According to Rich Chere of the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Florida Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen’s confirmed Jose Theodore will start in goal for tonight’s Game 7 against the Devils and that defenseman Jason Garrison will return to the lineup as well.
Going back to Theodore means the Panthers will have alternated starters in each of their last five playoff games. Theodore started Game 3, Clemmensen Game 4, Theodore Game 5, Clemmensen Game 6…and now Theodore for Game 7.
It’s one of the most bizarre playoff goaltending situations in recent memory, especially for a team on the verge of advancing to the second round.
As for Garrison, getting him back after a three-game absence will be huge. One, he’ll help out Florida’s struggling power play, which has gone 1-for-13 over the last three games. Two, he’ll lighten the load on a defense that was thin to begin with prior to his and Keaton Ellerby’s injuries.
In Game 6, Florida once again used a heavy five-man defensive rotation with Brian Campbell (27:10), Mike Weaver (25:24), Dmitry Kulikov (23:40), Erik Gudbranson (20:37), Ed Jovanovski (20:14) all playing a ton to compensate for AHL San Antonio call-up Tyson Strachan (13:34).
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: