Vancouver Canucks v Florida Panthers

Lack’s Canucks win to end weekend of awkward reunions for Luongo


For the most part, Roberto Luongo and those connected to the soap opera(s) that followed him can take a breather after Sunday.

After Luongo’s Panthers frustrated Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils to defeat on Friday, his new* team couldn’t manage the same feat against his former club the Vancouver Canucks, who squeaked by with a 4-3 shootout victory. If nothing else, Luongo, 33, is helping these games become more than just fodder for easy jokes.

And, actually, the jokes have been pretty good lately:

Eddie Lack probably let out a big sigh of relief with this win, as the coverage might have jumped a level to “insufferable” if his team failed against the East’s second-lowest-ranked franchise.

Maybe Luongo let out a sigh of relief, too, as most of these negative nostalgia meetings are over. Then again, there’s still one more to look forward to, as Schneider bids to finally beat his former goalie partner when the Panthers face the New Jersey Devils on March 31 …

Note: To say that the goalie storyline was the only thing to emerge would be incorrect. Beyond Alex Burrows finally contributing offensively for Vancouver, there was also Kevin Bieksa’s impressive “save” to enjoy:

* – Which also happens to be his once-old team, to make things just a touch weirder.

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.