one step forward, two steps backward” pattern.

Still, wins heal a lot, and the Penguins have an opportunity to start piling them up with five of their next six games coming at home.

All of a sudden, the Oilers are … playoff hopefuls?


Certain numbers indicate that the Edmonton Oilers are better than they’ve seemed, but now much simpler ones are starting to look a lot more promising.

The Oilers gained a measure of revenge for head coach Todd McLellan, as Taylor Hall and Leon Draisaitl powered a 4-3 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks (aka the team that fired McLellan).

Hall and Draisaitl continue to be the lifeblood of the Oilers offense, really carrying the load especially – but not exclusively – once Connor McDavid suffered his very unlucky injury.

Could that win mean more than that, though?

The Oilers are now on a four-game winning streak to begin the month of December, making the most of a homestand that ends when they host the New York Rangers on Friday. This tweet might say the most, though:

In the age of “the charity point,” that potential gap is a little bigger than it may seem. And, yes, it must be mentioned that the Pacific Division is downright pitiful.

Still, the Oilers will take it, especially when you consider how many people dismissed their chances once they lost McDavid.

It was a rough night for the Sharks beyond the scoreboard, as Logan Couture may have gotten injured.

Bowled over: Bruins run away with third period vs. Habs


Boy, business really picked up between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens in the third period of Wednesday’s game.

A blistering stretch left the Habs stunned and powered the Bruins to an eventual 3-1 win:

Six minutes in:¬†Dennis Seidenberg tripped up Dale Weise on a breakaway, with Tuukka Rask getting bowled over. Some believed that Weise deserved a penalty shot, but that didn’t happen.

About eight minutes (7:53) in: In a remarkably similar circumstance, Loui Eriksson was hauled down into Mike Condon, but this instance resulted in a goal.

(See that combined sequence in the video above.)

Less than a minute (8:35) into the period: Landon Ferraro made it 2-1.

Just like that, the Canadiens saw a 1-0 lead turn into a 2-1 deficit. Patrice Bergeron kept hammering away in that final frame as well, scoring the 3-1 goal at the 13:42 mark. All in all, things really came unglued in mere minutes.

That wasn’t the only facet of the game, either, as Tuukka Rask was maybe the biggest single difference-maker.

Opposite directions?

For the first time in 2015-16, the Canadiens are on a three-game losing streak.¬†They’ve also lost four of their last five (going 1-3-1 since Nov. 28).

Montreal maintains a healthy Atlantic Division lead, yet with Carey Price on the shelf, one wonders if much of their cushion will dissolve.

Meanwhile, the Bruins continue are really getting their acts together, having only failed to grab a standings point once since Nov. 19 (going 7-1-2).