Renaud P Lavoie of RDS reports that Columbus center Derick Brassard will be out of the lineup tonight when the Blue Jackets face the Montreal Canadiens. This is an interesting development for a number of reasons:
— Brassard has been a healthy scratch seven times already this season.
— Fed up with BJs head coach Scott Arniel making him a healthy scratch, Brassard’s agent, Allan Walsh, took to Twitter to air his grievances on Dec. 1:
While I have tremendous respect for Scott Howson and the rest of Columbus’ management team, the situation regarding Derick Brassard has become untenable.
This coach has a history of burying players and using them as scapegoats to mask his own lack of success on the ice. Derick has been singled out, almost from the very beginning of the season to be the fall guy in case things don’t go well.
The Columbus organization cares about Derick and has been good to him, but at some point enough is enough.
— The following night, Brassard was back in the lineup against Edmonton. He was one of Columbus’ best players in a 6-3 loss, playing 16:42 (his most in over a month) with a plus-1 rating and four shots on goal.
— Brassard is a Quebec kid. He was born and raised in Hull and played his junior hockey for Drummondville. His father, Pierre, was drafted in 1976 by the Montreal Canadiens.
— Brassard has been the subject of recent trade rumors.
Logic suggests one of three things: 1) The BJs are holding Brassard out of the lineup because a trade’s in the works. 2) Arniel is firing back at Walsh by sitting his client in what amounts to a homecoming game. 3) Arniel and Walsh are setting things up for a barn fight, the preferred method of conflict resolution for hockey people (and gypsies).
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.
Brad Stuart wasn’t on the ice for the first game of his two-year, $7.2 million contract and it had nothing to do with his health.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy felt Stuart simply wasn’t one of the six best defensemen in training camp and consequently he wasn’t in the lineup, per the Denver Post.
“Things could change for the next game,” Roy offered. “Like I said (Wednesday), we’re going to use those eight D all year long. (Last night was) just the first game of the season.”
Perhaps, but it’s still a terrible indicator, especially given that Stuart will turn 36 on Nov. 6. Stuart is a veteran of over 1,000 games, but now the question is if he has enough left in the tank to provide Colorado with much value.
The Avalanche also scratched defenseman Brandon Gormley, who was acquired from the Coyotes in exchange for Stefan Elliott. The hope was that both players would benefit from the change in scenery. Gormley was taken with the 13th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but has only played in 32 career NHL games.