Maxime Talbot, Brian Gionta,

Talbot, Gervais “extremely proud” after wrapping up Quebec caravan league


On Monday, Philadelphia Flyers teammates Max Talbot and Bruno Gervais conceded that all good things must come to an end.

In this case, they were talking about La Tournee des Joueurs.

“We want to maintain the quality of the product on the ice and the events around it so that it would be a great experience for the fans,” Talbot told the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey of his barnstorming circuit, which played in nine different Quebec cities. “We have a small group of volunteers who followed us around who have real jobs, and it was getting hard for them and it was getting hard to maintain the number of players we needed so that we have a good game.”

“We didn’t want to make a promise to go somewhere and not have enough players to have a good show. We didn’t want to have a soft game.”

And with that, the league was done.

Gervais said he was “extremely proud” of what he and Talbot accomplished with La Tournee. The games featured a number of high-profile players — Jason Pominville, Simon Gagne, Brian Gionta, Andrei Markov, Alex Burrows, Corey Crawford — and raised more than $400,000 for a variety of charities.

Gervais and Talbot are currently skating in Montreal with other Tournee participants as CBA talks continue. Both said they’re encouraged by the latest developments, which includes Tuesday’s NHL-NHLPA meeting in New York.

“There’s a deal to be done, but it has to be fair for both sides,” Gervais said. “We don’t want to sign a deal and then find ourselves in the same situation down the line — it doesn’t make sense.

“[But] at least we’re starting to talk the same language.”

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: