2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Practice Sessions

Lightning sign Matt Carle to a six-year, $33M contract


The Tampa Bay Lightning have indeed “closed in” on defenseman Matt Carle. The Bolts signed him to a six-year deal, which Darren Dreger reports is worth $33 million. (Carle’s cap hit will be $5.5 million per year, then.)

Here’s what Carle had to say, via the Lightning.

“I’m excited to be back,” Carle said. “It was a hard decision. The organization is going in the right direction, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

As mentioned in tonight’s earlier post, Carle represents the latest – and boldest – venture to improve Tampa Bay’s ability to improve its defense and goaltending. GM Steve Yzerman also added Sami Salo to their defensive corps and revamped the team’s goalie duo with unproven prospect Anders Lindback and experienced backup Mathieu Garon.

Perhaps Yzerman has a few more tricks up his sleeve, but this is the biggest addition that the Bolts have made in quite some time. (Maybe since the team hired him as a GM and Guy Boucher as a coach.)

For more on the implications of this move, check here. Also, if you’d like to get an earlier look at Carle’s value, read this post.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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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.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

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.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: