PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 8: Jussi Jokinen #36 of the Pittsburgh Penguins beats Cam Ward #30 of the Carolina Hurricanes to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead during the first period on September 16, 2013 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images)

Jussi Jokinen scores hat trick vs. Canes team that waived, traded him


It was less than a year ago that the Carolina Hurricanes just wanted to get rid of forward Jussi Jokinen. They were open to giving him away for nothing on waivers, but teams didn’t want his $3 million annual cap hit through the 2013-14 campaign.

Eventually the Pittsburgh Penguins agreed to take a chance on him, but only if Carolina retained part of his salary, which they did. That’s quite the fall from grace for the former 30-goal scorer, but Jokinen has been determined to prove that he’s still a valuable player.

He paid immediate dividends for the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring seven goals and 11 points in 10 regular season games last season. Then, against the Hurricanes tonight, he made them pay for giving up on him with a hat trick in Pittsburgh’s 5-2 victory.

“I won’t even try to deny it,” the 30-year-old forward told the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander. “It’s always extra motivation when you play against your former team.”

Pittsburgh are now 3-0-0 as they get ready for their first road trip of the 2013-14 campaign. They will play against the Panthers on Friday.

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

Patrick Kane

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.