Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane feeling optimistic about returning from surgery on time

Patrick Kane’s surgically repaired left wrist might be the one compelling thing left for Blackhawks fans this summer. After getting his wrist operated on earlier this summer, time is ticking away until he’s due to be back in action and ready to go. With training camp starting up soon, all eyes are on Kane to see when he’ll be joining the rest of the team back on the ice for full activities.

Right now, Kane is busy doing a lot of the little things, but he tells’s Tracey Myers that he’s not fully ready to start doing everything a highly skilled scorer can do when handling the stick and the puck. He’s still got a splint on his hand but that will go away soon… Just not yet.

“Right now when I’m on the ice, I’m taking backhands here or there, but I’m not pushing it too much,” he said. “I haven’t tried (shooting). They told me not to shoot pucks, just stick handling. I’m sure once this is off I can shoot.”

Kane said he’s currently taking the splint off five times a day to exercise the wrist. It’s getting limber again as he keeps trying to get the range of motion back. If he can play four preseason games like he did last September, great. That’s his goal.

“It’s three weeks (from the start of camp) until home opener. That should be enough time to get back into shape with the left arm and shooting pucks,” he said. “I definitely want to use training camp to my advantage.”

Three weeks time for a guy that’s a well-oiled machine of a player should be enough time for him to be ready to go at 100% for the season opener. Getting some action in during preseason will help that all along, but only that real game action will show just how ready his wrist is. Shooting pucks and stickhandling in practice will only show off so much and going up against opposing defenders will show how much rust, if any, he’s got in his game.

With how the Blackhawks are built for this year, Kane’s offensive production will be necessary all year long. While the team is a lot tougher now, losing any big scorer like Kane for an extended amount of time will force Chicago to tighten their game up more to keep opponents off the board and help keep goalie Corey Crawford sane. Kane taking care of his business should allow Chicago to not have to worry about that just yet.

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: