Tuukka Rask

Report: Rask, Bruins hope to agree to long-term deal before July 1


Tim Thomas might have made his last start and it looks like the Boston Bruins are getting ready for the Tuukka Rask era. According to the Boston Globe, the Bruins and Rask are interested in getting a long-term deal inked before July 1.

If the two sides aren’t able to meet that deadline, then Rask will become a restricted free agent. On July 5, he’ll be able to file for salary arbitration and the Boston Bruins will have the same option available to them the following day.

Ultimately, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Rask doesn’t end up signing with Boston. The question at this point is if the two sides will be able to agree to a long-term extension or if they’ll have to settle for a one or two-year deal.

Rask’s old contract came with a $1.25 million cap hit and the Boston Globe expects him to cost at least $2.5 million annually in his new deal. Personally, I think it could end up being significantly higher than that if he agrees to a contract in excess of four years.

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 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.

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: