Marcus Johansson, Alexander Semin, Mike Knuble

The Washington Capitals had a dog day afternoon


One of the best blogs in the business not called ProHockeyTalk is the Washington Post’s Capitals Insider, authored by Katie Carrera and Tarik El-Bashir. They bring you anything and everything from the world of the Washington Capitals — and today was no exception.

Several Caps players brought their dogs to practice for a photo shoot with the Washington Animal Rescue League, and Caps Insider was all over it. Reports indicate Mike Green, Dennis Wideman and Nicklas Backstrom were just a few of the players that took part — Jeff Halpern took his puppy onto the ice, Michael Neuvirth walked his dog, Tractor, through the dressing room while Bruce Boudreau swatted Alex Semin with a rolled-up newspaper. (*Jokes*)

In non-canine related activity, Green missed his second straight practice today with a bum ankle. He injured the ankle during the first period of Saturday’s win over Detroit, but will travel to Vancouver and Edmonton with the team for their Western road swing.

And since we already mentioned Neuvirth (and his good buddy Tractor, a Shar-Pei) — Boudreau dropped a few hints that suggest he might get the start Thursday against the Oilers at Rexall Place. Neuvirth hasn’t played since the season opener, party due to a bruised foot and partly due to the fact Tomas Vokoun has been on fire.

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: