Paul Stastny

Blues aren’t asking Stastny to be ‘Superman’


No matter what they say, the St. Louis Blues obviously expect big things from Paul Stastny after signing him to a four-year, $28 million contract.

Still, the Blues would be wise to temper expectations regarding the American center after he experienced years of criticism while carrying a big contract on a bad team. It seems like the Blues brass are aiming to find that right balance, as the Belleville News-Democrat reports:

“We were not asking anyone to come in here with a cape on and be Superman,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said. “We’re just looking for another strong piece to the puzzle that can keep us competitive. Both [Stastny and Jori Lehtera] can make their wingers better.”

“We haven’t had a true center iceman with top-end passing skills and I think both of those guys can find their wingers. Obviously I’m betting a lot of money that we’re more difficult to defend to today than we were two days ago.”

Stastny, 28, is now four seasons removed from his point-per-game peak. Expecting offensive fireworks on that level could be quite dangerous. People increasingly stand up for Stastny when you consider his ability to handle tough defensive assignments while generating about 50-60 points, which will surely score points with defensive-minded head coach Ken Hitchcock.

Does that mean that Stastny will probably be a little overpaid in the eyes of many, especially those who only look at goals, assists, points and other simple stats? Probably, but the Blues won’t complain if he can help them battle the many elite centers populating the often-brutal Western Conference.

If nothing else, he needs to be a significant upgrade over Derek Roy.

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: