On paper, Sunday seemed like a great chance for the Columbus Blue Jackets to jump back into the wild card ranks against the New York Islanders. Instead, the “little rats” ran into a trap named Evgeni Nabokov who stopped all 41 of their shots, beating Columbus 2-0.
If this didn’t seem like an upset in a vacuum, consider the fact that this is only the second time the Blue Jackets have lost to the Islanders in regulation in their franchise history. The Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell reports that they’re now 11-2-4 against the Isles and went 45 games without being shut out.
#CBJ had played 45 games since previous shutout loss, 4-0 to Nashville on 11/27/13. Club record is 51 over two seasons.
With this, the Blue Jackets have now lost three of their last four games, only managing two points in four important games.
Here is a look at their place in the East standings as of this moment:
The Blue Jackets will root for a two-point game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New Jersey Devils tonight and face a big game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Columbus certainly isn’t out of this race, but losses like these could come back to haunt them.
It might mean more time for Putt-Putt, though.
#CBJ D Jack Johnson: "If you can't come to play for at least 20 minutes a night then you ought to take up Putt-Putt or something."
The real fun is judging how Bovada’s odds fall with the other leading nations. Is Russia given too great a chance considering some recent struggles when facing the best of the best? Did that odd little under-23 team not get enough love?
Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.
Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.
Since then, most — if not all — has gone silent on the Kucherov front. The 23-year-old, coming off career highs in goals (30) and points (66), remains unsigned with a bunch of key dates on the horizon.
The first few are mostly to do with the World Cup of Hockey. Kucherov will represent Russia in the tourney, with the Russians set to begin training camp on Sept. 5 — one week from now.
Their first exhibition game takes place on Sept. 8, against the Czechs, and they open tournament play on Sept. 18.
There are insurance policies in place to so unsigned RFAs can play in the World Cup, meaning Kucherov should be a go for the Russians. Other RFAs look as though they’re in a similar boat — Johnny Gaudreau and Jacob Trouba with Team North America, specifically — so it doesn’t feel like Tampa Bay needs to get Kucherov locked in ASAP.
That’s the big question.
Yzerman’s earned a reputation as a tough, unflinching negotiator. He stood firm during the Jonathan Drouin trade request saga, and remained steadfast with his contract offer to Steve Stamkos. In both instances, Yzerman “won” — Drouin rescinded his request and is now fully back in Tampa’s mix, while Stamkos eschewed going to free agency to ink a long-term deal with the Bolts.
Hence the intrigue around Kucherov.
Pundits have pointed to a pair of contracts — Filip Forsberg‘s six-year, $36 million extension and Nathan MacKinnon‘s seven-year, $44.1 million deal — as potential benchmarks for Kucherov. What we don’t know is where Yzerman is at.
“John Madden has a winning pedigree, having been a part of three Stanley Cup championships and a collegiate national championship as a player and being a part of the coaching staff that helped the Florida Panthers become one of the NHL’s most improved clubs over the past three seasons,” Columbus assistant GM Bill Zito said in a release. “He is a smart, energetic young coach who we believe to be the best person to lead our prospects in Cleveland.”
Madden, 43, quickly transitioned to coaching after a successful playing career which included three Stanley Cups and a Selke Trophy. He hung up his skates as a member of the Panthers in 2012 and, one year later, was behind the bench for the club, serving as an assistant under Kevin Dineen, Peter Horachek and, eventually, current head coach Gerard Gallant.
Madden landing the Monsters job was the result of a domino effect.
It began in early August, when Patrick Roy stunningly resigned as Colorado’s head coach. That sent the Avs into a hiring push, which ended last week as Jared Bednar — who led the Monsters to the Calder Cup last season — was announced as the new bench boss.
That left a void in Cleveland, which the Jackets quickly filled with Madden.