The Columbus Blue Jackets face a new challenge in joining the Metropolitan Division via realignment, so perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that head coach Todd Richards is getting worked up about preseason games.
From Sunday to Tuesday, Richards has questioned his team’s efforts more than the results, emphasizing that they can’t just flip a switch when the regular season begins.
On Sunday, Richards downplayed an OT exhibition win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, bringing up the team’s Oct. 4 season opener.
“We can’t expect come Oct. 4 that we’re going to pick up right where we left off,” Richards said on Sunday. “We still have to work hard.”
Two days later, the Blue Jackets played a pair of preseason games, with one group beating the Minnesota Wild’s 3-1* and another losing to the Buffalo Sabres 3-1. Richards sounded like a broken record after those games tonight.
“One thing concerns me: are we waiting for Oct. 4? We can’t just turn it on then,” Richards said. “Your effort should never be questioned at what you do. Everything we got last year was through our effort.”
So, to review: Richards thinks that the days before Oct. 4 are important, even if the games don’t count until then.
All joking aside, it’s an important message that other NHL head coaches are likely trying to send as well, Richards just happens to be sending it repeatedly in the media.
* – Interesting side note: assistant coach Craig Hartsburg raved about the split-squad he coached in Minnesota on Tuesday, so maybe Richards merely needs to get through to the other chunk of the team.
Alex Burrows doesn’t want a trade out of Vancouver and he wants to make sure everyone knows it.
On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman reported that Burrows was potentially willing to waive his no-trade clause if a deal came up.
When asked about the report, Burrows went into denial mode.
“There’s no truth to that,” Burrows told beat reporter Ben Kuzma. “I’ve never talked to management or coaches about it.
“Last time I talked to my agent was to wish him Merry Christmas.”
Whether or not Burrows is willing to accept a deal out of Vancouver may be irrelevant.
The 34-year-old has seven goals and 16 points in 53 games this season, and he comes with a cap hit of $4.5 million dollars next season.
That’s pretty steep for a guy who’s on pace to score just 25 points this year.
If the Canucks want to find a taker for his services (assuming he’s willing to go), they’ll likely have to take a good-sized contract back or they’ll have to eat some of his remaining salary.
It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.
Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.
(You can see that goal in the video above.)
Watch that three-goal burst in this video:
The two teams weren’t done then. Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 while Pavel Datsyuk scored his 900th point to make it 3-2.
Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.
You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.
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