Hockey players are already known for their willingness to fight through injuries during the postseason, but that trend maxes out when it comes to a Game 7. Just look at the deciding game of the Buffalo Sabres-Philadelphia Flyers series: Chris Pronger increased his workload dramatically while Derek Roy appeared in his first contest since a December surgery.
Pain isn’t always the biggest factor when a team determines if a player should fight through an injury. Typically, the most important question is: will this injury reduce a player’s effectiveness so much that they would be better off in street clothes?
That might be the biggest question when it comes to San Jose Sharks power forward Ryan Clowe and Detroit Red Wings sniper Johan Franzen. Various sources indicate that Clowe will be a game-time decision while Red Wings coach Mike Babcock didn’t rule Franzen out of Game 7.
When healthy, both players are major contributors to their teams. That being said, I wonder if Clowe will be able to bring the same physical effort to the ice if he is indeed dealing with post-concussion syndrome. On a similar note, Franzen seemed borderline immobile during parts of this series. Each squad would risk essentially having only 19 functional skaters if they incorrectly roll with those players.
That being said, you really cannot put it past either player to contribute considering their talents and the adrenaline boost that comes from playing in a Game 7. We’ll keep you up to date about each situation, although we might not know the final verdicts until the puck drops.
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: