Jason Brough

Ryan Murray

Torts makes Ryan Murray a healthy scratch


The second overall pick in the 2012 draft, Ryan Murray has so far had his career defined by injuries.

That’s why the 22-year-old Blue Jackets defenseman was so excited about 2015-16. He felt great in September. Like “a kid” again, he said.

Alas, Murray will be a healthy scratch tonight in Pittsburgh. His coach, John Tortorella, reportedly feels he could use some time in the press box to watch and get refreshed.

Murray was a minus-2 in his last game, Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to Vancouver. This was the winning goal, scored late in the third period:

It’s been said many times that if the Blue Jackets are going to take the next step, they’re going to need Murray to take a big step, too. But thanks to all those injuries, he’s still only played 94 games in the NHL, so patience is required.

Also remember that Tortorella has had success with defensemen like Ryan McDonagh, who’s claimed his old coach “did wonders” for him.

The Jackets would love to hear the same from Murray one day.

Related: Murray knows he has to ‘show up and prove it’

Avs off to winning start on long trip, but Landeskog has hearing for hit on Marchand

Matt Duchene, Tyson Barrie

The Colorado Avalanche kicked off their seven-game road trip with a desire to “turn this thing around.”

So far, they’re two-for-two. They smoked the Flyers, 4-0, on Tuesday. Last night, they came back from an early deficit to edge the Bruins, 3-2.

“We played a really good game for 54 minutes,” coach Patrick Roy told the Denver Post. “It was a solid team effort. Even when we were down 2-0, I didn’t get the feeling we were panicking out there. I thought we were under control.”

The winning goal was scored by none other than Matt Duchene, the subject of recent trade rumors. Duchene now has five points in his last two games, and nine in his last six. He started the season with just two in 10.

“I knew that if I just stuck with it, stayed positive and didn’t grip the stick too much, eventually they would start going in,” Duchene told the Associated Press.

The one negative is that captain Gabriel Landeskog could be suspended for his hit on Brad Marchand. He’s reportedly got a hearing with the NHL today.

The Avs play Saturday in Montreal, before visits to Toronto, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Winnipeg. Some tough tests there, for sure. But so far they’ve been up to the challenge.

Related: Landeskog admits hitting Marchand in ‘vulnerable position,’ says he tried to apologize 

A quick update on Seattle’s arena situation


From the Seattle Times:

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says he won’t entertain any offers on alternative arena sites to the one proposed by Chris Hansen in the Sodo District.

Murray said Thursday he plans to honor a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hansen that expires at the end of 2017 and will not listen to proposals on overhauling KeyArena or any other location within the city.

“We entered into an agreement — the city did before I got here — and I said that I would honor that agreement,’’ Murray said. “This may not have been our first choice, how this was agreed upon, but … legally we have to honor it.’’

What does the above mean for Seattle’s chances of landing an NHL team? Well, it probably doesn’t help in the near term. That MOU that the city says it will honor only includes public financing if Hansen first lands an NBA team, and the chances of that are slim, if not nil.

Murray made his remarks after the Seattle Times revealed there was a group that had indicated a desire to renovate KeyArena, the old home of the NBA’s SuperSonics. Architects have concluded that KeyArena could, despite the previous assumption, be made “NBA and NHL compatible at a cost of $285 million,” per King 5 News.

But until 2018, the city is bound to Hansen.

Related: There will be no NHL expansion vote in December

Canucks having much less success in one-goal games

Marcus Foligno, Ryan Miller

The Vancouver Canucks made the playoffs last year, and their success in close contests was a big reason why.

Only the Anaheim Ducks (33-1-7) were better than the Canucks (22-4-5) in one-goal games.

It’s been a different story this year. Vancouver has lost nine games, all of them by one goal. Five times already have the Canucks (7-4-5) lost in overtime.

“It is probably a better thing to lose by one goal than four or five and you are not even close,” forward Alex Burrows told Postmedia. “I think we are in the mix, we are right there against any team and that’s a good sign. But we have to find ways to be on the good side of it.”

If there’s a bright side, it’s that the Canucks are undefeated (5-0-0) in games decided by more than one goal, and that’s something no other team can say.

Also on the bright side?

The Canucks are in the Pacific Division, where 7-4-5 is good for first place.

Vancouver plays the Senators in Ottawa tonight.

Barkov nearing return from broken hand

Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Toews
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The Florida Panthers have missed Aleksander Barkov since he broke his hand in late October.

Which makes sense, because he’s their best center.

Fortunately for the Panthers, Barkov is getting close to returning. They’ve gone 3-3-2 without him.

“I feel good and hope to be back as soon as possible,” he told the SunSentinel. “It’s getting better every day. I can shoot more and shoot harder; I could pass; I could skate better. I just need to gain the game’s pace.”

The Panthers are trying to stay patient, not wanting to rush the 20-year-old back. But it has to be frustrating, given their heightened expectations for the season.

Florida hosts Buffalo tonight then makes a quick trip to Tampa for a game Saturday.

According to the newspaper, it’s “possible” Barkov could return for Monday’s home game versus the Lightning.