Author: James O'Brien

Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks

Video: Teravainen’s beautiful pass leaves Blackhawks fans beaming


OK, let’s get the prerequisite hold-your-horses stuff out of the way:

1. This moment came on Sept. 15.

2. … Which means it didn’t even take place during a preseason contest, but instead a prospects game, so the level of competition is obviously much lower than what Teuvo Teravainen would face even against opponents that might be in “tank mode” in 2014-15.

There, that might calm some people down. Others will just bask in the glow of this beautiful pass, and those who are Chicago Blackhawks fans may have ludicrous dynastic thoughts dancing in their heads:

If the much-hyped 20-year-old prospect can translate those skills to big-time NHL battles, hockey fans could be in for a treat and the rest of the league might want to pack some antacids.

(H/T to The Score.)

Flames dodge bullets with ugly hit on Gaudreau, minor issues for Bennett

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks

It’s easy to dismiss preseason games and especially prospect tournaments as irrelevant venues of competition, but they’re worth noting for at least two reasons: 1) players getting opportunities and 2) possible injuries. The Calgary Flames got two scares in that second category in their prospects exhibition against the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

The biggest concern revolves around promising scorer Johnny Gaudreau’s condition following this ugly hit by Frank Corrado (video via Jason Gold):

PHT’s own Cam Tucker reports that Corrado, 21, received a major penalty (possibly for elbowing) and was ejected for that check. Jason Gold compares that hit to one Kyle McLaren delivered on Richard Zednik.

Whatever the league may or may not decide to do about that check, the early word regarding Gaudreau (pictured) seems positive:

That brings us to the other scare for Calgary tonight: first-round pick Sam Bennett was held out after he seemed to suffer a minor groin injury. The good news is that the fourth overall pick of the 2014 NHL Draft doesn’t even think this issue will linger into training camp:

Bennett, 18, and Gaudreau, 21, inspire some serious excitement from observers so it’s heartening to hear that they likely dodged bullets.

Naturally, if anything changes for either prospect, PHT will make note.

Red Wings’ tryout invite Robinson is fully conscious after being hospitalized


The Detroit Red Wings announced that training camp invite Brandon Robinson is fully conscious and has full movement in his body after being taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons on Monday.

Robinson, 18, was taken off the ice on a stretcher after being boarded during the team’s prospect matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets.’s Brendan Savage has more on the situation (H/T to Kukla’s Korner):

It certainly sounds like a scary collision, but at least he’s responsive and seems mobile. Video of the collision is unavailable at this moment.

Robinson played the 2013-14 season with the North Bay Battalion and Kitchener Rangers.

Habs’ Price expects to be 100 percent to start 2014-15

Carey Price
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As valiant as Dustin Tokarski’s efforts were against the New York Rangers, the Montreal Canadiens still faced the stark reality of life without Carey Price during the 2014 postseason. Considering the fact that his knee issues kept him from skating for most of the summer, it’s fantastic news that the goalie believes he’ll be good to go, as TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reports:

That’s definitely what the Habs want to hear, yet they might want to be cautious with Price during training camp and the preseason.

Beyond keeping the 27-year-old’s health in mind, they could also get an extended glance at Peter Budaj (still under contract at $1.4 million) and Tokarski (who possesses a club-friendly deal that goes from two-way in 2014-15 to one-way in 2015-16).

While Budaj, 31, didn’t exactly get the vote of confidence by sitting after Price was injured, there’s still some question regarding whether or not Tokarski’s style can hold up to extended scrutiny at the NHL level. The 24-year-old made some dazzling saves against the Rangers, yet his aggressiveness also opens the door to goals that might not happen with more cookie cutter techniques (see: Roberto Luongo’s memorable original criticisms of Tim Thomas).

There’s no such doubt about Price’s viability, of course. He’s coming off a brilliant season in which he won a gold medal with Team Canada and generated a career-best .927 save percentage alongside a great 34-20-5 record.

Blue Jackets GM to Johansen: It’s about the team, not ‘one guy’

Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Six

The funny thing about contract negotiations is that they’re often contentious … until they’re not. At least, that’s what often happens when teams and players do a good job of keeping whatever’s personal private and play it safe with “all-business” public comments. Things get a little dicier when some of that venom spews into newspaper stories and blog posts.

At this point, the Columbus Blue Jackets seem like they’re struggling to contain their frustrations regarding negotiations with rising star forward Ryan Johansen. One can almost imagine steam coming out of GM Jarmo Kekalainen’s ears when reading his comments to the Columbus Dispatch:

“Maybe it’s because I’m European, I don’t know, but I want everybody there to start getting together and working together, and I want it to be about the team,” Kekalainen said on Sunday. “That’s how we were successful last year and the year before – it was about the team, not about one guy.”

When pressed after implying that he’d close off negotiations with Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt once training camp started, Kekalainen’s response was curt and maybe even worrisome:

“Draw your own conclusions.”

Before Blue Jackets fans get too concerned about seeing the 21-year-old sit out a big chunk of time if a deal isn’t reached, it appears that Kekalainen might let cooler heads prevail:

One cannot help but note that Kekalainen is still new to the GM gig, as he was hired back in February 2013. As shrewd as he’s been so far, is it possible he’s allowing his emotions to get the best of him here? Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman notes that threatening to sit out games is one of the few bargaining chips high-profile RFA’s really hold.

It is believed that Columbus is willing to go a touch over $4 million at the highest, while the player ask is $6 million-ish, down from where things started. It sounds like the Blue Jackets talked to the Coyotes about what they went through with Kyle Turris, another Kurt Overhardt client. The agent took a tough line with Arizona, as he did with Vancouver while the Canucks tried to trade Ryan Kesler. Johansen’s strongest leverage is missing games. Is he willing to do that? It would be an unpopular stance, not always an easy thing for a young player.

The sticking point, again, is track record versus perceived potential.

“We’ve shown it many times, that our ownership is committed,” Kekalainen said. “Look at Brandon Dubinsky. We paid him (this summer). Look at Nathan Horton in free agency (two summers ago). They are willing to make the commitment when it’s earned. We have no problem paying the dollars when it’s earned, but the key word there is ‘earned.’ While we believe in his future, we want to see him do it a little bit longer than just one year.”

It’s easy to see where each side is coming from, but it doesn’t sound like the word “compromise” is on the tip of any tongues. Perhaps that will change before things get even messier in the form of missed regular season games and/or hurt feelings?