Dale Weise, Nathan Horton

Consider for a moment Dale Weise


Shea Weber and his $13 million signing bonus can afford to miss a season.

Mike Knuble may not play another game once the lockout ends, but the 40-year-old has already made millions in the NHL.

But what about Dale Weise?

I only mention Weise because I’m in Vancouver, but he’s not the only player who may have his NHL career cut prematurely short if the 2012-13 season is canceled due to the lockout.

Weise, if you’ve never heard of him (he’s perhaps best known as the guy who wouldn’t fight Shawn Thornton), is a 24-year-old fourth-liner for the Canucks who was drafted 111th overall in 2008 by the Rangers.

Last October, New York waived him, thus clearing his path to Vancouver where he’d score four goals and four assists in 68 games, with 81 PIM.

In July, Weise inked his first ever one-way contract (one year, $615,000). Up to then, he’d earned considerably less than a million bucks playing hockey.

Not that the Canucks were rushing to lock him up. First they put him through the arbitration ringer, often used as a message-sender from clubs to players. (It’s believed the Canucks were less than impressed with Weise’s willingness to embrace the guardian role on a team without a traditional enforcer.)

But the point of this isn’t to debate the merits of Dale Weise. Maybe he comes back and plays 1,000 games in the NHL. All I’m saying is, if I were him, I’d be worried. Real worried. Because beyond the 2012-13 season, there are no guarantees. And while $615,000 isn’t a ton of money in pro sports, it’s a ton of money for most people. And Weise isn’t far from being “most people.”

Weise is currently lighting it up in the Dutch League, as one would expect any NHLer – even a marginal one – to do.

Meanwhile, feisty forward Steve Pinizzotto has been turning heads for Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Chicago while playing the same role Weise was signed to play with the Canucks.

“The level of [the AHL] right now is pretty high and the fact that so many guys aren’t playing hockey,” said Pinizzotto in November, “and it’s a huge advantage to be playing.”

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 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.

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: