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

Video: Patrice Bergeron helped off the ice after puck to the knee


The Boston Bruins have been a pretty top-heavy team at times this season, so they have to been especially concerned if Patrice Bergeron was injured during Wednesday’s game against the Washington Capitals.

Bergeron was struck in the knee by a puck in the third period, needing help to get off the ice.

We’ve seen cases where a player comes back soon after a scare only to miss time after all, so this is still a situation to monitor, but the good news is that Bergeron returned not all that long after leaving. He only missed a few minutes of game time.

Again, this doesn’t guarantee that Bergeron avoided injury, yet it’s better than him calling it a night.

After the game, things became less optimistic for Bergeron and the Bruins, who may have also seen Tuukka Rask get injured.

Brad Marchand is playing, so he keeps scoring (Video)


If Brad Marchand‘s actions – er, hockey plays – weren’t enough to agitate his opponents, the polarizing Boston Bruins winger also happens to be scoring at a dizzying rate.

There’s still a period and change remaining in Wednesday’s game against the Washington Capitals, and Marchand already extended his multi-point streak to four straight games with two goals.’s Joe Haggerty notes that he also has 13 goals in his past 15 games.

It’s been quite the stretch for the NHL’s second star of January.

Both Marchand goals came on the power play, pushing him to 23 tallies in 2016-17. You can see the first goal in the video above this post’s headline and the second below.

More on Marchand

No discipline for Marchand stemming from his trip on Anton Stralman; Marchand calls it just a hockey play.

He did receive a $10K fine for a “dangerous trip” on Niklas Kronwall, however. He’s aware of his status as a controversial figure.

Video: Nicklas Backstrom’s slick saucer pass is the star of T.J. Oshie’s goal


Nicklas Backstrom set up T.J. Oshie for the hockey equivalent to an alley oop, though the degree of difficulty was higher.

For one thing, Oshie had so much time, it almost would have been understandable if he flubbed it. It’s like a basketball player who is so open you wonder that the shot will end in a brick.

The real treat of this clip is the assist, as Backstrom took advantage of a Brad Marchand turnover to send a beautiful saucer pass through a small window of two Boston Bruins.

It’s one of those moments that hockey nerds will particularly enjoy, a subtle display of skill that makes a more obvious slam-dunk moment happen.

(Phew, that’s a lot of analogies to other sports. Sorry.)

Here’s the moment itself, as it’s probably worth seeing in isolation:

Backstrom now has 36 assists, second only to Connor McDavid. It’s easy to see why thanks to moments like these.

It was a strong first period overall for Backstrom, who added a goal:

Brad Marchand probably won’t silence critics in explaining trip


As one of the NHL’s preeminent pests, it’s no surprise that Brad Marchand had something to say about his trips on Anton Stralman and Niklas Kronwall.

Also not surprising: his explanation probably won’t make his critics happy.

“I don’t know if you can see the whole play, but you can see the whole time that I’m watching the puck. I really didn’t even know that [Stralman] was there until we collided, so it was just kind of a hockey play,” Marchand said, via’s Joe Haggerty. “I think last night the social media kind of blows things up more than it would normally be. At the same time with what happened with [Kronwall] it gets blown up a little bit too.”

Hmm, maybe people on social media didn’t get the entire picture thanks to the GIF of the Stralman trip. Here’s video that provides greater context:

The NHL hasn’t contacted Marchand about the trip on Stralman, while the Bruins winger received a $10K fine for the incident with Kronwall.

Instead of receiving supplemental discipline on Wednesday, Marchand was named the NHL’s second star for the month of January.

They’ll be plenty of eyes on Marchand tonight, as his Bruins face the Washington Capitals to kick off NBCSN’s doubleheader.

For more from Marchand, check out that article.

‘Something to be said for chemistry’ – Contenders wary of trade deadline


The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals rank among the teams who’ve paid up big for trade deadline rentals, only to see mixed results (especially recently). For that reason, they’re sending signals that they might be quiet this time around.

“You see so many guys that are traded for pretty high picks and have very minimal impact,” Barry Trotz told the Washington Post.

Indeed, the Blackhawks paid an especially high price in 2015-16, giving up two high draft picks, Marko Dano and Phillip Danault (currently playing a significant role for the Montreal Canadiens) for an ineffectual group of rentals in Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise and Tomas Fleishmann. That’s like coming home from Blockbuster with a bunch of Ernest movies.

Sometimes it’s about the price or the quality of players, but don’t disregard the crash course a rental often faces in adjusting to a new city and new linemates. It makes it easier to see why Trotz views Lars Eller as Washington’s equivalent to a deadline acquisition.

“There’s something to be said for chemistry and keeping your guys together and not having someone come in externally, swoop in and try to find a role for him,’’ Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘So we’ll see. Things change quickly. But as we look at it today, I’m not expecting a big addition like that.”

Such thoughts resonate even with teams that might make a big splash.

While Pierre LeBrun reported in Tuesday’s edition of TSN Insider Trading that the Nashville Predators have inquired about Matt Duchene, they also wonder if another tide-turning trade would be too much for a team that finally seems like it’s on the same page.

And it’s also worth noting that teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t going to happily give up pieces like Ben Bishop for cheap, not after seeing teams mortgage their longer term future for quick fixes during previous deadlines.

In other words, if you’re watching pundits awkwardly try to pass time during a quiet 2017 trade deadline, it might just come down to teams learning from the past.

Here’s hoping they don’t take history’s lessons so seriously that we don’t get to enjoy a little quality intrigue and entertainment, though.