Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Nikolai Khabibulin

More Wild changes: Bouchard made a healthy scratch


The Minnesota Wild won’t just look different in net against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. They’ll also see some shuffling in their forward and defensive corps, according to the Minnesota Star-Tribune.

The most interesting bit is that playmaking forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard, 28, will be a healthy scratch after failing to score a point in six straight games and registering just a goal in his last 10. (He’s been limited to two goals and one assist in 12 contests this season.)

That’s not the only alteration, however, so here’s a quick list of the changes:

  • As mentioned earlier, Josh Harding is dealing with a MS-related setback. The 28-year-old netminder opens the door for Darcy Kuemper, 22, to make his NHL debut.
  • Defenseman Marco Scandella, 22, was demoted to the AHL so Kuemper could be recalled. It’s likely he was also the odd man out because Jared Spurgeon, 23, was activated off the injured reserve after missing nine games with a bone bruise.
  • Scrappy forward Torrey Mithcell, 28, slides into the lineup with PMB in street clothes.
  • Meanwhile, 26-year-old winger Matt Kassian was placed on waivers.

It all makes for a very different-looking Wild team primed to face the Vancouver Canucks at 10 p.m. ET tonight.

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.