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Unmasked: Bobrovsky should be fine under Tortorella

Thursday, 10.22.2015 / 12:00 PM / Unmasked

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky admits he has no confidence after a terrible start to the season.

Bobrovsky has a 5.07 goals-against average and .835 save percentage, and he was in goal for five of the Blue Jackets' season-opening seven-game losing streak that led to the firing of coach Todd Richards on Wednesday.

The question now is how the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner will fare under new coach John Tortorella and a collapsing, shot-blocking style of defense. Assuming Tortorella insists on the same defensive posture that defined his past two coaching jobs, with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, it will be interesting to see what adjustments, if any, the struggling Bobrovsky will have to make behind it.

Fantasy top 30 goalies: Varlamov's play concerning

Thursday, 10.22.2015 / 12:00 PM / Fantasy Hockey Draft Rankings, Advice and Analysis

David Satriano - Staff Writer

Every Thursday during the season, fantasy hockey staff writer David Satriano provides in-depth goalie analysis. From updated weekly top-30 rankings to trending players and more, Satriano is your go-to guy for fantasy goalie advice all season long.

The Colorado Avalanche were hoping last season, when they finished last in the Central Division, wouldn't repeat itself. But they're 2-3-1 following their 1-0 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes and are allowing 2.83 goals per game. Some of that falls on goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

Varlamov was 41-14-6 with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage and was a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2013-14. Though he regressed last season, the numbers still were good: 28-20-8 with five shutouts, 2.56 GAA, .921 save percentage.

Around the League notebook: Wednesday, Oct. 21

Thursday, 10.22.2015 / 9:00 AM / News

NHL Public Relations


Rookie Connor McDavid scored the first game-winning goal of his NHL career at 6:34 of the second period to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings.

* McDavid has 3-2—5 in his past three games and 4-2—6 in the first seven games of his NHL career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, at 18 years, 281 days old, McDavid was the youngest Oilers player to score a game-winning goal since teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did so on Oct. 22, 2011 vs. NYR at 18 years, 193 days old (2-0 W).

* The Oilers snapped an eight-game losing streak vs. DET dating to Feb. 8, 2012 (0-6-2).

By the Numbers: Stats back Canadiens' start

Thursday, 10.22.2015 / 3:00 AM / Behind the Numbers

Rob Vollman - Correspondent

The Montreal Canadiens have won seven straight games, a season-starting streak never before accomplished in the history of the team.

They have scored at least three goals in each game and have not allowed more than two, leading to an impressive 23-7 goals differential.

With its hot start, Montreal has established itself as the team to beat, with more than just its one well-known weapon: goaltender Carey Price.

Finnish talent Puljujarvi draws Selanne comparisons

Thursday, 10.22.2015 / 3:00 AM / Prospects

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Every Thursday, will look ahead to the 2016 NHL Draft with an in-depth profile on one of its top prospects.

Right wing Jesse Puljujarvi of Karpat in Finland, a top prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft, possesses all the tools scouts crave.

He has the size (6-foot-3, 203 pounds), strength and speed, is creative on the power play and can dominate 1-on-1. He could go as high as a top-five pick and, judging by his play so far this season in Liiga, Finland's top professional league, it's easy to see why. In 16 games the 17-year-old has four goals, four assists and 49 shots on goal while averaging 14:38 of ice time.

"He's a powerful skater with good speed and balance," said Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting. "He has outstanding hockey sense and reads the play well. He's a good playmaker with strong puck-handling skills. He can take advantage of 1-on-1 situations with his long reach."

His appetite to score goals is pretty obvious.

Blue Jackets fire Richards as coach, hire Tortorella

Wednesday, 10.21.2015 / 4:36 PM / News

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- John Tortorella was named coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday after Todd Richards was fired.

The Blue Jackets are an NHL-worst 0-7-0 after losing 4-0 at home to the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

"We had some bad performances and kept losing," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "We came to a decision after [the game Tuesday], this can't go any longer without making a change.

"John Tortorella is an experienced National Hockey League coach with a proven track record of success. He is a Stanley Cup winner, and we believe the right person to lead our team at this time."

Tortorella is 446-375-115 in 14 seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He won the 2004 Stanley Cup with the Lightning.

The 57-year-old signed a three-year contract. His first game will be Thursday at the Minnesota Wild that starts a stretch of seven of eight on the road.

"It's the third-youngest team (in the NHL)," Tortorella said of the Blue Jackets. "They've got some pieces. It's really exciting because you're going to be teaching, developing kids to be pros."

Analysis: Tortorella must evolve to succeed in new job

Wednesday, 10.21.2015 / 4:00 PM / NHL Insider

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

It was interesting Wednesday to hear John Tortorella say getting the Columbus Blue Jackets turned around this season won't require him to reinvent the wheel, because Tortorella will have to show he has reinvented himself in order to guide his new team out of its early-season slump.

Tortorella took over for Todd Richards as Blue Jackets coach on Wednesday, a reflection of Columbus' 0-7-0 start to what was a once promising season filled with high expectations.

Tortorella said his job is to get the Blue Jackets back to playing to their identity as an aggressive, straight ahead, quick and hard team. Those are the same principles most of Tortorella's past teams have lived by and won by, but he started losing games, the team, and eventually his job when his tired philosophies and principles got in the way of his relationship with the players.

Change some of those (not all), and Tortorella has a chance to change the Blue Jackets.

Blue Jackets aware of Tortorella's demanding style

Wednesday, 10.21.2015 / 3:00 PM / News

Craig Merz - Correspondent

COLUMBUS -- Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky knows newly named coach John Tortorella very well from their days with the New York Rangers.

Though each admits their coach-player relationship was acrimonious in spots from 2008-12, they also agree times have changed.

"You have your ups and downs in relationships in sports and life," Dubinsky said. "Although those types of things happened a little bit, at the end of the day he made me a better hockey player without a doubt. He helped me immensely."

Tortorella replaces Todd Richards, who was fired Wednesday with the Blue Jackets (0-7-0) off to one of the worst starts in NHL history.

The first player Tortorella met in Nationwide Arena on Wednesday morning was Dubinsky, an alternate captain who has been with the Blue Jackets since the start of the 2012-13 season.

"I need to lean on him," Tortorella said. "He's part of that heartbeat of the club. He needs to be a conduit between the players and the coaching staff until I get to know the other guys.

"I had him at a different stage in our career. We went through the process, him and I, some good things, some bad things."

Blues' Stastny placed on IR because of broken foot

Wednesday, 10.21.2015 / 2:02 PM / News

St. Louis Blues forward Paul Stastny was placed on injured reserve Wednesday because of a broken right foot and will be re-evaluated in five weeks.

Stastny was injured in the second period of a 4-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday. He missed the Blues' past two games.

Blackhawks place Keith on long-term injured reserve

Wednesday, 10.21.2015 / 1:38 PM / News

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was placed on long-term injured reserve Wednesday, one day after having surgery to repair a meniscal tear in his right knee.

Keith is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The move to place him on LTIR gives the Blackhawks an additional $5.54 million in relief against the NHL salary cap, but it remains to be seen if general manager Stan Bowman will look to the outside for temporary help.

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