This isn’t much of a news flash, but from here on out for the New Jersey Devils it’s going to be Martin Brodeur’s job to try and lead them to a Stanley Cup.
Devils coach Peter DeBoer, however, has the job of trying to make sure his backup goalie Johan Hedberg can get a game or two in and stay sharp. Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger hears it from DeBoer about how he’s going to figure out his goalie rotation down the stretch, something he hasn’t decided on how to do just yet.
“You want to be playing well systematically,” DeBoer said of the team. “You want your team to play tight, so to speak, all over the ice. And then the second part is to make sure that you’re fresh and healthy. You juggle those things.
“You want to be winning games, obviously, too. But for me it’s more that our team game is tight and we’re healthy and fresh.”
The Devils have six games left including tonight’s tilt with the Penguins (which Brodeur will start) and finding time to get Hedberg in there and give Brodeur a little bit of rest before the playoffs is important. Brodeur isn’t the young workhorse he used to be and the Devils’ success hinges upon how fresh he is for the rigorous playoff run.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
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: