2011 NHL Entry Draft - Portraits

Edmonton’s Nugent-Hopkins is excited for six-game road trip

The Edmonton Oilers are heading out on a six-game road trip today and boy is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins excited he’s not riding the buses in junior anymore.

“The bus in Red Deer was a nice-looking bus, but it’s sometimes eight hours on the road and you have to play the next day,” Nugent-Hopkins told the Edmonton Journal.

The 18-year-old rookie is also pretty pumped with his daily expense allowance.

“I got $80 every two weeks when I played in (WHL) Red Deer,” he said. “I think per diem in the NHL is $98 a day. I don’t think I’ve touched much of that yet.”

How adorable.

Nugents-Hopkins will get sick of NHL road trips soon enough. Actually the novelty might have worn off completely in exactly 12 days, after the Oilers visit Los Angeles, Phoenix, Montreal, Boston, Detroit and Chicago.

Edmonton is 7-2-2 and a huge early surprise, but eight of its first 11 have been played at Rexall Arena.

“I honestly don’t know if I thought we’d have these results (in October), but I did know we’d have the effort, that there was some continuity from last season,” said coach Tom Renney. “There’s all sorts of ebbs and flows in a season, though, and there will be on this road trip. I’m sure of that.”

PS — Nugent-Hopkins is going to try and grow a mustache for “Movember”.

PPS — Be funny if he grows a really good one.

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 CSNNE.com’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: