Toews admits he’s feeling pressure to score

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There are quite a few talented players on the “no goals in the 2013 playoffs” list, but Jonathan Toews ranks as one of the surprising ones.

The Chicago Blackhawks captain told the Chicago Sun-Times that he always feels some pressure to find the net, yet the heightened stage does escalate that anxiety a bit.

”I always do,” Toews said. ”Maybe a little added pressure given the situation. Right now I’m just not letting it build up too much in my own mind. Sometimes you start squeezing the stick and the rest of your game goes down hill. I’m not letting that happen. But I know that sooner or later something’s got to give. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a way to contribute in a big way for my team.”

The 25-year-old has fired 21 shots on goal in seven games, good for exactly three per contest. That’s basically the same amount that he sent toward goalies each night during the regular season, when he connected for 23 goals in 47 games.

So, yes, it seems like just a matter of time for Toews.

”I feel like I’ve been in situations before where I go a stretch of games without scoring and it’s tough,” Toews said. ”Anyone would start to doubt themselves a little bit. [But] there’s no time for that. There’s a lot of different ways I can help my team out. I’ve really focused on that and been patient. You just have to let it come to you to a certain degree. The more you try and force things, the rest of your game can deteriorate. Mentally, I just try to stay on my game and not let that happen.”

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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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, 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 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.