When you allow eight goals to a team that seems primed for the draft lottery, it’s reasonable to be concerned.
Lax defensive performances aren’t a rare thing for the Chicago Blackhawks, however, as they’re allowing 2.9 goals per game (ranking them 25th in the NHL). That’s not exactly a comforting stat for a team still within a stone’s throw of the top seed in the West, so it should come as no surprise that GM Stan Bowman told ESPN Chicago that he’s still looking for help on the blueline.
“Our top four defensemen have played very well, but you do concern yourself with overloading them too much,” Bowman said. “So if you’ve got guys in the third pair that can eat up some more of those minutes it would be an ideal situation.”
Bowman admits that depth seems to be on the top of his shopping list – perhaps because goaltending help might be too expensive or hard to come by – but he also explains that there aren’t a lot of sellers on the trade market right now.
In other words, for the time being, Chicago will probably aim to simply outscore its opponents.
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.