Pavel Datsyuk

After seven-game absence, Datsyuk back for Detroit on Tuesday


Pavel Datsyuk is back.

Detroit’s leading goalscorer will return to the lineup on Tuesday — for the first time in seven games — when the Wings take on the Panthers in Florida. Datsyuk, who hasn’t played since suffering a head injury against Ottawa on Nov. 23, will rejoin a Red Wings team that’s caught fire recently — they went 5-2-0 in the seven games sans Datsyuk, with Johan Franzen leading the way with nine points.

“I thought Franzen was a star when Pav was out,” head coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press. “Leadership-wise, determination-wise, how he played. Now that’s the bench mark. You don’t go back to the other guy. You continue to be what you’ve been. He should be proud of how he played, and now we need him to keep playing like that.”

Things should continue to roll for Franzen, as he’ll be centered by Datsyuk on Tuesday — but that won’t be the only line of note. The Tomas Tatar-Gustav Nyquist-Joakim Andersson unit also impressed over the last seven games and earned high praise from Babcock.

As for how Datsyuk is feeling after so much time off?

“Feel OK,” he said. “Out of shape, but OK.”

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.