Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Oliver Ekman-Larsson providing humility lesson Kyle Turris needs

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Oliver Ekman-Larsson is off to a big start for the Coyotes this year. With three goals in the team’s first four games, Ekman-Larsson is showing that persevering is one of his better traits. Kyle Turris should be taking notes.

Last season, Ekman-Larsson spent most of the year as a healthy scratch playing in 48 games with the Coyotes and piling up just 11 points and just one goal. While other players worked their way into coach Dave Tippett’s lineup, Ekman-Larsson practiced and worked out but couldn’t crack the lineup. That kind of development can make a young player frustrated, especially in their first NHL season.

This time around, Ekman-Larsson is showing his offensive skills and proving he belongs on the ice more often as an offensive spark plug for a team that desperately needs it. One year of struggling to fit in and an offseason of working harder so far looks like it’s paying off for Ekman-Larsson and it’s providing the kind of example that should be set for unsigned restricted free agent Kyle Turris.

Turris too has struggled under Dave Tippett and is reportedly frustrated with how he’s been used and played in Phoenix. With the kind of breakout that Ekman-Larsson is having this year, it’s showing Turris that sometimes resting on your laurels and banking on your talent won’t cut it enough in some places.

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.