Jarmo Kekalainen

Kekalainen says Columbus’ leadership ‘is being questioned right now’


The Columbus Blue Jackets sound like they’re in the market for some veteran presences.

That’s what GM Jarmo Kekalainen alluded to during the club’s Western road swing, saying he’s noticed a lack of leadership among his current group.

“Leadership is being questioned right now,” Kekelainen told the Columbus Dispatch. “It’s certainly something we’re looking at. Leadership is a full-time job. It’s not a part-time job.

“It has to be there every day, in every practice and every game.”

This quote is interesting, given the Jackets opted not to return last year’s leading scorer, Vaclav Prospal. The 38-year-old was part of the club’s key leadership group from a year ago, a veteran of over 1100 NHL contests… but the Jackets opted to go young rather than old this season (the club also cut ties with recently-retired Adrian Aucoin), which hasn’t worked so far.

Kekalainen acknowledged he’s looking to acquire some veteran presences via trade, but said the market is stagnant right now. He also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of one of the current Blue Jackets stepping up and taking a bigger role.

“You can never have too much of that, so if there’s a way to improve in that area by adding that kind of player from the outside, sure, we’d love to look at it,” he said. “But at the same time, I think we have enough guys with that kind of potential on the inside.”

Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…