If you’re thinking it seemed out of character for the Flyers to blow a 3-1 lead in the third period against Montreal last night before rallying late to win the game 5-3, you’d be right. You’ll also need to know there’s a good reason for the lack of defensive presence as well because Chris Pronger didn’t play in the third period thanks to a lower body injury.
It’s unknown how serious, if at all, the injury is but Pronger is playing on a surgically repaired right knee and is also 36 years-old to boot. With Pronger’s health being key to the long-term success of the Flyers, expect the Flyers to be careful with him. Should Pronger have to come out of the lineup, the team doesn’t have any salary cap flexibility to make a move and will go with Oskars Bartulis to take his spot in the lineup.
For now though, the Flyers got a taste of what life is like without Pronger in the lineup in the third period and that’s a future they’d like to avoid if at all possible. While they were still able to pull out a win over Montreal, seeing the Habs roar back into the game at home had to be distressing to head coach Peter Laviolette.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier
Rangers at ‘Hawks: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Corey Crawford