Zack Kassian

New Canuck Kassian promoted to second line


He’s only played three games since being traded from Buffalo, but Zack Kassian is already drawing rave reviews in Vancouver. The big, tough 21-year-old winger has a goal, an assist and a whole bunch of hits for the Canucks, and tonight he’s been promoted to the second line with Ryan Kesler and David Booth.

Coach Alain Vigneault thinks it’s a trio that could be tough to handle if Kassian can maintain his current level of play.

“They’ve got speed, size and skill and two of three have a little edge,” said Vigneault, as per The Province. “If it works out, it’s a good line. Our scouts felt really highly that Kassian has the potential to be a top-six forward and get there fairly quick. How long that’s going to take, I’m not quite sure. He has obviously caught our attention as far as the skill level and the physicality that he can bring. Like any young player, can he maintain it and will it continue? Those are the questions we’re going to get answered.”

Both Kassian and Booth were acquired for their straight-ahead style, a style that’s more commonly known in Vancouver as the completely opposite way Mason Raymond plays.

“I’m working hard because it can be taken away from you in a second and it’s a privilege to play with those guys,” said Kassian. “I want to open up the ice as much as possible and give Kesler a little bit more time with the puck. My role is to be hard on the forecheck and create room and I’m just going to keep doing that.”

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane

On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

(There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.