Guy Boucher’s explains Steven Stamkos’ scoring slump on ‘some parts of the body injury’

We’ve already noted how NHL teams will grow increasingly (and comically) secretive about player injuries* but Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher produced some comedy (intentional or not) when he explained the struggles of his best scorer. When asked to justify a six game goal-less drought by Steven Stamkos, Boucher said he was injured, elaborating further that it was a “some parts of the body” injury.

* – Notice how the Phoenix Coyotes explained that Ed Jovanovski suffered a “lower body injury” after his jaw was on the receiving end of a Mike Brown shoulder check? Although perhaps he hurt his lower body on the way down? See, that’s how they get you …

Whenever I see a stat overlay that says “Player X has zero goals in x games” I always wonder if that guy happened to pile up a lot of assists in that span. My skepticism wasn’t justified in the case of Stamkos, though, as he only has one assist in that six game goal-less span.

The good news is that Stamkos downplayed the severity of his ailments, describing them as “bumps and bruises” with flu-like symptoms being the latest issue. With 31 goals to his credit with almost half the season remaining, it’s reasonable to expect an occasional lull anyway.

Even if that’s something Stamkos wouldn’t like to see very often.

Stamkos, second in the league with 31 goals, describe whatever his injury is or was as “nothing major, nothing that’s going to keep me from playing a game. Honestly, it’s the bumps and bruises I go through every year.”

He also said he has been fighting “a little bit of the flu, lately.”

As for his drought, he said, “You want to find that consistency. You don’t want to have those spurts, but the team is finding ways to win. … Sometimes it gets a little frustrating because of what you expect of yourself, but at the end of the day we’re all happy at the fact that we’re winning. To me, that’s most important.”

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.