Detroit Red Wings v Phoenix Coyotes

Red Wings give Nicklas Lidstrom the weekend off

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“Consistent greatness” is probably the phrase that best describes Nicklas Lidstrom’s obvious Hall of Fame career. Still, another quality defines his great run: remarkable health.

As Ansar Khan points out, Lidstrom has already passed his previous career high for consecutive games missed (which was just four in 2008), but it’s looking like he’ll keep adding to that mark. The Red Wings sent him back to Detroit as his frustration builds and he won’t go back to skating until Monday – at the earliest.

We’re not talking about playing, mind you, just skating. Lidstrom is dealing with a deep bone bruise in his right ankle suffered on Feb. 25.

As of this writing, the St. Louis Blues have a seven-point lead in the Central Division (and, currently, the top spot in the league) with the same amount of games remaining. Much like the Chicago Blackhawks with Jonathan Toews, the Red Wings might want to change their aim. Rather than pushing Lidstrom to return as soon as possible and fight for seeding, Detroit may be better off letting him get as close to 100 percent as the playoffs approach.

Sure, the Red Wings’ home-road disparity is stark,* but sometimes it’s just best to err on the side of safety – even if Lidstrom probably seemed like more an indestructible hockey cyborg than a human on skates during the majority of his playing days.

* They’re 28-4-2 at home and just 16-20-1 on the road.

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier
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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, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.

“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.

Video: NHL drops hammer, suspends Torres for 41 games


One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.

On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.

“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”

The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”

“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:

Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.

Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.

Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.

Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.