Report: Contract talks between Leafs and Bozak not going well


Contract negotiations between the Maple Leafs and pending unrestricted free agent Tyler Bozak are not going particularly well, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.

Bozak, 27, had 28 points in 46 games in 2013 and has had offensive success while centering wingers Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul.

There’s great debate, however, whether Bozak is a legitimate first-line center, the kind that can lead a team to the Stanley Cup.

The Leafs already have center Mikhail Grabovski under contract through 2016-17, and Nazem Kadri’s emergence gives them another top-six option down the middle.

Then there are all the rumors about Panthers center (and Toronto native) Stephen Weiss, who’s free to sign anywhere he desires on July 5.

Just for fun, another name we’ll throw out there is Joe Thornton. The 33-year-old only has one year left on his deal with the Sharks, and San Jose has two young centers in Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski that the organization may think offer better value in the long-term.

Of course, the Sharks still need to lock up Couture, 24, and Pavelski, 28. The former has one year left before he’s RFA; the latter one year before he’s UFA.

CSN Bay Area has more on re-signing Couture and Pavelski.

Related: Sharks expect Hertl to compete for roster spot next season

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane
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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.