James O'Brien

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

Duncan Keith ejected, suspended indefinitely for ‘intent to injure’


Times have been tough lately for the Chicago Blackhawks, and it looks like the ride might be even bumpier for the next few blocks.

On a night where they were already playing without Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith was given a match penalty for a high-stick on Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle, with an “intent to injure” label.

It drew blood on the play, and depending upon how the NHL’s Department of Player Safety interprets things, could mean that Keith will have to sit out the Blackhawks’ next game as well.

Here’s video of the incident:

Also, Stephane “My Regular Face” comes through with the GIF:

And here’s the blood:

Keith has some history with supplemental discipline (though technically not a repeat offender), so it could be interesting to see how this shakes out (as the league has a tendency to rescind penalties that might bring about additional suspensions … yet not always).

Marian Hossa scored the 499th goal of his career shorthanded shortly after that happened, as if to argue that the Blackhawks might meet this challenge head-on.

Actually, some believe he might get more than a single game tacked on:

Update: Just a note that Keith is considered “suspended indefinitely,” even if that might just be a matter of semantics.

More Red Wings headaches: Mrazek gets the quick hook


Just moments ago, Jimmy Howard made such a great glove save that the partisan Montreal Canadiens crowd let out an audible gasp.

Sarcastic Detroit Red Wings fans might say that people are just surprised to see a stop.

In the latest wrinkle for Detroit’s recent woes, Petr Mrazek allowed two quick goals and was pulled by Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill tonight.

Mrazek’s been the guy for much of this season in Detroit, yet he’s been stumbling for more than a month, and now it might be advantage: Howard.

Now, goalie changes can often be a symptom of problems that go beyond the net, and the Red Wings have plenty to worry about. At this point, it’s all about putting together enough wins to make the playoffs, so it could very much be a night-to-night thing.

WATCH LIVE: Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues


Want a game where both teams have plenty on the line? Here’s a good choice.

The Colorado Avalanche are fighting for their playoff lives in a seesaw battle with the Minnesota Wild. They’re currently trailing by three points and hope to carry momentum from Monday’s win against the Predators.

While the Avs fight to survive, the St. Louis Blues aim to thrive. With six games remaining, they’re in a virtual tie with the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central, although they might need to finish the season with at least one more point (considering tiebreaker factors).

Amusingly enough, the ideal scenario would be these two teams facing each other in the first round.

Either way, there are plenty of reasons to watch, so check it out on NBCSN and stream it via the link below.


Bruins sign college prospects Rob O’Gara, Sean Kuraly


The college signings continue with two moves by the Boston Bruins, in both cases with fifth-rounders from the 2011 NHL Draft.

In Tuesday’s case, they signed defenseman Rob O’Gara (pictured in his Yale sweater) and forward Sean Kuraly (who played for Miami of Ohio). The Bruins selected O’Gara with the 151st pick in 2011 while the Sharks initially drafted Kuraly 133rd of that same year and round.

“We are excited to have Rob O’Gara and Sean Kuraly join the Bruins organization,” Bruins GM Don Sweeney said. “They were outstanding college players and both young men have tremendous character and leadership qualities.”

Stanley Cup of Chowder pegs this as a move that should bolster the Bruins’ AHL roster.

These signings along with Brandon Carlo coming from the WHL will bolster an already-strong P-Bruins roster; the team currently sits third in the Atlantic Division, and has three of the league’s top fifteen scorers, including two of the top five in Seth Griffith and Alexander Khokhlachev.

Reunited with Ray? Flyers reportedly give Emery a tryout


Well isn’t this … familiar.

The Philadelphia Flyers are handing Ray Emery a tryout offer starting Wednesday, with the anticipated intent for him to back up Steve Mason, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

Seravalli notes a few key things here:

  • Even if Emery shines, he wouldn’t be eligible to play for the Flyers if they make the playoffs.
  • Could this be a way of saying that the organization either doesn’t believe in Anthony Stolarz or, softening that a bit, doesn’t believe he’s ready?

On one hand, the 33-year-old netminder seems like he could be on his last legs, at least as far as NHL competition is concerned. In 31 appearances and 25 starts last season, he was under .500 with an ugly .894 save percentage.

There’s no doubt that Emery is a familiar face for the Flyers organization and its fans, so perhaps that will provide added comfort during their push for a playoff spot?