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Stafford Hockey Club • View topic - Buffalo has become a familiar setting for Mittelstadt
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Postby officialsbaseball » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:54 am
DETROIT (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets were one of the best NHL teams in overtime last year. With a talented player like Artemi Panarin , they may be tough to beat in 3-on-3 hockey again this season.Panarin scored midway through overtime, lifting Columbus to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night in the opener for both teams.“He doesn’t seem to get tired,” said Cam Atkinson , who scored the Blue Jackets’ first goal. “He’s a game-changer.”Columbus was 9-3 in overtime last season, trailing only Pittsburgh’s rate of success. Detroit, meanwhile, was an NHL-worst 3-12 in overtime in 2017-18.Panarin broke franchise records and set career highs with 55 assists and 82 points last season, his first in Columbus after being acquired in a trade with Chicago. The Russian winger likes to stay on the ice a lot and coach John Tortorella doesn’t have a problem with it.“I’m not going to get in his way because he’s a game-breaker,” Tortorella said.Atkinson and Josh Anderson gave Columbus the lead over the first two periods. Rookie Dennis Cholowski and Tyler Bertuzzi pulled the Red Wings into a tie with goals in the second period.Joonas Korpisalo stopped 18 shots for the Blue Jackets. Detroit’s Jimmy Howard made 36 saves, helping the team send the game past regulation.“We got outshot by a lot and we were outplayed territorially, but Jimmy gave us a chance at two points,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “We got one of them, and he was a big part of that.”The rebuilding Red Wings honored Henrik Zetterberg, whose career is over because of a back ailment , before the game. Then, the team put five players on the ice who were playing for the first time in the NHL.Cholowski, Christoffer Ehn, Michael Rasmussen, Filip Hronek and Libor Sulak all made their debut.“With experience and games, they’re only going to get better and better,” Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader said. “With experience and work, they can really grow.”The last time an NHL team had that many rookies playing in their first game together was Detroit in 1985. It has happened just two other times in the league since the 1979, with the Colorado Rockies and Vancouver Canucks in 1981.Columbus is coming off consecutive postseason appearances for the first time in its 17-year history.The Blue Jackets are in win-now mode , aiming to advance in the playoffs for the first time with goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and Panarin entering the last year of their contracts.Columbus controlled the play and the puck for most of the night, looking like it was on the power play during even-strength situations at times. The Red Wings were down a skater often, putting the Blue Jackets on the power play six times.“We have to stay out of the box,” Blashill said. “We didn’t establish much of a forecheck, but every time we got a little momentum , we took another penalty. “The Blue Jackets enjoyed a big shot advantage for much of the game, but Howard prevented them from converting on a lot of chances to score.“We had full control,” Atkinson said. “We had plenty of opportunities and probably could’ve scored more, but Howard is a great goalie.”UP NEXT:Columbus: Hosts Carolina on Friday with Bobrovsky getting the start in net.Detroit: At Los Angeles on Sunday. BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Upon passing a physical and signing his three-year NHL contract, Casey Mittelstadt’s first order of business as a member of the Buffalo Sabres proved to be a perk on Tuesday.The 19-year-old was invited out for lunch with Sabres star Jack Eichel.”It’s definitely something pretty cool for a kid like me,” Mittelstadt said. ”It’s good to know he’s excited I’m here and he’s interested in getting to know me.”If the 21-year-old Eichel is the undisputed face of the Sabres, Mittelstadt is being counted upon to be a valuable addition in the struggling franchise’s bid to rebuild with youth. He was selected with the No. 8 pick in the draft last year, and signed with Buffalo a little more than a week after the playmaking center completed his freshman season at the University of Minnesota.Mittelstadt is scheduled to join the Sabres for practice on Wednesday and expected to make his NHL debut the following day, when Buffalo hosts the Detroit Red Wings in a game between two teams already eliminated from playoff contention.The Sabres have six games left, and are in jeopardy of finishing last in the overall standings for the third time in five years.Mittelstadt was mostly unfamiliar with the Sabres’ past woes while growing up a Wild fan in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.Over the past year, he’s become more familiar with the focus being placed on the team’s youngsters to restore winning to a team that’s not made the playoffs in seven years.”I think I can feel the struggle a little bit,” Mittelstadt said. ”And obviously , there’s a big emphasis being put on the young guys to turn it around here.”Mittelstadt had 11 goals and 19 assists in 34 games and was selected to the Big Ten all-freshmen team this year.The Golden Gophers’ season ended last week, when they were on the wrong end of numerous scenarios in being eliminated from competing in the NCAA Tournament.Mittelstadt took a few days to weigh his options before electing to turn pro last weekend. He said Minnesota coach Don Lucia’s decision to step down after 19 seasons had little influence on his decision.”I wanted to make sure the decision I came to that I’m both feet in,” he said. ”And it came up over and over again that both my feet were into go pro.”Buffalo has become a familiar setting for Mittelstadt. He attended the NHL pre-draft rookie combine in the city last spring.He made yet a bigger splash in representing the bronze-medal-winning United States team at the World Junior hockey championship, which was held in Buffalo three months ago. Mittelstadt was selected as the 10-nation tournament’s MVP after finishing tied for first in scoring with 11 points (four goals, seven assists).The inkling of one day playing for the Sabres in the same arena briefly crossed Mittelstadt’s mind during the world juniors, though he was more focused on representing the U.S. and returning to Minnesota.”Obviously, things didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to this year,” Mittelstadt said of the Gophers’ season ending.”But when the time came and I had some time to sit down and think and talk with my family, I think this was the right decision.”By adding Mittelstadt, the Sabres demoted forward Justin Bailey to Rochester.—
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