David Booth

Gillis counters Booth’s agent, says injury history not an excuse


There seems to be a difference in opinion about Canucks forward David Booth.

The day after being made a healthy scratch in a 5-4 OT win over Islanders — a game in which Vancouver only dressed 11 forwards — Booth was a hot topic of conversation. His agent, Mike Liut, told Vancouver’s News1130 his client needs time to adjust after missing almost all of last season and this year’s training camp with an ankle injury.

Canucks GM Mike Gillis disagreed.

“I think if we thought that was still (an) available excuse than maybe a different tactic would’ve been used,” Gillis told TEAM 1040 radio on Wednesday afternoon. “We’re on an extended road trip, the longest trip I think that I’ve been on since being here.

“We need everybody playing and playing well and you know there are different ways to get that out of players and the coaches are determined to get it out of David and I think they will.”

While Liut told 1130 Booth’s ankle is still not 100 percent, he made it clear neither he nor his client had any issues with the healthy scratch. Booth had just one goal and three points in 10 games prior to being parked, and given his pricetag ($4.25 million annually) it’s clear much more is expected of him.

Just ask Gillis.

“He’s a very good player when he’s got energy and when he’s playing well,” Gillis explained. “We’ve been at this now for 10 games and it was time for him to step up.”

The Canucks next play on Thursday in New Jersey. Booth is expected to be back in the lineup, especially since fellow forward Jannik Hansen has been sent back to Vancouver to have his upper-body injury evaluated.

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: