Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, Roman Hamrlik

Columbus’ big guns doing all the work in a bad start

Things aren’t going very well for the Columbus Blue Jackets to start the new season. Through five games they have just one point, getting that in a shootout loss against Colorado. The combination of poor defense and goaltending as well as a lack of supporting offense are helping turn what was a hopeful offseason for the Jackets into yet another season of misery.

If you want to find a silver lining through all this, however, there’s the play of their top line. Jeff Carter, Rick Nash, and Vaclav Prospal have combined for 13 points through their first five games, a total that accounts for half of the team’s points overall. While most teams have two scoring lines, the Jackets are rolling with only one that’s doing it consistently.

Their second line is off to a brutal start with Antoine Vermette having no points and R.J. Umberger scoring just an assist in Columbus’ loss last night. The second line has already seen Cam Atkinson sent back to the AHL scoring just one goal while Alexandre Giroux has taken over adding a goal of his own in his first game.

While Steve Mason is going to take a lot of the heat in goal for his poor play, the Blue Jackets are going to need everyone to step up their offense if they want to win. Otherwise, the losses will pile up and the cannon the team shoots off for goals will stay as quiet as the ones left on Civil War battlefields.

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…