James O'Brien

Patrice Bergeron

Looks like Bergeron is in for the B’s tonight


As discussed earlier, the Boston Bruins will attempt to make it three straight wins without Matt Beleskey, but Patrice Bergeron‘s good to go.

That’s the word from 98.5 The Sports Hub by way of NHL.com.

Bergeron was a toss-up thanks to a very special personal reason: to be with his wife to welcome Zack Bergeron into the world.

Bergeron & Co. will face the Philadelphia Flyers on “Wednesday Night Rivalry” on NBCSN tonight. NHL.com forecasts the Bruins’ top two lines as such:

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Brett Connolly

Loui ErikssonDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak

Boston may have the advantage, as the Flyers lost a close one to the Dallas Stars last night.

Blue Jackets stand up for Todd Richards


Let’s be honest, it almost feels like a black cloud is hovering above the Columbus Blue Jackets, especially head coach Todd Richards.

The Blue Jackets are off to a franchise-worst (and in some ways historic) 0-7-0 start, and it’s not like every game has been close.

They likely deserve better than the 4-0 score from Tuesday’s loss to the New York Islanders, but the bottom line is that many are wondering if Richards is on the verge of being fired. Like, any moment now.

That decision is out of his players’ hands, yet at least a few of them are standing up for the embattled bench boss. The Columbus Dispatch collected quotes from the likes of Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson in Richards’ favor.

“It’s not just him,” Dubinsky said. “There’s 23 guys in here. He’s working his (butt) off. He’s trying to change things, make us a better team.”

” … I feel like we’re letting him down, and it’s unfortunate.”

Also, a sampling of what Johnson said (see the rest on Aaron Portzline’s feed):

Good on those players for taking some responsibility, and there’s always the chance that a trade could be the response many are expecting (though that’s easier said than done).

Honestly, it only means so much, not with failures so stark and expectations so high.

Really, the “players saying it’s not all on the coach” is a lot like an owner or a GM giving a coach the dreaded vote of confidence. Taylor Hall stumping for Dallas Eakins didn’t necessarily buy him a lot of time in Edmonton, for example.

Still, each situation is different, so maybe these comments will buy people some time (especially if it represents feelings that aren’t on the record).

Time will tell, though, and we may not need to wait much longer to learn of Richards’ fate and the fate of others.

Update: This is the latest bit of scuttlebutt. Maybe a trade could happen after all?

Check out Richards’ presser after Tuesday’s loss in the video at the top of this post.

Extinguished: Caps clobber Flames 6-2

Bob Hartley

The Calgary Flames spoke about “getting the ball rolling” on Monday. Instead, they continue to look, well, deflated.

Despite beginning with a 1-0 lead, the Flames were embarrassed by the Washington Capitals tonight via a 6-2 loss.

A quiet Calgary crowd watched its team lose its fourth home game in as many tries while also slipping to 1-5-0 overall.

The second period was where things really started to fall apart. Alex Ovechkin hit the 900-point milestone just 30 seconds into that middle frame, and Washington eventually bumped it up to a 4-1 lead.

It was a big night for Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, which was bad news for the Flames.

Looking at the score, it’s probably not too surprising to learn that the Flames’ frustrating game of goalie “musical chairs” continued.

Relief may not be in sight anytime soon in that regard (and maybe others).

(That’s not to say that it was all on the netminders; Calgary’s much-hyped defensemen struggled at times, including Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton.)

So, the Flames couldn’t get it going for another night. The uncomfortable question for Calgary’s management is: do they have the ability to turn it around?

Ovechkin scores 900th point (of course, on a goal)


Alex Ovechkin has been 30 for just a little bit more than a month, and he’s already hit the 900-point mark.

Really, it only makes sense that he reached such a milestone with a goal, the 479th of his career. You can watch it in the video above.

(So, yeah, he’s awfully close to 500 goals and 1,000 points for his already fantastic career.

/Just about anyone above 30 feels like a slacker now)

Here are some fun nuggets about Ovechkin’s latest accomplishment:

Ovechkin assisted on a T.J. Oshie goal later on in the second period, so he’s already at 901 points (and has more time to add to his gaudy totals).

Canadiens continue to look legit, best Blues


One can imagine a critic saying “Sure, the Montreal Canadiens look hot, but can they beat one of the West’s best teams?”

They answered that question with an emphatic “Yes” on Tuesday, beating the St. Louis Blues by a score of 3-0.

This was already the best start in Montreal’s richly storied history, yet this raised the bar higher, as they’re now 7-0-0.

As Jason Brough and Mike Halford discuss in the video above this post, the Canadiens have been about more than just Carey Price being Carey Price. They generally stood toe-to-toe with St. Louis possession-wise, not an easy task against one of the league’s more relentless squads.

This Alexander Semin goal also ventures the question: “What if Montreal’s supporting cast can get it going?”

Now … as much as Montreal’s not just about Price, he’s still red-hot.

Price dazzled with a 38-save shutout; he’s now allowed just one goal in his past three games. He also owns six of Montreal’s seven wins.

Yep, they sure look hot, but let’s not forget that it’s merely October. If any team can remind the Habs that early success doesn’t guarantee playoff glory, it’s the (very good) team Montreal beat tonight.