Francis Bouillon

Predators defenseman Francois Bouillon suffers setback in concussion recovery

While concussions aren’t being talked about so much with the season being over and the new one not quite upon us yet, some players are still doing their part to bounce back from injury last year. One of those players is Predators defenseman Francis Bouillon. Bouillon suffered a concussion back in January against the Blackhawks thanks to a wicked hit from Troy Brouwer and missed the rest of the season with the ailment.

Bouillon has spent the better part of his summer working out to get back in shape and try to return to the Preds lineup in time for the start of this season. Those efforts may be delayed now as Bouillon says he’s suffered a setback in his recovery from the injury.

Bouillon told Richard Labbe of Cyberpresse in Quebec about how he’s had to slow down his recovery efforts (translated link) thanks to having headaches once again. Bouillon’s (poorly) translated quote from the site tells us that with it being so long since he was hurt, he’s concerned for not just next season but for his career as well.

“That’s the trouble with concussions, it’s more complicated than a knee injury, we never know when you will return. It’s been six months since I did not play. This is worrying, and I’m getting impatient. I do not want to talk about retirement, but of course I still think a little. At least the leaders of the Predators do not put me in pressure. They fully understand my situation. “

The Predators are good for not stressing that Bouillon hurry back from such a potentially debilitating injury. One thing the Predators do have on their team is depth along the blue line. With the likes of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter leading the way and having guys like Jonathon Blum, Kevin Klein, as well as a potential future star in Ryan Ellis they’ve got guys to fill out the roster. Not having Bouillon’s veteran leadership and physical play, however, will be tough to replace.

Bouillon joins a list of other players looking to get back next season, or at all, from concussions. Most famously there’s Sidney Crosby who continues to get himself back into form in Pittsburgh. Boston’s Marc Savard continues to lay low after suffering another concussion back in February and his future is very much in doubt. David Perron in St. Louis is still trying to fight his way back to the ice after a blindside hit from Joe Thornton ended his season.

Concussions may not be getting much press during the offseason, but their effects are certainly being felt with numerous teams today and Bouillon’s setback is a reminder of how hard and perilous it can be.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen