Mike Babcock

Bruins remind Babcock of Cup-winning Red Wings


Earlier in Mike Babcock’s days as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, they were one of the best teams in the league. The Red Wings reached the Western Conference Final in 2007 and made the Stanley Cup Final in each of the following two years, with them securing a championship in 2008.

A lot has changed since then for the Red Wings as some of the key players from that era like Nicklas Lidstrom have retired and the next generation is establishing itself. So it didn’t come as a shock that Detroit couldn’t match up against Boston in the first round, but it did give Babcock an opportunity to get a close look at the Bruins and he was very impressed with what he saw.

“This [Bruins] team that we played today is like we used to be in ’08, ’09, and ’07,” Babcock said, per CSN New England. “They’re a legit contender with a good depth and good experience. I think it’s just overall depth.”

Boston showed off its offensive depth in the five-game first round series against Detroit. Ten different Bruins found the back of the net and only three Boston players — Johnny Boychuk, Brad Marchand, and Gregory Campbell — played in all five contests without recording a point.

On top of that, goaltender Tuukka Rask played like, well, Tuukka Rask.

“Some teams have got a real good team, and their goalie gets you started, gets the opposition started,” Babcock said. “This [Rask] kid doesn’t get you started. Not only does he stop the puck, he plays the puck good, so it’s harder to get in on their D.”

With so many different factors working for the Bruins, they certainly look like they’re poised to have a long playoff run.

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.