Minnesota Wild v Columbus Blue Jackets

Carter helps Columbus show some life


For better or worse, the Columbus Blue Jackets stuck with the status quo despite a ridiculous amount of pressure to change. That hasn’t paid off much, but the team is showing some promise thanks to some expected players and a goalie who shouldn’t be a factor. Jeff Carter scored twice and Curtis Sanford allowed only one goal to give the Blue Jackets their first two-game winning streak since February 2010.

Carter now has three points in his last two games while Sanford earned both of those wins (and standings points in three straight starts, which is impressive for a team as unimpressive as Columbus). Better yet, the Blue Jackets are 3-1-1 in their last five, which is a nice enough streak that you can remove most of the “good for a team like Columbus … ” caveats.

And, hey, give Scott Howson credit for this much: Vinny Prospal is quietly one of the best free agent additions from the summer of 2011; he now has 18 points in 20 games.

This positive streak only places them at a league-worst 12 points, but this is generates sorely needed optimism. Check out the highlights below.

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

Connor McDavid
Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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…