Winter Youth Olympic Games - Day Ten

Kapanen falls to Penguins at 22nd overall


Kasperi Kapanen came into the first round of the NHL Draft on Friday ranked as the No. 1 European skater by the league’s Central Scouting Bureau.

But he was forced to sit and watch as the selections went by and others young teenage players heard their names called in Philadelphia. It wasn’t until the 22nd overall pick that Kapanen finally took a walk up onto the giant stage, taken by the Pittsburgh Penguins and their new general manager Jim Rutherford.

There’s a connection there.

Kapanen is the son of former NHLer and Carolina Hurricanes winger Sami Kapanen. Rutherford, the former GM in Carolina and Hartford before that, selected the father in the fourth round of the 1995 draft. According to the NHL, the Kapanen father-and-son combination played on the same team – KalPA in the SM liiga – for the past two years.

Yet it was interesting to see the younger Kapanen fall through the round, especially considering that other European players William Nylander, Kevin Fiala and Jakub Vrana – all ranked below Kapanen – went well before him in the draft.

Size might be one issue. He’s listed at 5’11” and 180 pounds, but Goran Stubb of European Scouting said in his draft profile that the right winger didn’t shy away from rough or physical play. His skating was also lauded as a quality he possesses.

According to TSN, Kapanen suffered a shoulder injury prior to selection of the Finnish World Junior team, and low production in KalPa may have have also contributed to his fall.

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane
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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.