Spezza (groin) rests up for Sens’ season opener

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Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean implies that Jason Spezza would probably be playing Saturday night if it was a regular season game. Instead, the team is opting to let him heal up a minor groin injury, the Ottawa Citizen reports.

“Jason Spezza has a minor groin injury that we are managing to get him to Oct. 4 so he can play,” MacLean said. “We’re just making sure he’s ready to play the opener, which is more important than an exhibition game.”

The 30-year-old playmaker underwent back surgery this summer, so it’s a relief to hear that his issue is groin-related rather than a recurring back problem.

Injuries limited Spezza to five regular season games and three postseason contests in 2013 after he had a strong rebound year in 2011-12 (34 goals, 84 points in 80 games played).

If health permits for both Spezza and Milan Michalek, the Senators could have the option to put together one of the league’s most dangerous scoring lines with Bobby Ryan in the fold. (They haven’t committed one way or another yet.)

Whether MacLean decides to concentrate his power or spread the wealth, it’s obvious the team wants to see its captain as healthy as possible.

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: