<span class="vcard">Mike Halford</span>

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game Seven

Boyle not shocked by healthy scratch: ‘I haven’t played well’

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Several pundits took note earlier this week when news broke that Rangers d-man Dan Boyle — he of the $4.5M salary — would be a healthy scratch for Tuesday’s game against Winnipeg.

Boyle, though, saw the move coming.

“I wouldn’t say it was a shock,” Boyle said, per the Bergen Record. “It’s only been three games but I haven’t played well. I’m my own hardest critic. I don’t need anyone to tell me.”

Per the Record, it was Boyle’s first healthy scratch in nearly seven years.

At first, the move seemed to be a combination of multiple factors — Boyle’s subpar play, the opportunity to rest a 39-year-old, a chance for Dylan McIlrath to make his season debut — but after hearing both Boyle and head coach Alain Vigneault address it, the scratch sounds like it was mostly, if not totally, about performance.

Vigneault said that going into his second year with the team, Boyle “should understand how we want to play,” adding that “he’s been in the league a long time.”

AV also said Boyle would draw back into the lineup for Thursday’s game against Montreal.

Goalie nods: Khudobin makes Ducks debut

Anton Khudobin, Joel Ward

Anaheim is looking for its first win of the season, and turning to its backup netminder to get it.

Anton Khudobin, acquired from Carolina at the draft, will be making his Ducks debut tonight against the Coyotes.

Khudobin’s start comes after No. 1 Frederik Andersen played extremely well in Anaheim’s first two games of the season — posting a .957 save percentage and 1.45 GAA — but received almost no offensive support, and was tagged with a pair of losses.

It is worth noting, however, that Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau suggested Khudobin could actually be in better form than Andersen:

For the Coyotes, Mike Smith — the NHL’s reigning third star of the week — gets the nod in goal.


— The Blue Jackets are sticking with the struggling Sergei Bobrovsky as they look for their first win of the season. Bobrovsky is 0-3 this year with a 4.66 GAA and .850 save percentage, but will make his fourth straight start as Columbus hosts the Sens. Craig Anderson will be in net for Ottawa.

— Michal Neuvrith starts again for the Flyers as they host Chicago. He’s in because Philly’s No. 1, Steve Mason, was away from the team dealing with a personal issue and only rejoined the club this morning. Neuvirth posted a 31-save shutout against Florida last time out. For the ‘Hawks, Corey Crawford gets the nod.

— Looks as though Jonas Gustavsson will make his Bruins debut against Colorado, replacing the ineffective Tuukka Rask. Semyon Varlamov goes for the Avs.

Columbus has ‘fooled around enough,’ now facing ‘must-win’ versus Sens

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It might seem crazy to consider game No. 4 of 82 a “must-win,” but that’s exactly where the 0-3 Blue Jackets are ahead of tonight’s tilt against Ottawa.

“We’re treating this as the most important game of the season,” Columbus d-man Dalton Prout said, per the Dispatch. “It’s a must-win.”

While Prout is the only Jacket calling tonight must-win — well, the only Jacket we’ve seen say it, anyway — it’s pretty clear the entire team considers tonight’s game a crucial one.

“It’s going to be a big effort by everyone [tonight],” Scott Hartnell said. “We’ve fooled around enough the first few games.”

Looking for a spark, head coach Todd Richards shuffled his lines at Wednesday’s morning skate. The most noteworthy shift was Boone Jenner‘s promotion to the top line next to Ryan Johansen and Brandon Saad.

Jenner, who scored 16 goals as a rookie and nine in 31 games during an injury-riddled ’14-15 campaign, is being counted on to bring his trademark work rate and energy to the Jackets’ top unit.

Related: Poll: Which of these 0-3 starts is most concerning?

Flames’ Bouma broke leg on Reaves hit, out three months


Pretty significant blow for Calgary on Wednesday, as GM Brad Treliving announced energy forward Lance Bouma would miss the next three months after breaking his fibula against St. Louis last night.

Bouma was shaken up following a big hit from Blues winger Ryan Reaves. He struggled to get to the bench, didn’t return to the contest and was seen leaving the Saddledome on crutches.

The loss will be a tough one for Calgary.

Bouma, 25, is coming off a solid ’14-15 campaign in which he posted career-highs in goals (16), assists (18) and points (34), earning himself a three-year, $6.6 million contract extension in July.

As mentioned above, Bouma is a valuable ‘heart-and-soul’ type for the Flames. He’s firmly entrenched as a top-nine forward and finished seventh in the NHL in hits last year, with 264.

Caps waive camp surprise Collins

Keith Kinkaid, Sean Collins

Last week, Sean Collins surprised onlookers by making Washington’s opening-night roster on the heels of a strong preseason performance.

But that was last week.

The Caps placed Collins on waivers this afternoon, per ESPN, with the move coming hours after Collins played just over eight minutes in Tuesday’s 5-0 blowout loss to San Jose.

A former seventh-round pick that had previously spent all of his professional career in the Columbus organization, Collins inked with the Caps this summer and impressed head coach Barry Trotz this fall with his work rate and lunch-bucket approach.

“It’s the consistency factor, the getting the job done,” Trotz said, per the Washington Post. “He’s not a Ferrari; he’s one of those useful pickup trucks that get the job done. He’d probably do a commercial for a truck company.

“That’s what he is. He’s the guy that can pick up a lot of stuff that some of those other guys can’t do and that’s really important to have.”

Waiving the 27-year-old may be linked to a pending roster move. It’s possible that Collins’ departure will pave the way for Nicklas Backstrom to come off IR and join the roster; Backstrom (hip) was taking line rushes with the team earlier this week while awaiting medical clearance from his surgeon.

The Caps have two more games at home this week — against Chicago and Carolina — before heading West for a three-game roadie through Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton.