It’s almost as if the KHL traded away walking fat joke Kyle Wellwood for middling forward Petr Prucha, even if it’s a coincidence. Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov reports that the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg signed Prucha after he was waived by the Phoenix Coyotes while the St. Louis Blues are hoping Wellwood will clear waivers this afternoon so he can join the team.
SKA St. Petersburg seems like a clearing house for former NHL talent. Their current roster includes Maxim Afinogenov, Evgeny Artyukhin, Sergei Brylin, Petr Cajanek, Denis Grebeshkov, Vitaly Vishnevski, Alexei Yashin and Sergei Zubov. The team also previously employed Evgeni Nabokov. (They also have a guy named Denis Denisov on their team, which is pretty funny.)
Neither Prucha nor Wellwood are impact players, but both guys have their fair share of fans. Prucha only managed one assist in 11 games so far this season while Wellwood was averaging a little under nine minutes per game with eight points in 25 games for Atlant in the KHL.
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: