Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby

This time, Lemieux visited Crosby in the Pens’ locker room


Considering the way the Pittsburgh Penguins handled defeat in Game 6, it didn’t feel like the New York Rangers merely won on Sunday. To many, it felt like the Rangers got under the Penguins’ skin.

That frustration has been quite apparent in the actions and attitude of Penguins star Sidney Crosby. Sometimes star players thrive off of spite, yet we’ve seen some examples of Crosby’s anger getting the best of him. Apparently Mario Lemieux was alarmed by what he saw in Game 6, as it appears that he had a counseling session with his feisty captain after that 3-1 loss:

This isn’t the first time that “Super Mario” decided to visit a long-time mainstay of this Penguins franchise during an especially turbulent moment.

The Hall of Famer made a visit to calm Marc-Andre Fleury down after a high-profile loss in Pittsburgh’s first-round defeat against the Columbus Blue Jackets. For what it’s worth, Fleury and the Penguins won the next two games in that series to close things out in six contests.

It’s probably not ideal for such a tactic to be a “once per round” kind of thing, but Crosby seemed unhinged during moments in both Game 6:

Similar moments came in Game 5, as well:

The margin between victory and defeat can be brutally small in the playoffs, so getting the Penguins back on track is key with their season on the line. It’s unfair to place all the blame at their 26-year-old’s feet, yet if you believe that a team follows its captain’s lead, then Lemieux chose the best person to meet with.

The Penguins have to hope that it works as well for Crosby as it did for Fleury, then.

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

1 Comment

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.