Sounds as though the Red Wings will play this weekend without two of their top nine forwards.
Darren Helm (back) and Mikael Samuelsson (groin) probably won’t be available for Saturday’s season-opening tilt in St. Louis, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Helm tweaked a back muscle last Thursday and hasn’t returned to the ice since. When asked if he’d be available for the Blues game, he replied “probably not.”
“I can’t bend over too well,” he said. “I have to tie my skates before I can skate around. It’s a small injury, but it bugs me quite a bit. I have to make sure I can skate before I go out there.”
Samuelsson suffered a groin strain on the opening day of camp. He described the injury as a “minor, minor thing” but, given he’s 36 and has a history of groin issues (he missed 22 games last year with a similar injury), his status is questionable.
If both players are out, it’ll force Wings head coach Mike Babcock to juggle things a bit.
Samuelsson was set to open on the second line alongside Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen, while Helm was going to center the third line between Dan Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi.
Justin Abdelkader seems like the leading candidate to replace Helm, while either Bertuzzi or Cleary is set to jump up to play wing on the second line.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…
Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.
Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.
From the league:
At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.
After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”
Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.
The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.
As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.