Mikael Samuelsson, Aaron Rome

When will Columbus’ winless nightmare end?


Last season, the Detroit Red Wings put a streaking Columbus Blue Jackets team in their place by spanking them in a home-and-home series. This time around, they just kicked a little more dirt in their faces with a 5-2 win.

The game shined a harsh spotlight on the two teams. While the Red Wings remain undefeated, the Blue Jackets are the only remaining NHL team without a single victory. (At least Vinny Prospal won’t be conflicted about Friday’s game – both the results and the effort were pitiful.) It’s not like the Blue Jackets are scrapping out charity points here and there, either. They’ve earned one lonely point in seven games thanks to a shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

So is there any hope?

Kind of. The Blue Jackets have a golden opportunity to earn their first “W” on Saturday, as they play the Ottawa Senators.

They better break the curse tomorrow, though, because things could get really ugly once James Wisniewski is eligible to throw questionable checks and cash questionable checks once again. Here’s a quick glance at their next few games in case you want to put together an office pool on when the Blue Jackets will earn their first win.

Oct. 22: at Ottawa
Oct. 25: home vs. Detroit
Oct. 27: at Buffalo
Oct. 29: at Chicago
Oct. 30: home vs. Anaheim
(Click here for their November schedule)

If the Blue Jackets fail against the Senators, they might not earn their first win until November. That’s plenty of time to turn a “vote of confidence” into an awkward firing press conference.

So when do you think they’ll earn that first win?

There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight

Connor McDavid
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Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.

Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”

The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.

Eichel front page

Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.

But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.

“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.

“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”

Sutter: Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

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Lost in the various controversies (see here and here) of last night’s game in Los Angeles was a pretty dismal performance by the Kings, a team that should’ve been especially motivated to start the season after missing the playoffs last year.

The Kings were hammered, 5-1, by the visiting Sharks. They were outshot, 32-20.

“If you don’t check, you don’t have the puck enough,” said Kings head coach Darryl Sutter. “If you don’t have the puck enough, you can’t score.”

“We were pretty sloppy. Sloppy on our rushes, sloppy in our D-zone,” said forward Dustin Brown. “That’s probably most of it, but the other part is compete – in the corners and making hard plays coming out of our zone, going in. We didn’t play very well.”

Obviously, much credit has to go to the Sharks. Like the Kings, they missed the playoffs last year and came into 2015-16 looking for redemption. But the Sharks haven’t won two Stanley Cups in the last four years, and they weren’t the home team.

“Gotta check,” said Sutter. “You don’t check, you can’t score. We had a lot of guys, especially top guys that weren’t interested in that part of the game.”

The Kings get a visit from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. If they don’t dominate that team…