Derick Brassard

Brassard’s agent responds to Salzburg accusations: “There is no more unprofessional organization in all of Europe”

We had a feeling it wouldn’t be long before Allan Walsh — the outstpoken player agent representing Columbus forward Derick Brassard — would reply to today’s news that Austrian club EC Red Bull Salzburg accused Brassard of “turning his back” on the team and breaching his contract.

On Wednesday, Walsh did indeed reply — and how.

“Derick Brassard is the fifth NHL player to sign with Red Bull this season, and the fifth player to leave within three weeks of arrival,” Walsh explained to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.

“Talk to Tobias Enstrom, David Clarkson, Derek Dorsett or any of Red Bull’s current players.

“There is no more unprofessional organization in all of Europe. The club is misrepresenting the facts in an attempt to justify to their fans and media why NHL players keep leaving.”

Okay then!

To recap: Brassard left Salzburg on Tuesday, which prompted the club to post an accusatory statement on its website, saying it was seeking legal advice for possible breach of contract.

Clarkson and Enstrom both left Salzburg prior to November’s roster deadline. In explaining their decisions to leave, neither said anything negative (publicly, anyway) about the club.

“By [November] 12th there is a deadline where they can have so many guys on the roster,” Clarkson told “I came over here to get into shape and to train, but I didn’t come over here to take some guy’s job when he has two kids or three kids.”

Enstrom had a similar explanation.

“They have a roster-cut deadline so I didn’t want to go there and take somebody else’s job so that made it easy for me make a decision to leave,” he told the Winnipeg Free Press.

Dorsett told the Dispatch that he had returned to Canada to wait for the NHL lockout to end, then forwarded all further inquires about his departure to his agent.

It’s possible the fifth NHLer Walsh referred to is Boston’s Johnny Boychuk, who inked with Salzburg in mid-November.

At the time of writing, Boychuk’s name was still on the Salzburg roster — he was also on the game sheet for Salzburg’s last game, a 6-4 win on Dec. 16.

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.