Nick Bjugstad

Florida first-rounder Bjugstad headed back to school


According to a release from the University of Minnesota, Florida Panthers prospect Nick Bjugstad will be playing for the Golden Gophers in 2012-13.

The 6-foot-5, 211-pound center — taken 19th overall at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft — will return to Minnesota for his junior season, essentially eliminating the likelihood of playing for the Panthers this season

(Though, as we saw with Rangers forward Chris Kreider last season, a late season call-up isn’t out of the question.)

Bjugstad is one of the most tantalizing prospects in college hockey. Last year, as a sophomore, he was a Second Team All-American after scoring 42 points in 40 games and finishing fifth in the nation in goals (25).

Given his size and offensive skill set, the 19-year-old was thought to have a decent shot of playing in the NHL this season. Fellow 2010 selection Erik Gudbranson made his Panthers debut last season (playing 72 games) and Florida’s other first-rounder from that draft, Quinton Howden, is expected to challenge for a roster spot this year.

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: