Patrick Roy criticizes ‘nonsense’ travel schedule


After the NHL took three days off for the holidays, the Colorado Avalanche didn’t have a practice ahead of Friday’s 7-2 slaughter at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.

That’s because they flew out to Chicago at 8:00 a.m. that morning, which is something Avalanche coach Patrick Roy was pretty unhappy about.

“I’m not going to use that as a reason why we lost,” Roy told the Denver Post. “(But) it’s unacceptable that we have to lose an hour to go to Chicago. … How can you give a good show? No matter what, we were in a bad spot. We’ve done it in the past, but why (didn’t) Chicago come here?

“I don’t know who’s working for the league for the schedule, but they need to understand that (when) Denver goes to Chicago, you’re losing an hour (and) if you want to play at night you have to be up at 4 or 5 in the morning to get to the airport … to have a good morning skate. It’s nonsense.”

Colorado is the westernmost team in the Central Division and the only one that’s not in the central timezone. Of course, rough patches in the schedule are nothing new and certainly aren’t unique to the Avalanche, even if the timezone difference gives them an added challenge in their division.

More importantly, they’re just 9-9-3 since their 14-2-0 start, which has put their playoff hopes in jeopardy. They’re about to start a seven-game homestand, so obviously travel won’t be a factor for a while. They need to have a strong showing during this stint.

GM says Blue Jackets are ‘off the rails’ right now

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On Monday, PHT discussed the Columbus Blue Jackets’ troubling start, even if it felt like it may be too early to raise concerns.

Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.

“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.

Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?

Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”

Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.

The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.

Next four games: Three out of four at home
Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.

As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.

For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.

via AP

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.