It’s no secret that I’ve been extremely critical of the the Chicago Blackhawks lately; they are a great team and are in prime position for a Stanley Cup run but I’m one of many that is convinced their goaltending is not good enough.
After today’s loss to the Flyers, I’m not certain whether my concerns have been validated or proven wrong.
On one hand, I thought Cristobal Huet played well enough. But the Blackhawks were felled by even better goaltending on the other end. And while their team defense has been touted as the best in the NHL all season long, it was a critical mistake in the final seconds that led to Chris Pronger’s winning goal.
So will the exceptional offense of the Blackhawks be able to overcome their shortcomings elsewhere? Today it wasn’t. But perhaps today was just an example of a team getting beat by great goaltending — it happens all the time and it’s certainly nothing to get worried about in the long run. If it was just once.
I will say that Huet’s reaction to Pronger’s goal was alarming. Goaltenders get angry all the time, but his slamming and breaking of his stick on the goal post spoke of an underlying frustration that has to be eating at Huet from the inside. This is certainly not what the Hawks need to be dealing with, especially with a big game coming up tomorrow against
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: