Blackhawks find elixir for ailing power play: Blue Jackets

To the shock of just about everyone, the Columbus Blue Jackets reacted to their awful 2-11-1 start by … acquiring depth forward Mark Letestu. Common sense’s loss appears to be the Chicago Blackhawks gain, though, as Chicago has a 5-1 lead heading into the third period.

If that wasn’t enough, the squalid ‘Hawks power play even got off the mat, as they’ve already scored two goals on three opportunities.

The fact that the Blackhawks went with a non-traditional mix on the PP – a tactic that allowed Steve Montador to pick up a Gordie Howe hat trick – pours some more salt in Columbus’ hockey wounds. (It also emboldens my personal belief that teams shouldn’t be so static when it comes to their special teams units, but that’s another discussion for another time.)

So what can the Blackhawks take from these results through the first 40 minutes? Maybe not a whole lot, as the Blue Jackets are floating in a sad, sad funk. Still, Chicago got that statistical monkey off their backs … and maybe learned that they can throw a few grinders out on the man advantage every now and then.

Senators select Kyle Turris as alternate captain

Chris Neil Kyle Turris Dustin Tokarski
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Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.

Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.

Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.

With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.

Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.

Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day

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On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.

Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.

The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.

There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.

Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.