2010 NHL Entry Draft: Ryan Johansen wasn't shocked when Columbus picked him fourth

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ryanjohansen.jpgAfter Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin went 1-2 as expected, it didn’t take long for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft to unravel into odd-ball lunacy. Players and picks were traded like hockey cards in a playground. Seemingly sure-fire top 5 pick Cam Fowler dropped all the way down to the Anaheim Ducks at No. 12. Perhaps the most surprising moment came when the Columbus Blue Jackets picked Ryan Johansen, though.

Then again, if you ask Johansen, the Blue Jackets showed some serious interest in him during the interview process. Columbus GM Scott Howson apparently was smitten with him, even if scouts weren’t quite as interested.

“I just remember talking to Mr. Howson, and he really enjoyed the first game he saw me play and the first game of playoffs with the Spokane Chiefs. He really liked my style of play,” Johansen said. “I’m a play maker with good hockey sense, good vision, and good puck protection. He likes my style of play.”

Johansen was a bit short of the elite level with scouts and – at a younger age – was a little short in a more literal way. He described his struggles when he was about 16 or 17.

“Well, for me and my Bantam draft, I was 150 pounds and 5′ 9″, so my skating stride was a little out of whack there. I had the baby moose legs going on,” Johansen said. “So once I got to my regular height and started putting on some muscle, I think I gathered my stride a lit bit, and now my skating is at a high level.”

It’s great that Johansen responded to criticism with little more than a shoulder shrug, but there’s no doubt that people will put a little extra pressure on him since he was drafted before more well-regarded prospects. That might end up being his undoing, but if you ask him, the criticism will just make him better.

“Yeah, that kind of stuff gives you motivation when you’re working out, on the ice, improving your game … taking yourself to a higher level,” Johansen said. “For me, I use that as motivation and look at that. When I’m in the gym I’ll push harder. It’s a good feeling when you do stuff like that.”

The Blue Jackets have been lacking a top-end center since the franchise was born. Could Johansen end up being the guy who finally gives their franchise star Rick Nash something to work with?

Just ask him.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.