Blackhawks treating home like the road

Quenneville.jpgIt’s safe to say that hockey players are a superstitious breed. They’re particular about who takes care of their sticks, they’ll keep pieces of equipment for years past the stage when you could call them old and moldy and all sorts of other added nonsense. For the Chicago Blackhawks, after having so much success on the road, it’s no surprise that they want to try to bring that good road fortune back home with them.

The Blackhawks theme of the day, of course, is reversing the trend of average play at home.

The news that the team will stay in a hotel Friday afternoon, after their morning practice, didn’t come as a complete shock.
The “road routine” has worked so well, why not try to bring it home? Simply put, there is no downside. A case could be made that the team should have stayed in a hotel Thursday night as well–John Madden said his New Jersey squad stayed in hotels in similar circumstances.

Trying to get some of the good vibes that helped the New Jersey Devils win a handful of Stanley Cups probably isn’t the worst idea around and let’s face it, Chicago has enough things going on around it to be able to be really distracting for anyone. Then again, if you want to make things really interesting, let the home teams select where the visiting team gets to stay for a hotel. I wonder how the Sharks would like staying at a hotel near Wrigley Field on a game night.

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    Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

    Patrick Kane

    On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

    In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

    The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

    Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

    (There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

    Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

    ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

    It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

    Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


    So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

    They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

    Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

    Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

    If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

    Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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    For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

    The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

    They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

    It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

    Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
    Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
    Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
    Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

    Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.