Travis Zajac

Travis Zajac is just about ready to play again

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Travis Zajac’s recovery from a torn Achilles is nearly at an end.

According to Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice, Zajac skated on the third line in practice this morning and it’s looking like the Devils may just get their top center back in the lineup this weekend, perhaps as early as Friday against Dallas.

(Update 12:17 p.m. ET: Katie Strang of ESPN New York tweets that Zajac will be in the lineup on Friday night.)

Getting Zajac back in the lineup will be a huge lift for New Jersey and give them some surprising depth thanks to the surprising play of rookie Adam Henrique. With Zajac back as their eventual first line center and Henrique or Patrik Elias in place as the second line center, the Devils’ top six looks a lot more formidable than it looked before the season started.

Dealing with the Devils is tough enough as it is with how tough they play defensively, but with three solid play makers up the middle to go along with Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk (even with his struggles) gives the Devils plenty to work with offensively.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.