Brent Seabrook is out for tonight’s Game 4 against Vancouver; Torres fallout?

When Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook was blindsided by Vancouver forward Raffi Torres we were sure that Seabrook would be toast for the game after that kind of blow to the head. Instead, Seabrook popped right back up and played the rest of the game even after game officials double-checked on him to make sure he was set to play.

Today, it turns out that Seabrook isn’t feeling too hot and he’ll be out of the lineup tonight for Game 4 against Vancouver. While Torres wasn’t suspended for his hit and will likely play again tonight, we’re sure that if Torres runs across Seabrook’s potential replacement on the blue line, John Scott, the exchange of pleasantries won’t be so cordial.

CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers tells us that it wasn’t Seabrook’s head that was giving him problems so much as it was everything else following the hit.

Addressing the media yesterday, Seabrook said “the rest of his body” was feeling the effects of that hit more than his head. But apparently the defenseman’s health took a turn overnight. Asked if Seabrook was more sore today, coach Joel Quenneville said “we don’t disclose everything but sore could mean a lot of things.”

Read into that what you will but given the head shots Seabrook took from Torres as well as from Justin Abdelkader in the final game of the season, it’s no wonder that Seabrook is sitting this one out.

On the upside for Chicago, they’ll officially get Dave Bolland back in the lineup after missing the last few weeks with a concussion of his own. It was speculated yesterday that he would be back in and Joel Quenneville confirmed it today.

Of course, the elephant in the room here is what, if anything, will happen with Torres back out on the ice. It’s the playoffs of course so that means the chances of shenanigans breaking loose are reduced, but with Chicago a loss away from being eliminated from the playoffs should Vancouver build a big lead the officials are going to have to be vigilant to make sure nothing ugly breaks out. After all, a desperate team that feels wronged is dangerous. Here’s to hoping the series doesn’t turn ugly in what’s potentially its final game.

Into the fire: Halak, recalled yesterday, starts for Isles in Pittsburgh

Getty
Leave a comment

A little scene setting for you.

New York heads into tonight’s massive game in Pittsburgh sitting two points back of Boston for the final wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Isles have two games in hand on the B’s — who are idle tonight — so a win could move them into a playoff spot.

As such, the Isles will start a goalie that hasn’t played in the NHL in 85 days.

Against the league’s highest-scoring offense.

The goalie in question is Jaroslav Halak, who’s spent the last three months playing for the Isles’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Recalled yesterday, Halak will now face big league competition for the first time since Dec. 29, when he allowed four goals on 24 shots in a loss to Minnesota.

(Afterward, then-head coach Jack Capuano ripped Halak, saying he gave up “some soft goals to start” and “wasn’t sharp at all.”)

But Halak’s been really good in Bridgeport.

He’s posted a 17-7-1 record with a 2.15 GAA and .925 save percentage, and a pair of shutouts. And given how spotty Berube’s play has been as Greiss’ backup, the Isles really had no other choice than to recall Halak.

The club is in the midst of a compacted part of the schedule. Greiss was excellent in Wednesday’s win over the Rangers — stopping 34 of 36 shots in a 3-2 victory — but he was also busy.

The Isles are in Pittsburgh tonight, then host the Bruins on Saturday — another massive game — then host the Preds on Monday. It’s a compact part of the schedule, and Berube’s struggles have rendered him virtually unplayable, given how meaningful the games are (and, to borrow a timeless cliche, how vital points are at this time of the year.)

So it’s Halak tonight, and possibly more down the stretch.

For Tuukka Rask and the Bruins, a ‘bad goal’ at the worst possible time

Getty
Leave a comment

The growing ranks of Tuukka Rask detractors gained some serious ammunition during last night’s loss to Tampa Bay.

The deciding goal in the 6-3 defeat was a “bad one,” according to Rask and most anyone else who was watching.

It may have been a hard shot by Jonathan Drouin, unleashed at the top of the circle, but it still should’ve been stopped.

After the game, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters that Rask “needed to be better tonight.”

In fact, Rask hasn’t been very good the past few months. Since Jan. 1, his save percentage is just .888. But with nobody trustworthy behind him, he’s had to just play through his struggles.

It’s impossible to say if Rask’s numbers would be better if the Bruins had a more capable backup. He’d be more rested, though. And when he was struggling, the coach would at least have another option to consider. With an .897 save percentage on the season, Anton Khudobin simply hasn’t been reliable enough to garner that consideration.

Don’t expect Rask to get the next game off. Saturday in Brooklyn, the Bruins — losers of four straight in regulation, and suddenly on the verge of falling out of the playoff picture — face the Islanders in arguably the biggest game of both teams’ seasons.

Bolts recall Koekkoek, putting Garrison’s status into doubt

Getty
Leave a comment

The Tampa Bay Lightning, after earning a big win last night in Boston, may not have defenseman Jason Garrison tonight in Detroit.

The Bolts recalled d-man Slater Koekkoek from AHL Syracuse this morning — a move that would seem to put Garrison’s status into doubt against the Red Wings.

Garrison was forced to leave the Bruins game in the second period with a lower-body injury.

Koekkoek has played 29 games for the Lightning this season, recording no goals and four assists.

Melnyk blasts ‘whiner’ Crosby, who won’t face hearing for Methot slash

25 Comments

Sidney Crosby won’t face a disciplinary hearing for his slash on Ottawa d-man Marc Methot, an NHL spokesman confirmed — news that won’t be welcomed by Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

The incident occurred during Ottawa’s 2-1 win on Thursday night, and forced Methot from the game with a bloodied, lacerated finger. The club later announced that Methot would be “out for weeks” with the injury.

Crosby’s slash came two nights after he speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt. It should be noted that neither the O’Reilly spear or Methot slash resulted in penalty calls, and neither was subjected to supplementary discipline.

One individual that’s guaranteed to be upset with today’s news is Melynk. He appeared on TSN 1200 radio this morning and seemed to suggest the league was looking into the Crosby-Methot incident.

He also had a few choice words for No. 87: