James O'Brien

Mike Babcock

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings clobber Leafs


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:

Update: The Red Wings cruised to a 4-0 win. Babcock was terse after the game.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with possible concussion

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester

It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.

Update: So far, not so good: it might be a concussion.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings

In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.

Daniel Sedin has goal, 2 assists as Canucks beat Flames 5-1

Micheal Ferland, Derek Dorsett

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Daniel Sedin had a goal and two assists to help the Vancouver Canucks open the season with a 5-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.

Jannik Hansen, Brandon Sutter, Alex Burrows and Henrik Sedin also scored for the Canucks in a rematch of last April’s Western Conference quarterfinals. The Flames won that series in six games to advance to the second round, where they lost in five to Anaheim.

Vancouver defenseman Ben Hutton recorded his first point in his NHL debut with an assist on Hansen’s goal. Canucks goalie Ryan Miller made 29 saves.

Jiri Hudler scored for Calgary and Karri Ramo finished with 39 saves.

Vancouver stretched its lead to 4-1 at 8:17 of the third when Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman knocked down a long, off-speed shot by Burrows, but tipped it into his own net past Ramo.

Henrik Sedin scored on a sharp-angled wrist shot with 3:29 left to cap the scoring.

Hansen got the Canucks on the scoreboard first when he took Hutton’s cross-ice pass along the boards and beat Ramo top corner glove side with a blast from the top of the circle at 10:34 of the first period.

Sutter doubled the lead with about 2 minutes left in the period in his first game in a Canucks jersey. He batted a rebound out of the air past Ramo with a deft touch.

Hudler broke through for the Flames at 3:39 of the second. Canucks defenseman Luca Sbisa turned the puck over under pressure from Sean Monahan, and Johnny Gaudreau got the puck and passed it to Hudler who beat Miller between the pads.

Daniel Sedin restored Vancouver’s two-goal lead with 5 seconds left in the period. A shot by Dan Hamhuis deflected off Ramo and then Sedin and into Calgary’s net to make it 3-1.

Calgary’s Micheal Ferland and Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett fought just seconds after the opening faceoff. Flames winger Brandon Bollig and Canucks forward Brandon Prust then traded punches 8 minutes into the game.

NOTES: The Canucks acquired Sutter from Pittsburgh in July in exchange for forward Nick Bonino, defenseman Adam Clendening and a draft pick. … The Flames fell to 0-5-1 in their last six season-openers and have lost their last two to the Canucks. … Calgary’s scratches were forward Mason Raymond and goalie Joni Ortio; Vancouver’s were forward Jake Virtanen, defenseman Yannick Weber and goalie Jakob Markstrom.

More on that Lucic – Couture altercation


Milan Lucic made an impression during his first game as a member of the Los Angeles Kings. He just didn’t make an especially positive one.

He ended the night without a point and a -2 rating, yet the end of his night may prove to be the biggest problem.

In case you didn’t watch this post’s video, San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture caught Lucic with a check as Couture left the penalty box.

Lucic didn’t expect it, and basically blew a gasket; one would assume that the eventual 5-1 loss didn’t put the former Boston Bruins brute in a better mood, either. Lucic received a match penalty for his retaliation, so we’ll see how the league handles that and another incident or two from that testy game.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter wasn’t pleased with the situation, specifically that Lucic received a match penalty.

“I don’t know why I got a match penalty,” Lucic said, according to the OC Register’s Rich Hammond. “I didn’t cross any line.”

One way or another, Couture seems to get the last laugh (while Brent Burns got the pizza).

Considering the hit he received from Dustin Brown, Couture was definitely in the thick of things on Wednesday.

If you’re eager to see these two in-state rivals slog it out again, you won’t need to wait long. Their next meeting is on Oct. 22.