James O'Brien

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

PHT Morning Skate: Could Byfuglien beef up the Kings?


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.

The Los Angeles Kings are already a tough team to deal with. Imagine if they add Dustin Byfuglien to their beefy bunch. (TSN’s Insiders)

In case you didn’t notice, Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo seem like they’re on pretty good terms these days. (Puck Daddy)

Johnny Gaudreau elbowed in on “Johnny Football,” now he might join Marshawn Lynch in being linked with Skittles. (Sportsnet)

These 30 players could spice up the 2017 NHL All-Star Game. (The Hockey News)

Yeah, that Connor McDavid goal was something else. Here’s a collection of people raving about it. (TSN’s BarDown)

A retrospective on Shayne Corson’s career. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

P.A. Parenteau scored the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first overtime goal of 2015-16 last night. Feast your eyes on it:

Stay healthy, Connor McDavid


Connor McDavid‘s return was successful, and it was glorious. Let’s agree not to let him miss months with an injury again, then.

Simply put, the hockey world is a better place with a healthy McDavid. Here are some helpful tips to avoid excessive McDavid absences:

McDavid: Try not to block shots (see: Ryan Hugent-Hopkins) or foolishly drop the gloves (learn from Taylor Hall).

Oilers head coach Todd McLellan: Don’t ask McDavid to block shots. Watch RNH’s injury in an endless loop if that’s what it takes.

Teammates: Maybe go for finesse over power if you’re aiming your shots in McDavid’s general direction. Also, don’t bump into him or check him in practice. Sheesh.

Opponents: Hey, if you want to take a little off those checks you deliver, that would be great.

Pests: You know that terrible/annoying/terrible-and-annoying thing you were planning for McDavid? Don’t do that.

Department of Player Safety: If someone takes liberties with McDavid … well, you know what to do.

/Hatches some conspiracy theories in advance

Fans: Try not to get him sick while asking for autographs. Maybe wash your hands first?


Honestly, even Calgary Flames fans should root for a hearty, healthy career for McDavid. It’s just the right thing to do.

Seriously though, do we really want to miss out on more of this?

Darcy Regier leaves Coyotes assistant GM post for ‘personal reasons’


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona Coyotes senior vice president and assistant general manager Darcy Regier is leaving the team for personal reasons.

The team confirmed Regier’s departure during a game Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

Regier was hired by Arizona in July 2014 after 17 seasons as Buffalo Sabres general manager. He is the highest ranking of three Arizona assistant general managers, including Chris O’Hearn (hockey operations) and John Chayka (analytics).

Regier is also the general manager of the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons. The Coyotes had no further comment.

Dodged bullets for Jagr, Ekman-Larsson?

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On the first night back from the All-Star break, at least two playoff hopefuls (seemingly) breathed sighs of relief when it came to injuries.

(The key word is seemingly, as you never know when something ends up being a problem despite early optimism.)

As fun as things were during All-Star weekend for Jaromir Jagr, the veteran repeatedly said that he wanted to rest instead. He didn’t finish the Florida Panthers’ win against the Washington Capitals, but it sounds like Florida was just playing it safe:

The Arizona Coyotes had a reason to worry when Los Angeles Kings blueliner Luke Schenn delivered a hard hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson:

Once again, good news – at least for now – is that OEL managed to return:

There’s always a chance that both players may miss some time. Still, at the moment, things might work out in each case.

Of course: Connor McDavid scores beauty in first game back


Hey, maybe all that “Can Connor McDavid win the Calder?” isn’t overblown.

The super-hyped No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Draft reminded us of how much we missed him – not to mention how absurdly fast he is – with a goal in his first game back from a freakish injury.

It’s just a jaw-dropper.

Feast your eyes on the goal McDavid scored in the video above, beguiling a group of Columbus Blue Jackets in a way that evoked a little bit of Datsyukian magic.

Update: The Oilers ended up winning 5-1, with McDavid chipping in three points.