Jason Brough

Video: Former NHLer Wolski suffers serious neck injury in KHL game

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Former NHL forward Wojtek Wolski suffered a serious injury during a KHL game Thursday in Russia.

Wolski, who plays for Magnitogorsk Metallurg, crashed into the boards and is reportedly out for the season with two broken cervical vertebrae (the vertebrae of the neck), spinal cord trauma, and a concussion.

As you can see in the video, Wolski had to be taken off on a stretcher. He was immediately hospitalized but will not require surgery, according to Postmedia.

“I never thought I’d say I got lucky after breaking my neck,” Wolski told TSN’s Gino Reda, per Postmedia. “But it really could have been a lot worse. (I’m) staying positive and hoping to make a full quick recovery sometime late this season.”

Wolski, 30, played 451 NHL games for the Avalanche, Coyotes, Rangers, Panthers, and Capitals.

Jackets lose Ryan Murray for at least Saturday’s game

Columbus Blue Jackets v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Five
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The Columbus Blue Jackets, coming off a disappointing result in their season-opener last night, will now be without defenseman Ryan Murray for at least tomorrow’s home game against San Jose.

Coach John Tortorella announced today that Murray would be missing against the Sharks after the d-man blocked a shot in Thursday’s 6-3 loss to the Bruins. Dalton Prout, a healthy scratch against Boston, will draw in, according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch.

No word how long Murray will be out of the lineup, but the Jackets could really use something positive out of their next two games, both of them at home. They host the Sharks Saturday and the Blackhawks Friday, then they hit the road for games in Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Anaheim — a tough trip, to be sure.

Remember that Columbus started last season with eight straight losses. Head coach Todd Richards was fired after the first seven defeats, replaced by Tortorella.

Benning doesn’t regret trading Forsling, but it still doesn’t look good on him

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24: Jim Benning of the Vancouver Canucks attends round one of the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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In January of 2015, when the Vancouver Canucks traded Gustav Forsling to Chicago for Adam Clendening, they did it with the expectation that Clendening could step into their lineup right away and help the team.

At the time, Clendening was 22, while Forsling was just 18.

Today, Clendening is with the Rangers (it never worked out for him in Vancouver, and he was dealt to Pittsburgh as part of the Brandon Sutter trade), while Forsling is playing for the Blackhawks after making the team out of camp.

So, does Canucks GM Jim Benning regret trading Forsling?

“Well, no, I drafted him, I saw him lots in his draft year. I knew he was a good player,” Benning said yesterday on TSN 1040 radio. “He’s a skilled player and he’s got an excellent shot.

“You know, where we were at when we made the deal, our guys believed in Adam Clendening and so we made the deal to give him a chance. That didn’t work out, but I move on. We’ve got Troy Stecher, and that’s a similar type player. He’s going to be a real good player for us moving forward.”

Benning isn’t wrong that the future looks bright for Stecher. And who knows? Maybe Stecher would’ve chosen another team to sign with if the Canucks had kept Forsling.

And also, to be fair, the Canucks’ defense looks a lot more promising now than it did a year ago. Ben Hutton, 23, has been a revelation (though he was a Mike Gillis-era pick); Stecher, 22, had an outstanding preseason and seems primed to make his NHL debut soon, and Benning used the fifth overall pick in June to draft 18-year-old Olli Juolevi.

But the Forsling trade still doesn’t reflect well on Benning, a GM who’s been criticized for trading away draft picks and prospects for slightly older players that he believes can help the team now. A good example of that is the Erik Gudbranson trade, which Benning badly needs to go his way, both for his team’s sake and for the sake of his own credibility.

The Canucks open the regular season Saturday at home to Calgary.

Related: There’s one ‘vision’ in Vancouver this season, and that’s winning

Wild believe they have ‘more to give’ after season-opening loss

ST. LOUIS, MO - October 13: Members of the St. Louis Blues celebrate after scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild in the third period at the Scottrade Center on October 13, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Somehow, the Minnesota Wild were only down a goal after one period. Somehow, because they were outshot 14-2 in the opening 20 minutes of last night’s game in St. Louis, an eventual 3-2 Blues victory.

It was the Wild’s first game of the season, while the Blues had opened the night before with an impressive 5-2 win in Chicago.

Minnesota’s new coach, Bruce Boudreau, wondered if that was a factor.

“I was thinking [Wednesday] night was such an advantage for them to already have played a fast-paced game knowing what it is, and this is not an excuse, but we were a step behind it seemed all night long,” Boudreau said, per the Star Tribune.

Minnesota did get back into the contest, outshooting the Blues, 19-17, over the final two periods. But overall, the coach and players were left unsatisfied with their first effort of 2016-17.

Boudreau said he hoped it was “based upon first-game jitters,” as opposed to a sign of things to come. The Wild have their home opener on Saturday against the Jets, one of the Central Division teams they could be battling for a playoff spot.

“Probably we all agree we have a lot more to give,” said goalie Deven Dubnyk.

Related: With an aging core, the Wild could be Boudreau’s biggest challenge yet

Not ‘even close’ — Torts laments Blue Jackets loss

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A very deflated-sounding John Tortorella met briefly with reporters last night in Columbus, unable to explain his team’s performance in a 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins.

The Blue Jackets had actually led the Bruins 2-0 after the first period, but Tortorella didn’t even like that part.

“We weren’t good in the first period, either,” he said. “Don’t let the score fool you. We weren’t good through the game. Tentative, sloppy. You can use a lot of different words, for right on through. No matter what the score was.”

It was plays like this that cost the Jackets:

A nice play, sure, by Brad Marchand to pick off the pass from Zach Werenski to Seth Jones, but sloppy all the same from the Jackets.

Though Tortorella refused to pin the loss on the young pairing of Werenski and Jones, the duo definitely did look out of sorts at times.

“Don’t put it on the young defense,” Tortorella said. “Guys that have played in this league so long … I’m not going to break it down, but right on through the game, I don’t think we were even close.”

Veteran center Brandon Dubinsky finished a career-worst minus-5, so Tortorella was right that it wasn’t just the young guys that let the line of Marchand, David Backes and David Pastrnak run wild.

For Tortorella, it must’ve been especially vexing that the Bruins didn’t even have Patrice Bergeron in the lineup. The B’s also had two rookie defensemen, Brandon Carlo and Rob O’Gara, making their NHL debuts.

“I don’t have an answer for you,” Tortorella said. “Obviously, we have to find it. … Practice tomorrow, we’ll go to work.”

The Jackets host San Jose and Chicago next, before hitting the road for games against Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Anaheim.

So not an easy start to the season, and already one opportunity blown.