They say that all good things come to an end. Well, not tonight.
Despite some shaky stretches for both the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins, each of the Original Six members were able to extend their respective winning streaks with tight victories on Tuesday night. They may not have been pretty, but a win is a win.
The red-hot Bruins welcomed the Devils to TD Garden on Tuesday night. The Bruins entered the game scoring at least six goals in each of their last four games. Any time a team nets thirty goals over a week and a half, they’re going to win their fair share of games. They needed every bit of firepower they could find against the Devils as the game went back and forth for 57 minutes. With three minutes left, Benoit Pouliot scored what proved to be the game winner for the Bruins in their 4-3 victory. Not Tyler Seguin. Not Patrice Bergeron. No, it was Benoit Pouliot—the man who Jack Edwards described as, “a chump” and “one of the greatest disappointments of talent in National Hockey League history.”
Yeah, things are going so well in Boston that Pouliot and Edwards may even buy each other drinks right now. This is what happens when a team outscores their opponents 34-13 over a six game stretch. People buy each other drinks.
Down the Atlantic coast, the Rangers should have had an easier opponent when they traveled to Long Island to face the Islanders. At least that’s how it looked on paper. But they didn’t play the game on paper—they played it in a building that has been begging for a wrecking ball for the last decade. Any game between the Rangers and Islanders can go either way; such is life with bitter rivalries.
Like the Bruins/Devils game, it took a late 3rd period goal to seal the deal in a 4-2 victory for the Rangers. This time, it was Brad Richards blowing a slapshot by Evgeni Nabokov with less than five minutes to break the tie. The Rangers have now outscored their opponents 26-11 over their seven game winning streak and have the second best record in the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers have the rest of the week off and don’t take the ice again until they faceoff with the Canadiens on Saturday. The Bruins will be a little busier as they face the struggling Blue Jackets on Thursday and Islanders on Saturday.
The big question: will either of these teams lose anytime soon?
“That doesn’t mean [Kekalainen] is calling teams, saying ‘what are you going to give me?’ However, when teams call, he’s not dismissing the interest. He is saying ‘well, what’s your offer?’
“What that tells you is there’s at least some interest in considering the trade of Ryan Johansen and, as we saw on the weekend, his minutes dropped, he was demoted to the fourth line — so if the right deal comes along, they’ll consider it.”
The incident Dreger referred to occurred during Sunday’s 5-3 loss to San Jose, in which head coach John Tortorealla limited Johansen to just 13:52 TOI — his lowest total of the season.
It’s the latest incident from what’s already been a tumultuous year; not long after getting hired, Tortorella told the reigning All-Star MVP he was out of shape.
Johnansen was then away from the team for a pair of games dealing with an undisclosed illness. During that absence, the Dispatch reported Johansen had been hospitalized this summer because of an accelerated heart rate.
All this, of course, came one year after an ugly contract dispute at the start of last season, during which the Jackets and Johansen’s representation engaged in a public spat before agreeing to a three-year, $12M deal.
‘John leaves a lasting mark’: NHL announces Collins’ departure as COO
One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.
John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.
More, from the League:
Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.
“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.
“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”
Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.
During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.
Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)