Joe Yerdon

NHL on NBCSN: Blackhawks and Blues are Cup favorite rivals

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Chicago and St. Louis have been at each other’s throats since the Blues arrived in the NHL in 1967. Now they’re both favorites to win the Stanley Cup. They’ll face each other on Rivalry Night at 8 p.m. on NBCSN. You also can watch it via NBC Sports Live Extra.

One thing you can count on when the Blackhawks and Blues face off is a game played with a lot of angst. With the Detroit Red Wings off in the Eastern Conference, these two teams are now the rivals who’ll battle to take the Central Division year in and year out.

This season, they’re both teams who are considered to be favorites to win the Stanley Cup. That should only help step up the hostilities.

St. Louis has seen their season get off to a roaring start going 2-0-0 and outscoring opponents 11-2 in those games. Their defense led by Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester is as good as advertised. Jaroslav Halak’s play in goal has also been outstanding. What’s most surprising is the offensive output.

Goal scoring was thought to again be an issue for the Blues, but early on they’re showing it’s the least of their problems. Five players have three points already and another five more have two. Only Alex Steen has more than one goal, he’s got two, and the rest of the offense comes in waves.

Editor’s Note: ProHockeyTalk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $4,000 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Wednesday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 8pm ET. Here’s the link.

That should all be a lot for Chicago to handle, but if there’s a team capable of it, it’s them. The Blackhawks’ offense hasn’t been nearly as prolific as the Blues to start, but Brandon Saad is off to a roaring start with two goals and two assists in their two games. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson has been a setup man with three assists and Patrick Kane has two goals.

The one guy who needs to improve is Corey Crawford. In his two starts he’s given up six goals in 48 shots. The save percentage and goals-against average aren’t much to write home about, but if there’s a team he can figure it out against it’s the Blues. In his career, Crawford has gone 9-1-2 against St. Louis. The only team he has a better record against is Detroit.

That should set the table nicely for tonight’s tilt from Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

PHT Morning Skate: Devils players with great camps, bad starts

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer says Rostislav Olesz and Adam Larsson had great training camps but are struggling to start the season. (The Star-Ledger)

Editor’s Note: ProHockeyTalk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $4,000 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Wednesday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 8pm ET. Here’s the link.

One issue Winnipeg’s centers are having? Winning faceoffs. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Looking to show your love of San Jose rookie Tomas Hertl? You know you want a Teenage Mutant Ninja Hertl t-shirt. (RedBubble)

Ottawa’s Stephane Da Costa is hoping to get back in against Los Angeles tonight. (Senators Extra)

Anaheim’s Emerson Etem is hoping to be activated for the Ducks home opener. (Los Angeles Times)

Kings coach Darryl Sutter says Jake Muzzin is “struggling a lot.” (L.A. Kings Insider)

NHL on NBCSN: Kings and Wild open season in St. Paul

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A pair of Western Conference playoff teams from last season kick off their year against each other (8 p.m. ET). About all they have in common is losing to Chicago in last year’s postseason.

Los Angeles and Minnesota kick off their seasons with high hopes for the Stanley Cup. The Kings are hoping to reclaim what they lost to Chicago last season while the Wild are hoping they learned a lesson after being bounced out in the first round in five games.

While the Kings come in with virtually the same roster they had last season (with a few exceptions), the Wild have had an overhaul of sorts. Out are Devin Setoguchi, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and Cal Clutterbuck and in are Matt Cooke, Nino Niederreiter, and Keith Ballard.

Minnesota also packs in a few younger faces, some familiar from last year. Charlie Coyle impressed last season and looks to build off that while Justin Fontaine and possibly Matt Dumba look to prove they can stick around.

With Mikko Koivu, Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, and Jason Pominville, the Wild can score plenty as the team looks to keep an unbeaten record in home openers at Xcel Energy Center. They’ve gone 11-0-0 since a 3-3 tie with Philadelphia in 2000. Not bad.

Related: ProHockeyTalk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $3,000 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Thursday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $600. Starts at 7pm ET. Here’s the link.

For the Kings, they look to fix themselves up on the road. Fun fact: They’ve lost 15 of their last 16 on the road going back to last season, 10 of 11 in the postseason. After being road warriors in their Stanley Cup-winning season, they couldn’t be any worse away from L.A. last year.

The cast is familiar though with Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick leading the way. Quick looks to get his season off to a bang to prove he can lead the way for Team USA in the Olympics. Detroit’s Jimmy Howard got off to a nice start last night beating Buffalo 2-1.

For the Wild, the Kings provide an instant measuring stick to see where they stand to start the year. Los Angeles, meanwhile, hopes to put a blemish on Minnesota’s home opener record.

Roy to hear from NHL about outburst, no fine expected (Updated)

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Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy provided plenty of fireworks last night in his shouting outburst at Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau late in the team’s 6-1 win. Fortunately for him, it doesn’t sound like the league will take much action against him for it.

Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports the league will likely call Roy to discuss what went on but it’s expected he will not be fined for his actions.

If Roy sees any action taken against him, he’d be the second coach to face the wrath of the NHL for something they’ve done. Buffalo’s Ron Rolston was fined for his part in leaving enforcer John Scott on the ice during the Sabres-Maple Leafs melee during a preseason game.

Now we’ll have to wait and see what Roy will do for an encore. It might be a very fun season in Denver, win or lose.

UPDATE (1:03 p.m. ET)

According to a source of TVA’s Louis Jean, the NHL is indeed reviewing last night’s incident and claims a fine is “highly probable.”

Related — Video: Bruce Boudreau calls Patrick Roy’s actions ‘bush league’

Jackets’ Tyutin may miss opener with lower body injury

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The Columbus Blue Jackets may be without an important member of their blue line to start the season.

Defenseman Fedor Tyutin left practice yesterday bothered by what coach Todd Richards is calling a lower body injury. As Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch shares, it doesn’t sound serious.

“It’s nothing major,” Richards said. “It could be something that keeps him out on the weekend, but we won’t know more until later.”

Tyutin is an important player on the Blue Jackets defense, but fortunately for them they’ve got some depth to help out. 2012 second-overall pick Ryan Murray, Dalton Prout, Tim Erixon, and David Savard round out a group of younger guys filled with potential that could all benefit from Tyutin being out.