Brandon Saad is sticking in the middle for the Chicago Blackhawks – for now, at least.
Saad, 20, has been moved to center from the left wing during training camp, although the positional change has come with a difficult learning curve. And that mostly includes in the faceoff circle.
“Faceoffs are going to be something I’m going to need to work at, for sure,” Saad told ESPN Chicago.
“But that is something you can work on to improve. Just not getting ahead of the play, coming to get the puck and supporting the wingers, it’s something new and something I’ll have to adjust to.
“With the wing, you’re usually more ahead of the play. You kind of have to slow yourself down and think a little bit more just because it’s a new experience for me. Like I said, it’s getting better each day.”
The move comes as he enters just his second NHL season. He scored 10 goals and 27 points during the regular season, playing on the wing.
He’s now being fitted as the team’s second-line center with the loss of Dave Bolland to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
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:
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.