Author: James O'Brien

New Jersey Devils v Tampa Bay Lightning

Wild chase Nabokov from Lightning net in first period


The Tampa Bay Lightning paid Evgeni Nabokov $1.55 million this summer to keep the team afloat on nights like these. Instead, he didn’t even make it through the first period, as the Minnesota Wild chased him with four goals on Saturday.

Nabokov, 39, allowed four goals on just 8 shots, getting the hook 17:15 into the contest. Ben Bishop made 42 saves in a win against the Winnipeg Jets last night, but he won’t get much rest today.

Three different Wild players found the net for the first time in 2014-15 thanks to Nabokov’s generosity:’s Dan Myers believes that three of those tallies were “softies.”

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo points out some other interesting numbers:

Update: Things weren’t so much better for Bishop, as the Wild ultimately won 7-2.

Vlasic: ‘No, there’s nothing wrong with the Sharks’

San Jose Sharks v Arizona Coyotes

The San Jose Sharks dropped their fourth consecutive loss to the bumbling Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, prompting plenty of critiques.

The team itself reacted with a mixture of optimism and disgust to’s Kevin Kurz.

“If you look at their record, obviously it’s embarrassing that we lost, but they play well,” Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. “Just by looking at their record, 1-7, we shouldn’t have lost this game. But, they’re a hard-working team and they play a good system, and we were too late on waking up in the third.”

“ … No, there’s nothing wrong with the Sharks.”

It seems like head coach Todd McLellan believes that the team still needs to find a “happy medium” between attacking on offense and playing strong defense.

The Sharks clearly turned things up a notch once they were down against Buffalo in the third period, yet it was too late for a comeback. Perhaps some of that malaise came from underestimating their opponents, but maybe some of it was sheer coincidence.

On the bright and sour side, the Sharks face the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. The bad side is that this represents a back-to-back (which the Sabres were on) against the red-hot Ducks. The positives are that San Jose has little time to linger on its failures and should be able to get into the game quickly considering Anaheim’s status as cross-state rivals.

People tend to overreact to early results, yet after an offseason in which the front office seemed to be in fire drill mode at times, a prolonged losing streak could convince important people that there’s plenty wrong with this Sharks team.

Video: Sens, Leafs, Habs combine for beautiful tribute following Ottawa shootings


When word surfaced that Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal would combine for a simultaneous ceremony to honor fallen soldiers before Saturday’s games, many expected emotional scenes. It turns out that tribute was even more moving than anticipated.

Here’s video of the beautiful scene out of the three hockey hotbeds:

(Hockey Night in Canada’s intro was fantastic in its own right.)

Those on hand snapped some fascinating photos of the ceremonies:

The Senators, Maple Leafs and Canadiens honored Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Office Patrice Vincent in a tremendous way tonight.

Related: Tributes from around the league.

Will winning trump revenge tonight?

Brian Boyle Carey Price

Two controversial moments from the 2014 postseason will be revisited on Saturday, but it remains to be seen if anyone will be “targeted” for revenge. Even this early into 2014-15, going for the victory might just be too important to risk it.

For one thing, New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider doesn’t expect any “carryover” from the crease-crashing moment that sidelined Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price last postseason, as New York Newsday’s Steve Zipay reports.

Here’s the video replay of a moment that Habs head coach Michel Therrien labeled “reckless.”

Montreal backs up Kreider’s feelings about letting the collision go, at least to an extent, as this post discusses.

Tonight also represents an opportunity for St. Louis Blues captain David Backes to get back at Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook for a charging hit that prompted a three-game postseason suspension:

Backes seemed to state that the Blues won’t go out of their way to get revenge on Seabrook … but they won’t pass up opportunities to leave the Blackhawks bruised, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.

While James Neal and Patric Hornqvist facing their former teams in tonight’s Pittsburgh Penguins – Nashville Predators game doesn’t bring to mind the same potential for carnage, revenge could very well be in the air in that case, too.

An old adage is that “living well is the best revenge.” If you believe the players involved, they’ll try to gain vengeance on the scoreboard.

Sleepy Sharks hit new low in loss to Buffalo

Cody Hodgson, Antti Niemi

Saturday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres was supposed to be a confidence-booster for the San Jose Sharks. Instead, the Sharks hit a new low in 2014-15 as Buffalo beat them 2-1, handing San Jose its fourth consecutive regulation loss.

If you want an idea of how glum things were, just take a look at some of the observations that came when the game was merely tied 0-0 heading into the third period:

As the only “matinee” game on Saturday, many in the hockey world witnessed the Sharks sleepwalking through much of this contest. While it’s true that San Jose carried a 14-9 shot advantage through two periods, it’s difficult to deny the impression that they didn’t really “turn things on” until Buffalo opened up scoring.

For all the talk of Alex Stalock unseating Antti Niemi, it’s reasonable to say that he’d like one (if not both) of these goals back:

Jeremy Roenick did not give the Sharks a good review:

This fact via the Mercury News’ David Pollak adds wallet-based injury to all the insults:

With four losses in a row and five defeats in their last six games, the Sharks’ season-opening three-game winning streak feels like a distant memory. The rest of October doesn’t look very friendly, either, with these three road games coming up:

Sunday: at Anaheim
Tuesday: at Colorado
Thursday: at Minnesota

One positive spin on the upcoming challenge:

Is it too early to wonder if the next organizational meltdown is coming?