Malkin’s agent says he never considered leaving Pittsburgh


Evgeni Malkin’s agent J.P. Barry told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the star forward never pondered joining the Dallas Stars or any other NHL team besides the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Instead, Barry insisted on Tuesday that the contract extension talks were “super smooth.”

“The negotiations with Pittsburgh went very smoothly,” Barry said. “Ray Shero, David Morehouse, Ron Burkle and Mario Lemieux showed a willingness throughout to find a fair structure for both sides. Evgeni was very pleased that this negotiation was concluded amicably as his wishes were always to remain in Pittsburgh.”

The 27-year-old backed that statement up via a text message to the Tribune-Review, stating that he hopes to “only play for Pittsburgh.”

Malkin’s father Vladimir mentioned that the Dallas Stars might have made an offer to Malkin in Sovetsky Sport, yet the Stars denied any rumors of tampering.

The Tribune-Review and Dallas Morning News report that the NHL isn’t investigating possible tampering. With that and Malkin’s eight-year, $76 million extension in mind, it seems that it’s all a moot point (if it even happened in the first place).

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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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.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

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.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: