Mike Santorelli

Panthers renovation continues as they re-sign Mike Santorelli, add Craig Ramsay to staff

Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon’s renovation seemed to pinball around the league, bringing back old faces for the franchise (Ed Jovanovski) and his own experiences (Brian Campbell, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Kopecky) along with a few random risks (Sean Bergenheim and Tomas Fleischmann). It’s been a while since there was a hint of familiarity in Florida’s moves, but that seems to be the case with two transactions today.

First things first, the Panthers re-signed a player from within the organization as Mike Santorelli agreed to a two-year contract to stay with the team. As usual, the financial details haven’t been revealed, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it was a nice deal since he was the team’s second leading scorer with 20 goals and 41 points overall in 2010-11. (Only Stephen Weiss scored more points with 49.) Santorelli was an impressive player in the Nashville Predators’ system but never really stuck with the big club before being traded to Florida, where he flourished in a contract year as a second-line center. He might not get the same amount of playing time to prove that his breakthrough year wasn’t a fluke considering all of the incoming forwards, though.

In even more heart-warming news, Tallon hired from within the Southeast Division by adding former Atlanta Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay to Florida’s coaching staff as an assistant. It’s nice to see Ramsay land on his feet after being fired after just one season with the Thrashers organization because the team moved to Winnipeg. Ramsay seemed to do a great job with Atlanta’s defensemen, so maybe Florida can get some value out of Jovanovski and Campbell while they bring along some solid defensive prospects. Ben Wright points out that key members of that Thrashers coaching staff found jobs after the Winnipeg move, which is comforting considering their bad luck in losing those jobs in the first place.

I haven’t agreed with most of the moves Tallon made this summer, but these two decisions look pretty good (depending on Santorelli’s price).

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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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.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: