Versus will air games from the 2011 Men’s IIHF World Championships

As it turns out, the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs aren’t the only major hockey event that Versus will cover. The network will air at least 11 games from the 75th Annual Men’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships, beginning on Saturday, April 30, at 10 a.m. ET. This marks the first time Versus will provide coverage of the event.

The network reports that it will televise a substantial amount of games from the tournament, “including four preliminary- round games, at least three qualification-round games and at least one quarterfinal game.” Versus says that it will air every game by the U.S. team if it advances beyond the first round, but even if it doesn’t make it to the semifinals, the network will still air those two games (on May 13) as well as the gold medal game (May 15).

There will also be studio updates before, during and after the games. Bill Pidto and Matt Loughli will rotate as hosts alongside New Jersey Devils/American hockey star Zach Parise.

Here’s a look at how the preliminary round and its 16-team pool will look, along with an outline of how the first four games of coverage might look on Versus.

There are a total of 16 teams participating in the round-robin tournament which are placed in four groups to play in the preliminary round. The top three teams in each group will advance to the qualification round, while the last team in each group competes in the relegation round, where the top two teams will automatically qualify for the next year’s World Championships. Preliminary round groups:

Group A (Bratislava): Russia, Slovakia, Germany, Slovenia

Group B (Košice): Canada, Switzerland, Belarus, France

Group C (Košice): Sweden, United States, Norway, Austria

Group D (Bratislava): Finland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Denmark

VERSUS’ preliminary round coverage of the 2011 World Championships is as follows (all times ET, subject to change):

Saturday, April 30 — USA-Austria (Live) — 10 a.m.

Monday, May 2 — USA-Norway (Live) — 10 a.m.

Tuesday, May 3 — Canada-Switzerland — TBD

Wednesday, May 4 — USA-Sweden — TBD

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
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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.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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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: