OTTAWA, ON - DECEMBER 1: Chris Phillips #4 of the Ottawa Senators skates during an NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings at Canadian Tire Centre on December 1, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Phillips hopes to extend career, re-sign with Senators

Defenseman Chris Phillips will celebrate his 36th birthday in March and is playing out the final campaign of his three-year, $9.25 million contract, but he doesn’t want to start thinking about retirement yet. He’s hoping he doesn’t have to enter the free agent market either.

Phillips was drafted by Ottawa in 1996 and has spent his entire 1,103-game NHL career with the Senators. All’s quiet when it comes to the negotiations for a contract extension, but he’s hoping that changes in a hurry.

“Obviously, sooner rather than later,” Phillips told the Ottawa Citizen. “It has been a thought, for sure. It’s not weighing me down and I’m trying not to think about it too much, but obviously it’s there.”

He’s still playing a big role with the team, as evidenced by his 11 points and team-leading 48 blocked shots in 30 contests. He’s also averaging 21:07 minutes per game.

If he sticks around for another season, he will probably surpass former captain Daniel Alfredsson’s franchise record of 1,178 games played.

That being said, the Senators already have five blueliners inked to one-way contracts for the 2014-15 campaign, including current AHLer Mark Borowiecki. Eric Gryba, 25, might also earn a one-way deal as a restricted free agent and 2012 first-round pick Cody Ceci is likely to get a chance to play in the NHL sooner rather than later.

That logjam might be reason enough to give the Senators a moment’s pause, even if there certainly are reasons to keep him.

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.