Winners and Losers in the East

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Yeah, yeah, we know that it’s far too early to know who really won the trade deadline. Still, a team’s moves (or lack of moves) can tell you a lot about their aggressiveness, confidence and overall plan. With that in mind, let’s discuss some of the deadline’s winners and losers in the Eastern Conference.

Washington: I’m usually all about going for a sure thing instead of an unknown prospect, but the Capitals gave up a lot for Joe Corvo, Eric Belanger, Milan Jurcina and Scott Walker. Washington is clearly gearing up for a Cup run, though, and (at least for this year) these deals should give them a slight boost.

Pittsburgh: GM Ray Shero continued his stellar deadline track record of low-risk, high-reward moves. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Jordan Leopold might not be world-beaters like Marian Hossa, but the Penguins didn’t give up much to upgrade their depth.

(More winners)

Buffalo: The draft picks more or less cancel each other out, so they basically received a gritty, playoff-proven rental (Raffi Torres) for Nathan Paetsch and Clarke McArthur. That might not knock your socks off, but the small market Sabres could really benefit from Torres’ physical presence.
Toronto: Brian Burke is dramatically altering the Maple Leafs and he did a solid job of dumping salary and bringing in picks/prospects. Getting rid of Stempniak was wise, but finding a sucker to take Jeff Finger would have justified Burke’s notable swagger.

Philadelphia: The Flyers left the deadline empty-handed: no goalie, no Dan Hamhuis. They’re on a hot streak now, but if Michael Leighton falters there will be plenty of second guessing.
Atlanta: They’d missed the playoffs if they started today, but wouldn’t it have been wise for the Thrashers to try to soothe their fan base (at least a bit) after the Kovalchuk trade?
Florida: Tomas Vokoun is one of the most underrated goalies in the league, but if his time in Florida is indeed limited then why not get something for him sooner rather than later?

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: