Jeff Woywitka

Montreal adds depth, signs Jeff Woywitka to one-year, two-way deal

Montreal needed a little bit more insurance on their blue line for the upcoming season. With their top six or seven already secure and two of those players coming off of surgery, the Canadiens locked up former Stars and Blues defenseman Jeff Woywitka to a one-year, two-way contract.

Last season when the Habs ran into injury problems on the blue line, they had to dig deep into their farm system to help fill holes. This season, both Andrei Markov and Jeff Gorges are coming off of injuries that ended their seasons so making sure to have some NHL-quality insurance backing them up is a smart move.

Woywitka had two goals and nine assists in 63 games for Dallas last season and while he’s not an optimal choice to be a top six defenseman, if you need a guy in a pinch because of injury he’s a good short-term gap-filler. With Montreal having Markov, Gorges, P.K. Subban, and Hal Gill set as their top four with Jaroslav Spacek as their likely fifth guy and a battle between youngsters Yannick Weber and Alexei Yemelin for the sixth spot, expect Woywitka to start the year in the AHL with Hamilton.

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’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: