In praise of Nick Bonino


There are a number of reasons why the Anaheim Ducks have won 17 of their last 18 games — outstanding goaltending from Jonas Hiller, quality defensive work from Cam Fowler and consistent scoring from the Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf duo, to name a few.

But there’s one other key contributor that’s flying under the radar — Nick Bonino.

Bonino, the club’s 25-year-old depth center, is in the midst of a breakout campaign. He has 13 goals and 33 points through 48 games — trailing only Getzlaf and Perry in points — and is the team’s second most-active faceoff man.

“He’s done a lot of great things,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau told the O.C. Register. “To me, I never worry about wherever I put him … whether he scores five goals or 30 goals.

“There was always something about Nick that you knew you could trust when you put him on the ice.”

According to the Register, Boudreau expected Bonino — making $700,000 this season, locked in for three more years at $1.9 million per — to score 10-15 goals this season, and finish with 40-50 points.

At the time of writing, Bonino is on pace for a career-high 22 goals and 54 points.

To call this type of production a surprise would be fair. Bonino didn’t have much of a body of work coming into this season, never appearing in more than 50 games in a season and never scoring more than 18 points. A quality scorer at Boston University and with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, Bonino is only now finding equal success at the NHL level, thanks to his ability to win puck battles and make plays on the man advantage (where he’s feasted this year, leading Anaheim with 11 PP assists).

“He’s got a dogged determination, which I think is really good,” Boudreau explained. “And at the same time, he slips under the radar because no one looks at Nick Bonino when they’re looking at our team.”

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.