Sidney Crosby, Kimmo Timonen

NHL confirms 48-game schedule, start date still up in the air


The question of whether the new NHL season will be 48 or 50 games has an answer.

It’ll be 48.

CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reports the league sent out a memo to teams saying there will be a 48-game regular season set to begin on January 19. There is some debate on that second point, however.’s Pierre LeBrun says if the new CBA is ratified quickly, a start date of January 15 isn’t out of the question. (He notes the aforementioned league memo says Jan. 19 is “most probable.”)

It’s really a matter of how soon teams and players want to get back to putting fans in the seats and making money, while also making sure the paperwork reflects what they agreed to.

When it comes to training camps opening up, Friedman reports that won’t happen until Saturday, January 12 — at the earliest. Once the new deal is ratified, players will be allowed access to team facilities again.

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: