Sabres first-rounder Ristolainen says it’s NHL or Finland in 2013-14


The Buffalo Sabres might not have as much control over the development of first-round pick Rasmus Ristolainen as they expected, according to the Buffalo News.

The team seemed to be under the impression that the eighth overall selection of the 2013 NHL Draft was no longer under contract in Finland, opening up the option to either develop him in the AHL with the Rochester Americans or allow him to make an immediate jump to Buffalo. The 18-year-old indicates that isn’t the case, however.

“I think no,” Ristolainen said at development camp  on Wednesday. “I’ve got a contract with my hometown team.”

So, instead, it appears that he can play for TPS Turko in Finland for a third consecutive season if the Sabres decide he’s not ready for the NHL.

That’s a disappointment, as it would be surprising to see him advance so quickly, but this is dilemma is fairly common regarding European prospects.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.