Michael Frolik made it look easy and made no mistake.
Awarded a penalty shot in the third period of Monday’s Game 6 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, Frolik beat goalie Jimmy Howard over the glove and top corner with a nifty forehand-backhand move.
The goal gave the Blackhawks a 4-2 lead. This, after they entered the third period down 2-1, and needing a win to extend the series to seven games. The Blackhawks put up three goals in the third period, with Frolik’s counting as the winner in a 4-3 victory.
The Blackhawks, Presidents’ Trophy winners, and the Red Wings will now play in a Game 7, with the winner facing the team that emerges victorious in the L.A. Kings-San Jose Sharks series. According to the Blackhawks’ Twitter account, Frolik becomes the first NHL player to score two playoff penalty shot goals.
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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 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: