Radim Vrbata

Phoenix’s Vrbata has cracked bone in foot, no timetable for return

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The Phoenix Coyotes have been without last year’s leading goalscorer, Radim Vrbata, for the last 10 games.

Now it appears they’ll be without him for even more.

On Monday, x-rays revealed Vrbata had a cracked bone in his foot — an injury the club originally thought was a bruised foot.

According to Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan, the club has no timetable for Vrbata’s return.

Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports ‘Yotes head coach Dave Tippett said the Czech forward won’t be ready until he feels comfortable.

The loss is a big one for Phoenix — Vrbata had 12 points through 15 games this year and was averaging over 17 minutes of ice time per game.

The 31-year-old scored a career-high 35 goals a year ago and has averaged 26 per season since joining the Coyotes from Tampa Bay in 2009.

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:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.