season openers

Report: Bruins to open season against Rangers


Rick Nash and the New York Rangers get to start their season on the road.

The Boston Globe reports the Boston Bruins will play host to the Rangers on January 19 and it won’t be lacking for storylines.

For Boston, it’s Tuukka Time all the time as Tuukka Rask takes over for Tim Thomas as the team’s starting goalie. There’s also the return of Nathan Horton from a concussion last season and Switzerland’s big scorer Tyler Seguin gets a chance to improve on his big season last year.

The Rangers, meanwhile, look to bounce back after their disappointing finish in the Eastern Conference finals with Henrik Lundqvist back in goal. Marian Gaborik is joined by Nash as well as playoff sensation Chris Kreider. That’s not a bad way to start the season.


Report: Ducks open in Vancouver, Blue Jackets in Nashville

Report: Kings host ‘Hawks on opening night

Report: Red Wings, Blues face off in season opener

Report: Potential openers for Avs, Wild, Leafs, Sens, Habs, and Jets revealed

Report: Ducks open season in Vancouver, Blue Jackets in Nashville

1 Comment

The NHL schedule isn’t out yet, but more season openers are getting leaked out.

The Vancouver Canucks will open their season at home against the Anaheim Ducks according to Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times.

It was rumored earlier today that the L.A. Kings wanted to raise their banner against the Ducks in a Southern California rivalry game, but the Ducks declined the invite. Instead, they’re rewarded with having to face the Sedin twins. Good work, guys.

Meanwhile, Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports the new-look Columbus Blue Jackets will start on the road against their division rivals, the Nashville Predators. The Jackets will then have their home opener two nights later against Detroit.

Keep in mind, these games are still tentative as the schedule is still being tinkered with.


Report: Kings host ‘Hawks on opening night

Report: Red Wings, Blues face off in season opener

Report: Potential openers for Avs, Wild, Leafs, Sens, Habs, and Jets revealed

The wacky Patrick Kane at center experiment continues

Instead of being a cute preseason distraction, the Chicago Blackhawks plan on keeping Patrick Kane at center to start the season.

That’s the word from’s Tracey Myers, who revealed that Kane is starting to embrace his return to the pivot position. (Apparently Kane grew up playing at center in his younger days before evolving into one of best right wings in the NHL.)

Even Kane seemed reluctant to move to the middle, especially considering the challenges related to a wrist injury that troubled him this summer. It’s hard to imagine Kane winning many faceoffs and a jump in defensive responsibility doesn’t sound like the best idea, either.

Then again, there are appealing perks: it should help him get the puck more often and also accounts for Dave Bolland’s injury. Oh yeah, it also allows the Blackhawks to roll out two one-two punches that will make defenses weep: Kane-Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews-Patrick Sharp.

It’s a flawed but potentially productive idea in theory, but we’ll begin to really test Joel Quenneville’s hypothesis during the team’s season opener against the Dallas Stars tonight.

Kings win battle of the Richards against Rangers

Some Los Angeles Kings fans believe that they acquired the wrong Richards this summer, but Mike’s team beat Brad’s in the first of their two meetings for 2011-12.

The New York Rangers managed to stay in the game 1-1 after a brutal defensive effort in the first period. Going further, it looked like they had a chance to hook the tights and steal one from the Kings when Brad Richards did some dirty work to set up Marian Gaborik’s 2-1 goal. Mike Richards ultimately came through in the end, though, as he scored the game-tying goal and then earned the primary assist on Jack Johnson’s overtime-winner.

As expected, the Rangers really miss Marc Staal on defense. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves and bailed his team out repeatedly, while Ryan Callahan scored a captain’s goal on some unusually bad work by Jonathan Quick. Head coach John Tortorella hit his quota for stunned looks, but deep down, he should feel happy that his team even scraped out a point.

Much like the Ducks’ one-game worries, the Rangers can at least take solace in the fact that they lost to a strong team. The talent deficit seemed most obvious in the first goal of the game, when Justin Williams sent a gorgeous saucer pass to Anze Kopitar, who showed off his world-class release.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Hey, at least the Rangers only have to deal with that one more time this season.

Buffalo exposes Anaheim’s shaky defense in Finland

Teemu Selanne’s every move was applauded in Finland on Friday, but the Anaheim Ducks’ dreadful defense stole the spotlight.

Maybe you can attribute some of their troubles to the Buffalo Sabres’ waves of quality forwards or a rusty Jonas Hiller, but Anaheim’s biggest weakness was clear in a 4-1 loss. Even considering Lubomir Visnovsky’s impressive scoring numbers, the blueline ranked as the Ducks’ Achilles heel last season and it’s hard to imagine that changing.

Sure, 25 shots allowed isn’t bad, but the Sabres were able to assert themselves in a troubling way on three of their four goals. (Check out the video highlights at the bottom of this post for examples.)

A pillow-soft defense puts incredible pressure on the Ducks’ top-heavy offense to rack up goals and Hiller to stand on his head. That formula worked – barely – last season, but it’s dangerous to expect the team to walk that tight rope again.

Then again, there are two important qualifiers:

1. It’s just one game.

2. The Buffalo Sabres might do this to a lot of teams.

Simply put, the Sabres’ scoring depth might make a lot of defenses look silly. One cannot help but wonder if the Ducks defense will look daffy one too many times this season, though.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!