Around the Rink – Sunday, October 17

I realize that, from a box office standpoint, it makes sense that most NHL teams prefer to play on a Saturday night. It’s the most likely night that people can go out to a hockey game, since they’re off and there’s no work the next day. But from a selfish hockey fan perspective, I wish the games were spread out more evenly so I could soak in the hockey glory that much more.

Alas, that is not the reality of the situation. Saturday featured 12 games (representing 24 out of 30 teams) while today only has two. Let’s take a look at the NHL’s mostly restful Sunday slate.

8:00 PM

Phoenix @ Anaheim

The biggest “win” for the Coyotes happened off the ice: it looks like they finally have their ownership situation under control. Now Phoenix just needs to get back in the on-ice win column, as they’ve lost two in a row despite some nice performances by Ilya Bryzgalov. Jonas Hiller won’t be easy to beat, though, as the Ducks goalie is 8-2-2 in his career against the Coyotes.

9:00 PM

Carolina @ Vancouver

The Hurricanes hope to continue their success against Northwest Division teams this season, as they defeated the Minnesota Wild in their new overseas games to begin the season. The Canucks are probably just happy that they’re not playing the Los Angeles Kings again, as that team accounted for two of their losses so far this season. Vancouver may be troubled right now, but the Sedins are playing well so far; Henrik has five assists while Daniel already has four goals and six points overall.


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.