Steve Ott

Blues unlikely to re-sign Ott, Morrow before July 1


Forwards Brenden Morrow and Steve Ott provided the St. Louis Blues with veteran leaders and grit to help round out their lineup, but their brief tenure with the team might be over.

Blues GM Doug Armstrong wanted to keep Ott, but the talks with his camp have “gone quiet” while Morrow’s agent, Brad Devin said there’s “no news to report” regarding his client, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

After locking up most of the team’s biggest unrestricted free agents well in advance, Armstrong wants to keep his options open ahead of the draft so that he has the financial flexibility necessary to trade for a second-line center if the opportunity arises. Armstrong still hasn’t ruled out re-signing Ott and is open to bringing back Morrow even if he tests the free agent waters first, but in both cases, they would have to be willing to sign within the Blues’ guidelines.

“We want to do fair contracts, but we don’t want to be anybody’s retirement package,” Armstrong said.

The Blues have nearly $22 million in cap space left, but they have to re-sign restricted free agents Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, Jaden Schwartz, in addition to ideally acquiring the second-line center. On top of that, the Blues don’t anticipate spending to the ceiling in 2014-15.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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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.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: