The story heading into Saturday’s Kings-Flyers game in Philadelphia was ex-Flyer Mike Richards returning to his old stomping ground.
The story two days later? How costly the game was for L.A.
Dan Arritt of ESPN Los Angeles is reporting that Dustin Penner, who threw down with Philly’s Zac Rinaldo in response to a hit on Drew Doughty, left the ice during practice on Monday because of a knee injury sustained in the fight.
So, the domino effect:
— Just 1:34 in, Rinaldo knocks Doughty out of the game.
— Penner fights Rinaldo, hurts knee, gets 17 minutes in penalties, Philly scores on ensuing PP.
— Doughty gets put on IR the next day (Sunday).
— Penner leaves practice on Monday to get knee examined.
Here’s the hit that caused all the ruckus, in case you missed it:
In the span of 48 hours, the Kings lost their $56 million blueliner and might’ve lost one of their biggest forwards. At the moment reports suggest it’s just a knee contusion and nothing more, but knowing Penner…let’s just say it’s worth monitoring. He fell completely out of Murray’s favor last season and missed this year’s season opener with a lower body injury. It’s not like Penner has solidified himself in L.A.’s top-six, either — so you’ve really got to wonder how this will play out, especially with Penner in a contract year.
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:
Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?
While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.
Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.
That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”
The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.
Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.
It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.