The Lightning were already dealing with some nasty injuries to their lineup. Mattias Ohlund, Vincent Lecavalier, and Victor Hedman are all banged up. Making matters worse, a wicked stomach flu bug is running rampant through the locker room.
Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune shares the gory details of health turned upside down.
Nate Thompson and Brendan Mikkelson missed the morning skate with a stomach virus and were scratched against the Canadiens. Tim Wallace, who made his Tampa Bay debut Saturday in Pittsburgh, also was sidelined as the coaching staff scrambled to find 18 healthy skaters.
Erlendsson also says Teddy Purcell was hit by the flu but played through it and even assisted on Steve Stamkos’ 44th goal of the season. Hopefully he didn’t put a little extra sauce on that pass.
Things are so out of control that the Lightning had to cancel a media event thanks to the outbreak. You have to think that puking your guts out doesn’t make for much of a photo op. Illness always goes through a locker room like crazy but seeing three guys knocked out of action is impressive for all the wrong reasons.
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.