Justin Williams, Antti Niemi

0-3 deficits don’t seem so impossible to overcome these days

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The first time it happened was in the 1942 Stanley Cup Final. The Detroit Red Wings won the first three games of the series, only to lose the next four to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It happened again in 1975. This time it was the New York Islanders that fought back from 3-0 down, stunning the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.

The third, and only other time, it happened was in 2010, when the Boston Bruins went up three games to none over the Philadelphia Flyers, only to lose the next four by a combined score of 15-8.

So yeah, it’s been rare. When a team digs itself a 3-0 hole, almost always it ends up buried in it.

Then again, it nearly happened again in 2011, when the Canucks needed overtime to beat the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of their first-round series, which Vancouver once led 3-0.

And remember the 2012 playoffs, when the Penguins put a bit of a scare into the Flyers, turning a 3-0 deficit into 3-2, before Philadelphia triumphed in Game 6? The Devils did the same thing in the Stanley Cup Final, when they fought back from 3-0 before losing Game 6 to the Kings.

At the very least, those two series became interesting, and that’s exactly what the Kings will be trying to make their best-of-seven with the Sharks on Saturday in San Jose. Win Game 5 and things would definitely get interesting, especially with Game 6 set for Monday at Staples Center.

We are, after all, talking about a San Jose team that’s experienced its share of postseason letdowns. Just to throw it out there. (Sorry, Sharks fans.)

We’re also talking about a very different NHL than the one that existed prior to the salary cap. For all you young kids who may be reading, let’s just say first-round matchups in the current era are a touch different than some of the first-round matchups we saw back in the day when 16 out of 21 teams made the playoffs and actual dynasties still existed.

For example, in 1989, there wasn’t much confidence that the 79-point Hartford Whalers were going to come back against the 115-point Montreal Canadiens. And wouldn’t you know it, they didn’t. (Though they did push Game 4 to overtime, losing on a Russ Courtnall tally.)

Look, are we predicting a Kings comeback? Of course not. Even if the difference between L.A. and San Jose is far smaller than the one between the Whalers and Habs, the odds remain very much against the Kings.

But if they win Saturday, just remember we wrote this.

(And if they lose, oh well, we didn’t predict they’d come back anyway.)

Torts not worried after Jackets get blown out twice — ‘Today was going to be a mess’

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 17:  Head coach John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets reacts on the bench during the second period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on December 17, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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John Tortorella could only blame John Tortorella after the Blue Jackets got blown out in both their split-squad games Sunday against the Blues.

The Jackets dropped a 7-3 decision in St. Louis and lost 5-0 at home.

“Let’s not make any judgments here as far as today,” Tortorella said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “Today was going to be a mess. I give the guys credit. I’m not being negative about the team. They did what we asked of them (the first three days). They pushed. They gave it to us there and it suffers in these games.”

Tortorella, who runs notoriously tough training camps, wants to “make sure our conditioning is there by the 13th,” when the Jackets open the regular season.

Columbus plays its first three games at home, against Boston, San Jose and Chicago. A good start is going to be key for the Jackets, especially after starting last season 0-8-0.

Bernier back with Isles on training camp PTO

NEWARK, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Steve Bernier #16 of the New York Islanders skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on September 25, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Islanders 4-2.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New York liked enough of what it saw from Steve Bernier last season to offer him another kick at the can.

On Monday, the Isles announced that — for the second year in a row — Bernier would be coming to training camp on a PTO.

Last fall, Bernier parlayed his tryout into a one-year, $750,000 deal but only saw a limited body of work. The former first-round pick scored six points in 24 regular season games, then dressed for six playoff contests.

Bernier isn’t the only veteran forward attending Isles camp on a PTO, as longtime Devils winger Stephen Gionta is also there (Gionta and Bernier were once teammates in New Jersey).

There are holes to fill up front. The Isles lost three key forwards in free agency — Frans Nielsen, Matt Martin and Kyle Okposo — which will result in some of last year’s third- and fourth-line players getting bumped to more prominent roles.

Those promotions could bode well for Bernier and Gionta.

 

Sens to move AHL affiliate from Binghamton to Belleville

MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 13:  Center Jason Spezza of the Binghamton Senators smiles before the start of the American Hockey League All Star Skills Competition on February 13, 2005 at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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The Ottawa Senators announced today that they’ve purchased the AHL franchise in Binghamton, N.Y. and will move it to Belleville, Ont. for the start of the 2017-18 season.

From the press release:

The Ottawa Senators and the City of Belleville have also agreed on an eight-year agreement to welcome the newly minted Belleville Senators to the city.

In order to properly accommodate a new professional AHL team, the City of Belleville will immediately undertake more than $18.5 million in important renovations to modernize Belleville’s Yardmen Arena and prepare it for professional hockey for the first time in the city’s history. 

The Baby Sens have played in Binghamton since 2002, winning a Calder Cup in 2011. AHL officials are reportedly working to secure another franchise for the city for the 2017-18 season.

Belleville to Ottawa is a mere 2.5-hour drive, according to Google. The Belleville Bulls were an OHL team that started playing in 1981 before moving to Hamilton in 2015.

Seidenberg, without a contract, playing a key role for Team Europe

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 08:  Dennis Seidenberg #44 of the Boston Bruins skates against Mason Raymond #21 of the Vancouver Canucks during Game Four of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 8, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Dennis Seidenberg has been a key player for Team Europe at the World Cup, and he doesn’t even have an NHL contract.

Seidenberg, 35, logged 23:30 in Europe’s 3-2 overtime upset of Sweden on Sunday. Only Roman Josi (29:00) played more for the winning side. Seidenberg even played more than his old Boston teammate, Zdeno Chara (22:26).

“I’ve played quite a bit,” Seidenberg said earlier in the tournament, per the Associated Press. “People should know what I can do and can’t do by now, but nonetheless this is an important tournament for me.”

A Stanley Cup champion in 2011, Seidenberg became an unrestricted free agent when he was bought out by the Bruins over the summer. At first, the decision shocked him, but the shock eventually passed. So far, he’s been holding out for a guaranteed contract, as opposed to a tryout.

The Ottawa Senators are reportedly a potential landing spot.

Seidenberg may not be a full-time, top-four defenseman anymore, but he should still be able to hold down a bottom-pairing role, with the ability to log top-four minutes if there’s an injury.

He’ll get another good look from the scouts on Tuesday when Team Europe opens its best-of-three series with the heavy favorites from Canada. He’s not the only UFA blue-liner on his team, as 34-year-old Christian Ehrhoff is also playing a role, albeit a smaller one.