The free agent crunch has been a theme we’ve hit from all sides this summer and yet another player is packing his things up and heading to Europe after being unable to land a deal in the NHL. Former Wild and Islanders forward Richard Park is packing his bags to join the Swiss Elite League.
Coach Chris McSorley says the 34-year-old winger chose Geneva-Servette over NHL and European teams.
McSorley tells The Associated Press he spoke with the Islanders’ Swiss defenceman Mark Streit about Park before making him the top off-season acquisition. The club lost to Bern in the Swiss playoff finals last season in game seven.
It’s tough to see useful players like Park leave the NHL but this is just how it goes these days. While Park isn’t a superstar by any means, his work in a checking role and on the penalty kill was always top-notch. Getting squeezed out of a job in the NHL stinks for guys like Park. What the effect it will have on those roles in the NHL remains to be seen.
Clearly many teams feel that roles like this can be assumed by those from within the organization or for less money via free agency. We’ll have to wait and see if it pans out or if NHL teams will indeed be hoping to bring back players like Richard Park to take care of those roles.
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: