Norris winner Karlsson has a new partner on defense


Marc Methot is a happy guy.

On Tuesday, Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean confirmed Methot — acquired from Columbus in exchange for Nick Foligno in July — would pair up with reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson when the Senators begin the regular season.

“It’s awesome,” Methot told the Ottawa Sun. “I had a talk with [MacLean] right after I was traded. He sat me down, told me what was expected and there was a little bit of a layoff since then.

“I’m looking forward to that challenge.”

Methot will replace Filip Kuba, Karlsson’s defensive partner from a year ago (Kuba signed with Florida this summer.)

Those are some big shoes to fill — the veteran Czech blueliner was a steadying influence, playing the kind of complimentary, defensive game that proved vital to Karlsson’s 78-point explosion.

Methot said he knows what he’ll need to do to keep Karlsson producing offensively.

“You could compare to the way the Kings played when they had [Drew] Doughty paired with [Rob] Scuderi or [Matt] Greene or whoever [Doughty’s] partner was,” he explained. “You make sure you watch his back in terms of jumping up into the play.

“Really, I’ve just got to keep my game pretty simple and let him take care of the rest.”

Related: Pens to audition linemates for Malkin and Neal

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron

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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.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.