Author: Ryan Dadoun

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Curtis Lazar, Jack Johnson
AP Photo

Blue Jackets still searching for their identity


Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout claimed prior to Wednesday’s game that the contest would be treated “as the most important game of the season” and is a “must-win.”

That makes Columbus’ 7-3 loss to Ottawa last night to drop to 0-4-0 this season all the more disturbing.

“There’s a lot of things that go on when you’ve given up … we’ve given up 20 goals,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “Trust is definitely one of those things. That goes throughout the team. I’m talking trust in executing the system, and knowing each person needs to do.”

Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno feels the team has lost its identity. In the meantime, the way Columbus allowed the game to slip away after holding a 3-2 lead was “disgusting.”

Richards said the team is trying to find that identity, but right now “I don’t think we have any idea what we need to be.”

It all has to be extremely disheartening for the organization, which had written off last season’s failure due to the sheer volume of man games lost. Now the Blue Jackets are relatively healthy and have added Brandon Saad to boot and yet they’ve been a complete mess.

While there might not actually be must-win games in October, Friday’s contest against the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs is an important one, especially because it will be followed up by three tough contests against Chicago, the Islanders, and Minnesota.

Related: Bobrovsky admits he has ‘zero confidence right now’

Patrick Roy: ‘We can’t play like this’

Nate Guenin, Patrick Roy
AP Photo

The Colorado Avalanche’s first three games have been quite the mixed bag.

They surrendered four unanswered goals over a 5:07-minute span in the third period to suffer a 5-4 loss to Minnesota in the Avalanche’s opener. Colorado responded by getting two points out of a game versus Dallas, but the Avalanche suffered a crushing 6-2 loss against the Bruins last night.

“I’m not happy. I’m not happy at all,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said, per the Denver Post. “We didn’t compete like we should. We turned the puck (over) on the last four goals. We made poor decisions in the neutral zone. That can’t happen.

“I understand if we don’t have our ‘A’ game. That doesn’t mean we need to be 5-0 in the hole before we start playing.

“Tonight, I saw things where we were out of control. It was chaos in our own zone. We just couldn’t focus. If you watch the video, we had guys changing on (one) goal while the play was coming in our end. It’s unacceptable. We can’t play like this. If we want to make the playoffs, this is not the type of performance we need.”

Perhaps the most concerning part of the Avalanche’s first three games has been Semyon Varlamov, who now has a 5.06 GAA and .841 save percentage. Under Patrick Roy, the Avalanche are a team that consistently gets outshot and they’ve relied on Varlamov to make up that difference.

Varlamov wasn’t happy with his performance on Wednesday, although Roy noted that it’s not all about him.

“You look at the goal he gave up in the second, no help,” he said.

At the end of the day, a 1-2-0 record is far from a disaster, even if its not ideal. A win in Anaheim on Friday would go a long way towards putting this all behind the Avalanche.

PHT Morning Skate: Pick a goal song for Vrbata

Radim Vrbata, Pekka Rinne
AP Photo

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.

The Vancouver Canucks have decided to use individual goal celebration songs for each player. The Canucks players get to pick their goal song, but Radim Vrbata wants the fans to choose for him. The new songs will make their debut Friday. (

Here are the highlights from Philadelphia’s 3-0 win over Chicago:

There is such a thing as Babsocks. (Puck Daddy)

Kimmo Timonen spoke publicly prior to being honored Wednesday and described the Philadelphia Flyers as “my No. 1 team.” (CSN Philly)

Some context for the Montreal Canadiens’ great start:

Speaking of Montreal, the Bell Centre will undergo $100 million worth of renovations over the next three years. (CJAD 800)

Sam Bennett hasn’t recorded a point in the first three games of his rookie season. Teammate Johnny Gaudreau has been in the same position though and is urging patience. (

NHL on NBCSN: Flyers face early test in ‘Hawks

Sean Couturier, Corey Crawford
AP Photo

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Philadelphia Flyers host the Chicago Blackhawks at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

Five years is an eternity in the NHL.

Chicago and Philadelphia met in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, but the teams that play tonight will feature significantly different rosters. Not everything has changed though.

While the supporting cast might be very different, Chicago’s core is still largely intact and just as effective as it was in 2010 when the Blackhawks claimed their first of three championships over the last six seasons. Meanwhile, Philadelphia has endured a much less flattering road since finishing a mere two wins shy of the Cup, but there has been a constant: Whenever Chicago visits, the Flyers collect two points.

Chicago hasn’t beaten the Flyers in Philadelphia in a regular season game since 1996, giving the Flyers an 11-0 record over that span, per CSN Philly.

Continuing that trend would be a big confidence booster for Philadelphia. In conjunction with the Flyers’ respectable showing against the Tampa Bay Lightning and their 1-0 win over Florida on Monday, a victory tonight would make Philadelphia’s embarrassing 7-1 loss to the Panthers on Saturday look more like an outlier than an omen.

“They come in on top and it’s another good test,” Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds said of Chicago. “We had a chance to play the Tampa Bay Lightning and I thought we put a good effort. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the two points.

“Now we’ve got a team that beat Tampa Bay in the Final. We’ve got a lot to prove here, a lot to show.”

The Blackhawks are heading into this game with a 2-1-0 record after taking both halves of their home-and-home series against the New York Islanders. Patrick Kane and KHL star turned NHL rookie Artemi Panarin have proven to be an effective duo as they’ve been leading the charge for Chicago with six and four points respectively.

They’ll try to push Chicago’s streak to three wins, providing the team with some momentum going into its games against Washington on Thursday and Columbus on Saturday.

PHT Morning Skate: Leafs once again ranked worst franchise in North America

The Canadian Press via AP

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.

ESPN’s 2015 Ultimate Standings ranked the Tampa Bay Lightning as the third best franchise among the MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. Finishing in last place out of the 122 teams was the Toronto Maple Leafs — again. At least hiring Mike Babcock caused them to jump in the coaching category. (ESPN)

Jaromir Jagr remains confident that he’ll play until he’s 50, barring an injury. It just might not be in the NHL. In the meantime, he thinks his mullet still needs two months of work. (TSN)

On what makes the Chicago Blackhawks’ fourth line as effective as it is. (Chicago Sun-Times)

For Ales Hemsky, there are perks to moving from the Edmonton Oilers to a smaller hockey market in Dallas. One of them is apparently feeling like he can get a tattoo. (Edmonton Sun)

James Wisniewski is in high spirits after undergoing surgery because of a torn ACL:

There’s no shortage of coaches that are already on the hot seat. (Calgary Sun)