Todd Richards

Slumping Jackets ‘have to look in the mirror,’ says Richards


The Columbus Blue Jackets haven’t earned a point in 12 days.

Losers of four straight in regulation — their last win came on Oct. 25 against Toronto — the Blue Jackets were visibly frustrated following Tuesday’s 4-1 home defeat to Ottawa, none more so than head coach Todd Richards.

“We all have to look in the mirror, take a good look at our games,” Richards told the Columbus Dispatch. “We have to be better.”

Citing a lack of confidence and mounting frustration, Richards said the Jackets are struggling all over. And for the most part, he’s right — the club has been outscored 15-6 over the last four games and its goals allowed per game average (2.86) is way up from last year’s 2.40.

Which brings us to perhaps the biggest reason for Columbus’ struggles thus far — the play of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

The reigning Vezina winner has been mediocre to start the year, going 4-7-0 with a 2.79 GAA and .910 save percentage. He’s allowed four goals four different times already and has been benched for each of the last two games in favor of backup Curtis McElhinney.

“This is the first year where [Bobrovsky’s] come in as an anointed No. 1 goaltender with huge expectations, and he’s a young player still,” goalie coach Ian Clark told the Dispatch. “It’s a matter of getting acclimatized to the complexion of this marathon season.

“We all know how much work he does off the ice. That’s well-documented. We’re working on finding a good balance between all of that work to ensure that his energy, focus and concentration are hitting a peak for game nights and he’s not expending them elsewhere where it’s not as productive.”

The Jackets will need Bobrovsky to return to form, though, and soon.

Following a two-game home set against the Rangers and Islanders on Nov. 7 and 9, the Jackets head out on a tough road swing that sees them play in Washington, Boston, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto between Nov. 12-25.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT

1 Comment

Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
Leave a comment

You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

Leave a comment

So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
1 Comment

There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)