Pekka Rinne notches first KHL shutout

Pekka Rinne got off to a bumpy start with Dinamo Minsk,* but Nashville Predators fans should be happy to hear that he notched his first KHL shutout on Sunday.

Rinne stopped all 27 of Dinamo Riga’s shots in that 2-0 win, earning himself a belated birthday present after turning 30 on Saturday.

If recent meetings actually result in CBA progress, the Predators must hope that Rinne is indeed rounding back into elite form because he’ll face plenty of pressure whenever NHL action resumes.

Rinne faces added attention thanks to a $7 million annual cap hit that tops all goalies – and must justify that big money without Ryan Suter patrolling Nashville’s blueline.

That shutout improves Rinne’s KHL record to 7-6 and save percentage to .912 according to the league’s Web site, so it seems like he’s moving in the right direction.

* – Captured most simply in this blooper video via Puck Daddy.

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: