Ever since Travis Zajac returned from an offseason torn Achilles tendon, things have gone slowly for him. Zajac played in just eight games before being shelved again with Achilles issues and hasn’t gotten a sniff at returning to action since being shutdown on January 10.
Now Devils GM Lou Lamoriello tells Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice that Zajac will be reevaluated by his doctor in Winnipeg next week. Gulitti reports that the plan all along for Zajac was to be cleared by his doctor first before getting back to exercising.
Should Zajac be cleared and gets to start working out again, the Devils will be hopeful for his return as they’ve been going without him and Adam Henrique (groin) of late and have had go with Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus as their top two centers. While the Devils have done well of late, getting their No. 1 center back for a run at the playoffs would be understandably huge.
If Zajac is still having troubles, however, Lamoriello may have to sniff around for an affordable playmaking center at the deadline.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…