While numerous NHL players are opting to play in Europe or the AHL, Brandon Dubinsky hopes to stay sharp in … Alaska.
He’ll be a member of the ECHL’s Alaska Aces during the lockout, joining forces with the likes of semi-regular NHL players such as Joey Crabb and Nate Thompson.
Dubinsky is coming off the worst full pro season of his career – his final one with the New York Rangers.
He scored 34 points after compiling a career-high 54 in a contract year, prompting a wave of trade rumors before he was sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Rick Nash trade.
Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger admitted that Columbus now seems like a team brimming with second-liners, which indicates that Dubinsky was in line for a chance to be a go-to guy.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Dubinsky was antsy to redeem himself and take on a bigger role, but that opportunity is now on hold.
The Aces’ season starts on Friday, Oct. 19 so he’ll have time to get acquainted with his new, lesser-paid teammates.
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: