James Reimer

Reimer (knee) nears return, needs to battle for starts

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It might just be a matter of days — if that — before Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer returns from a knee injury.

Leafs coach Randy Carlyle wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of Reimer returning for Monday’s game after the 24-year-old netminder took part in Sunday’s full practice, according to TSN.

Whether or not Reimer is available Monday is one thing, but perhaps the bigger question at this point is how the Leafs’ goaltending situation will work out once he’s healthy.

Reimer has gotten off to a superb start this season and put behind his rough 2011-12 sophomore campaign in the process. However, Scrivens has, for the most part, been just as good in relief.

So do the Maple Leafs have a clear number one goaltender right now?

“One-A and 1B. That’s basically the way we’ll deal with it,” said Carlyle, according to the National Post. “If one guy gets hot, he’ll have a chance to run with it.”

Carlyle is hoping that there will be healthy competition without this devolving into a controversy.

Both netminders are young and neither came into this season as an established starter, so that probably will help avoid the controversies that can stem from a goaltender getting fewer starts than his reputation or contract warrants.

By the same token, both netminders still have a lot to prove and it’s too easy to assume that either is a safe bet to maintain anything close to this pace for the full season.

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.