There was a sick kind of symmetry to the dual head injuries suffered by Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and Tampa Bay Lightning sniper Simon Gagne. To be honest, I’ve always thought of the two as parallel stories anyway. Both Bergeron and Gagne nearly saw their careers fall apart because of concussions, yet each player seemed like light at the end of the tunnel recovery examples for sufferers around the league.
Unfortunately, each player saw their problems rear their ugly heads again during the playoffs, as Gagne was sidelined thanks to a Scott Hannan hit while Bergeron suffered a “mild concussion” thanks to a collision with Claude Giroux.
There’s at least one big difference between the two situations: the passage of time. Gagne suffered his injury about a week before Bergeron dealt with his, so maybe today’s notes shouldn’t be too surprising.
Damian Cristodero reports that Guy Boucher will go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, with Gagne in the lineup while Blair Jones will be out. (Raise your hand if you even noticed Jones in the lineup before. Hey, don’t lie.) The Lightning have been using Marc-Andre Bergeron as a seventh defenseman/forward, which kind of makes sense since the offensive blueliner isn’t exactly known for his play in his own zone anyway.
The Bruins will get big defenseman Adam McQuaid back in the lineup, but Patrice Bergeron won’t be back yet. Boston’s Bergeron did, however, participate in a “light skate” according to Joe Haggerty. The two-way center reportedly got “a little bit of a sweat going” and could be on track to return by Game 5 (barring any setbacks), according to Haggerty’s report.
Both the Bruins and Lightning experienced unusually large layoffs between their second round matches and this third round series. We’ve already seen the benefit in the form of Gagne’s expected comeback, but we’ll learn more about how the rest vs. rust quotient works out for each team on the ice tonight (on Versus at 8 p.m. ET).
It seems there will be no NHL comeback attempt by Alex Semin. At least not in 2016-17.
Instead, Semin has inked a one-year extension with Magnitogorsk Metallurg, according to Sport-Express writer Igor Eronko.
At 32 years old, Semin still could have a lot of years left in him as a professional hockey player, but at this point it wouldn’t be surprising if he has played in his last NHL game. Early in his career his talent was clear and demonstrated by some great showings offensively, but he was plagued by inconsistency. In recent years though, he wasn’t so much inconsistent as he was underwhelming.
After being limited to six goals and 19 points in 57 games with Carolina in 2014-15, the one-time 40-goal scorer was bought out of his five-year, $35 million contract just two seasons into it. Montreal took a chance on him for 2015-16, but he only appeared in 15 games with the Canadiens before they put him on unconditional waivers on Dec. 9.
He’s fared better in the KHL though, with five goals and 14 points in 20 regular season games followed by another seven markers and 15 points in 23 playoff contests.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Among the 21 NHL.com and NHL Network experts offering their prediction for the Stanley Cup Final, 17 of them are choosing the San Jose Sharks. (NHL.com)
The majority of ESPN’s experts are also picking the Sharks. (ESPN.com)
For CBS Sports, Adam Gretz and Chris Peters are split on the outcome. (CBS Sports)
Tickets for the first Stanley Cup Final in San Jose appear to be going for significantly more than their Pittsburgh Penguins counterparts. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Inspired by John Scott‘s comments, here’s the start of a World Cup All-Snubs’ team. (TSN)
Peter DeBoer said that then New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello fired him from the Devils’ head coaching job late at night on Christmas. The news then broke on Dec. 26. (Tom Gulitti)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are Vegas favorites to win the 2016 Stanley Cup, but the odds lean toward a San Jose Sharks player capturing the Conn Smythe.
Bovada released a variety of odds on Sunday after others surfaced on Friday.
Joe Pavelski is pegged as a +400 favorite as a winner, edging some other top candidates such as Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Matt Murray.
Here’s the full list:
Logan Couture +500
Martin Jones +600
Brent Burns +700
Joe Thornton +900
Evgeni Malkin +900
Kris Letang +1400
Bovada also released prop bets, including how long the series might last. Check that out here.