Dennis Wideman

Wideman on making All-Star team: “I was pretty surprised”

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Dennis Wideman thought he’d been traded when his phone rang and his general manager’s name popped up.

It wouldn’t have been a first for the Capitals’ 28-year-old defenseman, who’s already been sent packing three times during his NHL career.

Except George McPhee wasn’t calling to say sayonara; he was calling to say Wideman had been picked for the All-Star team.

“I was pretty surprised,” Wideman said, as reported by the Washington Post. “I got the call from George and think you guys all know, you’ve talked to George, he’s pretty even keeled. When he called me I was like ‘Oh man, where am I going now?’”

Forced to play big minutes in the absence of Mike Green, Wideman has piled up 29 points, the fifth most among NHL defensemen.

Meanwhile, in other Capitals news, there’s no timetable set for the return of Green (groin) or Nicklas Backstrom (concussion), and Dennis Wideman has been traded.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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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:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

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, 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 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.