Monday began so brightly for the Philadelphia Flyers.
First, Wayne Simmonds was named the NHL’s first star of the week after scoring five goals in his last four games.
Then, Ilya Bryzgalov was named March’s first star after posting four shutouts and setting a franchise goalless streak record.
But it all came crashing down shortly thereafter, when the Flyers announced injuries to forward Daniel Briere and defenseman Nicklas Grossmann.
Briere will be out indefinitely with an upper back contusion, stemming from this hit by Pittsburgh’s Joe Vitale in the waning moments of Sunday’s 6-4 win:
Briere left the ice immediately and went directly to the locker room, though GM Paul Holmgren said afterward Briere was “fine”.
(For what it’s worth, Holmgren also said Bryzgalov was “fine” after he limped off the ice last Monday…it was later revealed Bryz had a chip fracture in his foot.)
As for Grossmann, he left Sunday’s game after taking a knee-on-knee hit from — who else? — Joe Vitale! Grossmann ended up playing just 3:58 (eight shifts) in the first period before the Flyers shut him down for the afternoon.
The Flyers play their final three regular-season games this week — Tuesday against the Rangers, Thursday against the Sabres and a rematch with the Penguins on Saturday in Pittsburgh.
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…
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.