Stars sign veteran D Fortunus, send Oleksiak to minors

Shortly after Lindy Ruff said he needed to get his young defensemen up to speed, Dallas added some experience on the back end.

The Stars signed 30-year-old blueliner Maxime Fortunus to a one-year deal, the club announced on Monday. In a corresponding move, Dallas sent 20-year-old Jamie Oleksiak — the club’s first-round selection (14th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — down to AHL Texas.

Fortunus, a journeyman AHLer with eight games of NHL experience, was leading Texas in d-man scoring at the time of his signing with three goals and 16 points in 24 games. He was placed on waivers today and, assuming he clears, would be able to join the big-league club for tomorrow’s game against Vancouver, or Saturday’s against San Jose.

The Fortunus move is likely in response to Ruff’s comments following a 6-2 drubbing by Colorado earlier this week.

“Our defense were a step slow — they were a step slow on the coverage,” Ruff said postgame. “I’m going to work with them. They’ve got to play in big situations against big players and they’ve got to make those plays for us.

“We got some young defense that are playing in some bigger places. I’ve got to get them in a better spot.”

Dallas is currently without veteran blueliners Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas, both sidelined by injury.

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.