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Update on Brian Rafalski: Red Wings D to miss 3-4 weeks after knee surgery

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As we discussed earlier today, Brian Rafalski had surgery on his knee today and now we have a better idea of how much time he will miss after getting it scoped.

TSN reports that the 37-year-old Detroit Red Wings defenseman will miss three to four weeks recovering from the arthroscopic knee surgery procedure. Red Wings GM Ken Holland said that doctors “cleaned up loose particles” in the crafty American defenseman’s knee.

I’m not sure if at-or-around a month qualifies as “not missing much time” as coach Mike Babcock said, but this is a big (but obviously not permanent) blow to Detroit’s blue line. He scored 42 points in 2009-10 and registered 55 points or more from 06-07 to 08-09. Rafalski is the team’s second most important defenseman behind Nicklas Lidstrom, averaging 23-24 minutes per game since he signed with the Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent.

The team might decide to put him on the injured reserve, possibly even the long-term IR. His salary cap hit is $6 million per year, so that would at least give Detroit some considerable breathing room to try to piece together a makeshift blue line.

It’s pretty difficult to look past the increasing age up and down the Red Wings’ roster, but we’ll see if the talented bunch can keep it together while their second best defenseman recovers from this injury. At 37, you have to wonder if Rafalski’s best days are behind him.

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

Patrick Kane
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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.