Author: James O'Brien

Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr, of the Czech Republic, talks with reporters at the NHL hockey All-Star game media day Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. The game is scheduled to be played Sunday, Jan. 31. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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.

Panthers grab rare win in Washington thanks to Huberdeau, Montoya


From a possession standpoint, the Washington Capitals looked dominant at times on Tuesday night, even with Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby out of the lineup.

The most obvious place you could see the difference was also the most important: the scoreboard.

Jonathan Huberdeau, Jaromir Jagr and Aleksander Barkov provided a showcase for their underrated top line while Al Montoya cleaned up plenty of messes in the Florida Panthers’ 5-2 win against Washington.

The Caps generated a 38-19 shots on goal advantage, yet the Panthers broke their slump in D.C., nabbing their first road win against Washington since Dec. 9, 2010.

The bigger picture is even more impressive for Florida. They’re now on a four-game winning streak, and a brief stumble following their record run now seems an afterthought; they’re an impressive 16-3-1 in their last 20 contests.

In other words, there were times when the Capitals looked the part of a team that’s towering over the rest of the East … but the Panthers countered with an argument for why they’re comfortable atop the Atlantic Division.

Check out the Maple Leafs’ new logo for next season

via Maple Leafs

The wait is over for anxious fans (of the team and uniform designs), as the Toronto Maple Leafs unveiled the logo they’ll use for their centennial season in 2016-17.

It may be wrong to truly call it new, as Brendan Shanahan points out that it evokes the team’s storied history.

“As an organization, we wanted to get back to our roots, when Conn Smythe first changed the team logo to the Maple Leaf in 1927 … ” Shanahan said.

Take a look and share your thoughts:


Sports features the team’s history of logos, if you want to see how this compares to previous looks.

The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle provides the different logos in one useful tweet:

(Pauses for a few “Does Steven Stamkos approve of the new logo?” jokes …)

A little more from the Leafs:

• The new Maple Leaf has 31 points, a nod to the year 1931 and a defining moment in team history with the opening of Maple Leaf Gardens. The new logo maintains a strong connection to the classic Leafs logo of the past while offering a fresh take on it for the future.

• The new badge contains a total of 17 veins, representing the year the franchise was founded (1917), and includes 13 veins at the top of the crest to commemorate the club’s Stanley Cup Championships.

• The outline, seen in the most recent version of this Maple Leaf from 1963-67, has been removed to create a cleaner, bolder look.

The Maple Leafs will unveil the team’s new uniforms incorporating the logo at the 2016 NHL Draft to be held June 24-25 in Buffalo, New York.

In keeping with past traditions, the Toronto Marlies will also adopt the Maple Leaf’s new mark which will incorporate the historic Marlies crown into the logo.

This is how the Marlies’ version will appear:

Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates a second-period goal with teammates Evgeni Malkin (71) and Kris Letang (58) during during the team's NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

There’s no denying it: the Pittsburgh Penguins are far from a sure bet to make the playoffs.

It just so happens that they’re starting to look like a team that could be scary if they do make it.

It’s one thing to be a squad with obvious issues when you’re sitting at the top of the league’s standings, setting expectations oh-so high. Playing the relative underdog might just be the perfect thing for this Penguins team, instead.

Tuesday was a prime example of how they can be a flawed-yet-dangerous dark horse. Sidney Crosby generated a hat trick (plus an assist) in a track meet of a game as the Penguins edged the Ottawa Senators by a score of 6-5.

Crosby’s looking like Crosby, although he’s scoring goals on an especially sizzling pace.

He’s the author of an eight-game point streak, and the league points out that he’s scored at least one goal in his last eight home games.

This marks four straight wins for the Penguins, by the way.

When you consider Kris Letang‘s status as a player of the month and how dominant Evgeni Malkin looked at the All-Star Game alone, the Penguins suddenly seem like the team many of us expected.

Now just imagine if they improve in their own end.

(Other teams would rather not.)