Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) celebrates scoring a goal against the Florida Panthers during the third period of an NHL hockey game on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, in Chicago, Ill. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)

Scotty Bowman: Saad should be on Olympic team


Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad is only in his sophomore season, but legendary coach Scotty Bowman still thinks he should have made Team USA’s Olympic roster.

“He should be [on the team],” Bowman told ESPN’s Craig Custance (paywall). “He’s really coming on. He’s got 14 goals. He doesn’t play crazy minutes yet. He’s going to be an all-around player. He’s just got it. He’s strong on his feet. You can see his strength building up all the time.”

Scotty Bowman’s son, Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, was part of the selection committee. Like his father, the younger Bowman thinks highly of Saad and spoke in support of him throughout the process, based on an ESPN report.

In the end, Blake Wheeler and T.J. Oshie were only narrowly picked over Saad, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Blackhawks forward get serious consideration as an injury replacement if the United States needs one.

It would certainly make some sense, especially given that Saad already has developed on-ice chemistry with Patrick Kane and that kind of familiarity can be very valuable in the Olympics. His lack of experience is knock against him, but then again, he did play a significant role in Chicago’s 2013 Stanley Cup championship.

For now though, all Saad can do is continue to serve the Blackhawks and let whatever happens, happen.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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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.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: