Stars kick off Central Division tour vs. struggling Jets

Friday’s Central Division matchup presents two teams in very different states of mind in the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets.

The Jets host the Stars one night after the Minnesota Wild obliterated them in the faceoff circle. Winnipeg bench boss Claude Noel didn’t sugarcoat the Jets’ inability to control the puck lately, as the Winnipeg Free Press reported on Thursday.

“We don’t start (with the puck) so we’re always checking, chasing it down,” Noel said. “Regardless of which end, we’re always checking.”

While the Jets might be a little bleary-eyed on a back-to-back that’s causing some soul-searching, the Stars may argue that they’re still searching for their identity.

Dallas hasn’t played a game since Oct. 5 and Friday marks the Stars’ first game against a Western Conference team in 2013-14.

If it wasn’t obvious enough that they’re seeking a strong start, this also begins a three-game tour of the Central Division as they go from Winnipeg tonight to Minnesota on Saturday and Colorado on Tuesday.

Defending Big D points out that Stars owner Tom Gaglardi could be in the building, too, so the Stars obviously want to make a good impression.

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.