Clarkson Salzburg

Report: Clarkson, Enstrom leave Austrian team (Updated)

For the second consecutive day, NHL players have left their European clubs and returned to North America.

This time, it’s New Jersey forward David Clarkson and Winnipeg defenseman Tobias Enstrom, both of whom bolted Austrian club EC Red Bull Salzburg.

This development comes 24 hours after Buffalo sniper Thomas Vanek announced he’d be leaving another Austrian club, the Graz 99ers, and returning to North America.

Vanek’s contract with Graz had expired, though he noted part of his reason for not re-upping with the 99ers was the latest round of CBA talks, which he classified as “going forward a bit.”

It seems Enstrom and Clarkson were of a similar mindset, leaving Red Bull on the same day the NHL and NHLPA were set to resume collective bargaining negotiations.

This meeting is seemingly of particular interest to Clarkson, an participant in previous NHL-NHLPA sessions.

As for the departures, here’s a statement released by Salzburg via Facebook (WARNING: Rough translation ahead.)

The NHL player David Clarkson and Tobias Enstrom are departed from Salzburg. That has different personal reasons, has mainly but that do that in the NHL again movement in the talks between NHL and players has come and both of which assume that the game company soon resumes in North America.

David Clarkson is also one of the National Hockey League players’ Association (NHLPA) indicates who is involved in these discussions. The sudden departure is also for the Red Bulls very disappointing.

Enstrom inked with Red Bull on Oct. 22 — Clarkson Oct. 24 — and the pair skated in five games each before pulling the chute. Clarkson finished with 2G-1A-3PTS and 18 penalty minutes; Enstrom posted one goal and a minus-three rating.

UPDATE: Tom Gulitti spoke with David Clarkson via telephone and relays the following information via Twitter.

“He said he is still in Austria and hasn’t officially left the team yet. Clarkson said the report that he and Enstrom had a dispute with [Red Bull head coach Pierre] Page is false and he’s’ enjoyed playing for Page and Red Bull.

“Austrian Hockey League is on a break right now. Clarkson said he has a meeting with EC Red Bull tomorrow.”

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: