Fight videos: Kassian keeps punching, Roussel vs. Carrick

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Thursday’s fights didn’t set a new season-high for penalty minutes in a single game, and their brief run times won’t remind anyone of Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond’s memorable fight, which was almost as long as his name.

They’re still interesting in their own ways, though.

In the case of Zack Kassian vs. Ryan Lomberg (whose name demands “Office Space” references), it was interesting to see Kassian get tossed for continuing to throw punches after the officials stepped in. Honestly, it feels like a small miracle anytime something like this happens and a haymaker doesn’t take down an unlucky zebra.

The other fight, Antoine Roussel vs. Connor Carrick, is quick-but-spirited, and also noteworthy because a pest actually dropped the gloves. In many cases, an agitator like Roussel will “turtle” or beg off rather than fighting, only making his jawing more obnoxious to opponents. Apparently this is Roussel’s fifth fight of this season and second of January, according to Hockey Fights.

Almost seems like something’s gotten into the Stars lately. Maybe Ken Hitchcock’s been yelling more in 2018?

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Blue Jackets send Brandon Dubinsky home to deal with personal matter

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The Columbus Blue Jackets were hoping to get Brandon Dubinsky back from injury this week, but that won’t be happening as the team sent him home from their current road trip.

According to The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline, the Blue Jackets told Dubinsky to go home and deal with “ongoing personal issues that have hampered his season and could threaten his career.” All the team would add is that the 31-year-old forward would be away indefinitely.

Dubinsky has been out of the lineup since Dec. 12 when he suffered a facial fracture during a fight with Edmonton Oilers forward Zack Kassian. The Blue Jackets were in Vegas for four days before playing the Golden Knights on Tuesday and head to Arizona to play the Coyotes on Thursday, their final game before the All-Star break.

All parties are saying this isn’t any form of punishment. In fact, according to Dubinsky’s agent Kurt Overhardt, he was sent home for a “medical diagnosis” as the forward has been dealing with “several issues” this season.

None of this will prevent some from speculating, and all we can hope for at this moment is the best for Dubinsky.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Oilers vs. Predators on NBCSN

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WATCH LIVE on NBSCN

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Edmonton Oilers

Forwards

Patrick MaroonConnor McDavidLeon Draisaitl

Milan LucicRyan Nugent-HopkinsJesse Puljujarvi

Jujhar KhairaRyan StromeMichael Cammalleri

Drake CaggiulaMark LetestuZack Kassian

Defenseman

Andrej SekeraKris Russell

Darnell NurseAdam Larsson

Oscar KlefbomMatt Benning

Starting goalie: Cam Talbot

NHL on NBCSN: Oilers hoping ‘bounces’ start going their way vs. Predators

Nashville Predators 

Forwards

Pontus AbergRyan JohansenViktor Arvidsson

Kevin FialaKyle TurrisCraig Smith

Scott HartnellNick BoninoColton Sissons

Miikka SalomakiCalle JarnkrokAustin Watson

Defenseman

Roman JosiRyan Ellis

Mattias EkholmP.K. Subban

Alexei EmelinYannick Weber

Starting goalie: Pekka Rinne

NHL on NBCSN: Oilers hoping ‘bounces’ start going their way vs. Predators

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues as the Edmonton Oilers visit the Nashville Predators at 8 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.

The Predators and Oilers are two teams living different lives in the NHL this season. After impressive 2016-17 campaigns, Nashville remains a contender for another year in the Western Conference while Edmonton is looking to use the second half to salvage a disastrous season — one that has seats getting pretty hot.

While they currently sit third in the Central Division, the Predators are having some issues of their own at the moment. They’re 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and two of their top stars are some difficulty scoring, all while their top point-getter, Filip Forsberg, is out 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury. His absence has negatively affected linemates Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson, who have combined for three goals in their last 11 games.

[CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE]

“(Forsberg’s) one of the best players in the league,” Johansen told Adam Vingan of The Tennesean, “so obviously he’s going to make me look like a better player and make (Arvidsson) look like a better player and make our line altogether better.”

It’s going to take a lot to make the Oilers better. Where to start? First, if things are to improve, it’s going to be with head coach Todd McLellan behind the bench. General manager Peter Chiarelli gave him a vote of confidence this week and isn’t planning on making any changes.

The team that was seventh in scoring last season is 15th as we approach the All-Star break. Their power play has dropped from 22.9 percent last season to 16.1 percent through 43 games. The penalty kill? It’s an ugly 71.5 percent, which is the 8th-worst output of all-time since the NHL started tracking the stat.

“It starts with a couple of shifts, then a full period, then a couple of periods, then a game,” said forward Zack Kassian via the Edmonton Journal. “That’s how you build momentum. “If you’re looking for excuses that’s normally when you’re not working hard enough. When you’re working hard and things are happening you tend to get bounces. We’re not getting bounces right now.”

The trade deadline arrives on Feb. 26. At what point does Chiarelli make the decision to either look toward next year or try and throw his team a life line by making a trade or two to try and spark the lineup? This is Connor McDavid‘s final year on the cheap. Next year, his cap hit jumps up to $12.5 million and the challenge to ice a competitive roster around him begins.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Los Angeles Kings vs. Edmonton Oilers

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CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE – 9:30 p.m. ET

PROJECTED LINES

FORWARDS
Tanner PearsonAnze KopitarDustin Brown
Marian GaborikAdrian KempeTyler Toffoli
Kyle CliffordNick ShoreTrevor Lewis
Alex IafalloTorrey MitchellJussi Jokinen

DEFENSE
Jake MuzzinDrew Doughty
Kurtis MacDermidAlec Martinez
Derek Forbort – Kevin Gravel

Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick

[NHL On NBCSN: Penguins, Oilers need to start turning things around now]

FORWARDS
Milan LucicConnor McDavidJesse Puljujarvi
Juhar Khaira – Leon DraisaitlRyan Strome
Patrick MaroonRyan Nugent-HopkinsDrake Caggiula
Anton SlepyshevMark LetestuZack Kassian

DEFENSE
Darnell NurseAdam Larsson
Andrej SekeraKris Russell
Oscar KlefbomBrandon Davidson

Starting goalie: Cam Talbot