Jason Brough


Jackets lose Ryan Murray for at least Saturday’s game

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


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


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


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.

The ‘foot soldiers’ got it done for the Stars last night

1 Comment

DALLAS (AP) While Adam Cracknell is one of the newcomers for the Dallas Stars, he knew Antoine Roussel wanted the puck.

Roussel scored the tie-breaking goal on the next shift, and only 22 seconds after Andrew Cogliano‘s second goal for Anaheim had tied the season opener early in the third period, and Dallas went on to a 4-2 victory over the Ducks on Thursday night.

“Rous made a good yell, I knew he was backdoor, and I just whacked it over there, and he’s a guy that’s going to work hard for that puck,” Cracknell said. “And he puts it in … and we get that lead right back.”

Cracknell later scored a goal that included a secondary assist from Roussel on the Stars’ third line.

“If you look at the scoresheet tonight, it was some of their foot soldiers,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.

Lauri Korpikoski, another newcomer, and Stephen Johns also scored for the Stars, while Antti Niemi stopped 33 shots, including 16 in a strange first period.

“Antti was excellent,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “That first period, we had some bad decisions, gave up some odd-numbered rushes, made some uncommon bad decisions, gave up three 2-on-1s where he made real good saves.”

Anaheim finished the first period with a 17-1 shots-on-goal advantage, and spent eight minutes on the power play. But the game was tied 1-1 with Johns scoring on Dallas’ only shot before Cogliano had a short-handed goal.

“They came out flying. I think we were just a little too wound up, all pretty juiced up and excited,” Johns said. “In the second and third, we settled down and played our system and got back to the way we know how to play.”

Cogliano had a breakaway after an open-ice turnover by Jason Spezza, and scored on the rebound after his initial shot ricocheted off Niemi.

“I got lucky. … I kind of knew he wanted to go across the ice, I got a stick on it and made a shot and was able to pick up the rebound,” Cogliano said.

Ducks goalie John Gibson had 16 saves in the opener matching the Western Conference’s two defending division champions.

The Stars had a conference-high 109 points while winning the Central Division before losing in the second round of the playoffs to the St. Louis Blues. Anaheim was the Pacific Division champs, but went back to a familiar coach after being ousted in the first round by Nashville.

Carlyle, who led the Ducks to their only Stanley Cup title in 2007, replaced Bruce Boudreau nearly five years after being fired.

“They scored three goals right from in tight. So we were lax on that coverage. And we were 0-for-5 on our power play,” Carlyle said after his first game back. “These are the frustrating ones, when you work hard and you do the things that can give yourself a chance, and then you’re lax in the area where you can’t be lax.”