Ken Holland

Wings GM Holland has “16 forwards fighting for 14 jobs”


There are questions surrounding Detroit’s defensive depth after the departures of both Brad Stuart and Nicklas Lidstrom this summer.

Up front, it’s a different story.

That’s what Wings GM Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press on Monday, suggesting that his squad will have 16 players battling for the 14 forward spots on the active roster.

The 16 are (projected): Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Mikael Samuelsson, Dan Cleary, Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi, Jordin Tootoo, Damien Brunner, Patrick Eaves, Gustav Nyquist, Drew Miller, Jan Mursak, Cory Emmerton and Justin Abdelkader.

All are under contact except for Abdelkader, who Holland continues speaking with on a weekly basis. The Free Press reports Holland’s “closing in on a contract” with the 25-year-old RFA, likely to be in the $1.5 million cap hit range.

There are a number of compelling battles brewing. Eaves missed most of last season with a concussion, but says he’s feeling better and expects to be ready for training camp.

Mike Babcock said Brunner — the reigning Swiss league scoring champ — will “be a top-six forward to start” and Nyquist will push hard for a spot after debuting strongly for the Wings in 2011-12 (seven points in 18 games.)

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: