If it wasn’t for bad luck, the Columbus Blue Jackets wouldn’t have any.
Today, center RJ Umberger left practice early and didn’t return. Shortly thereafter, interim head coach Todd Richards informed reporters that Umberger “wasn’t feeling right” and would be out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms.
“He wasn’t feeling right, and by that, I mean it was his head,” Richards said. “He’s got concussion-like symptoms. He’ll be on the shelf for a little bit here.”
Umberger will be held out of Friday’s home game against the Coyotes, stopping his franchise-record ironman streak at 288 games. The 29-year-old hasn’t missed a contest since being traded to Columbus from Philadelphia in 2008.
The injury puts a further damper on Columbus’ forgettable season. The Blue Jackets are the NHL’s worst team, winning just 11 times in 42 contests, and now without four of their top players: Umberger (concussion), James Wisniewski (broken ankle), Jeff Carter (separated shoulder) and Kristian Huselius (lower body).
Mark Letestu (broken hand) and Radek Martinek (concussion) are also out indefinitely.
The timing of these injuries couldn’t be worse. On Jan. 21, Columbus will set out on a six-game road trip — its longest of the season — that will see them travel to Detroit, Nashville, Tampa Bay, San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim over a 13-day span.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…