Jonathan Quick, Zach Parise

Kings and Devils both want to be better in Game 2

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals had an exciting finish, but most regarded it as a slow, sloppy, feeling-out process kind of game. The talk out of both locker rooms this morning centered around doing things a lot better.’s Joe Haggerty heard it from Ilya Kovalchuk about how the Devils, and himself personally, just have to do better all-around if they’re going to win Game 2.

“I don’t think any of us can say that we played a good game,” said Kovalchuk, who managed just one shot in an invisible performance in his first Stanley Cup Final game. “Me personally, I can be much better and I know it. I need to go out and prove it, and show that tonight.”

Kovalchuk going missing in action in Game 1 was a contributing factor as to why the Devils lost, but Kings captain Dustin Brown says his team’s effort needs to be better as well.

“We’ve been successful in Game 1 in each of the playoffs and we’ve come back even hungrier in Game 2 in each of those series. The game will be a much cleaner game in terms of competing better. The ice will be better and people will execute plays better.”

With how both teams are talking, we could be in store for an instant classic match-up tonight.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
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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’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.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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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: