Lou Lamoriello

Devils strangely opt to keep this year’s first rounder


As a punishment for Ilya Kovalchuk’s first, failed “lifetime” contract, the NHL fined the New Jersey Devils and required GM Lou Lamoriello to give up a first rounder within four years.* It was reasonable for the Devils to keep their 2011 pick since they didn’t make the playoffs, yet the hockey world raised its collective eyebrows when Tom Gulitti pointed out that they won’t give up their 2012 pick either.

Now they’re left with a simple choice: give it up in 2013 or 2014.

That might not sound like a big deal, but chew on this: the Devils will make the second-lowest pick (29th out of 30) this year because they made it to the Stanley Cup finals. On face value, this is an extremely strange decision. Technically speaking, the Devils would need to win the Stanley Cup in 2013 or 2014 to give up a “weaker” pick.

On the other hand, the Devils might just view the 2012 NHL Draft has an especially deep one. Could pick No. 29 in 2012 be better than even a mid-range one in 2013 or 2014?

Perhaps that’s the argument Lamoriello would make. Then again, maybe he’s just smoldering over that Steve Bernier call and Jarret Stoll non-call. (The Kings PR staff would joke that he was just slow to get the e-mail out, though.)

What do you think about this seemingly odd choice?

* They also gave up a third-round pick in 2011 and paid a $3 million fine. That’s called making an example of someone, folks.

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.