On Monday night, the New Jersey Devils openly worried about Johan Hedberg’s confidence. It turns out their concerns were justified.
The 39-year-old has been pretty brutal at times during Martin Brodeur’s injured stretch, but Tuesday might be the worst night yet. He was pulled about 33 minutes into tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning after allowing three goals on just 11 shots.
Before this poorly timed six-game slump, Hedberg has been a suitable backup for Brodeur, sometimes even putting up better numbers. He started 2013 hot with just two goals allowed in his first three games, but now he’s 0-4-1 (possibly 0-5-1 if New Jersey doesn’t come back) in his last six contests.
With Brodeur, 40, needing a little more time to heal, 23-year-old goalie Keith Kincaid is seeing his first bit of NHL action tonight.
All he has to do is face the high-flying (and probably angry) Tampa Bay Lightning offense out of the blue. No pressure, kid.
Update: The Devils ended up losing 5-2. The Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti reports that Brodeur isn’t ready to return, so the plan is to give Hedberg a chance to redeem himself on Thursday.
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.
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: