Tonight will be a night of firsts at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville forward Filip Forsberg will make his season debut against the Wild, and it looks as though Shea Weber will play alongside Seth Jones for the first time on the club’s top defensive pairing, according to The Tennessean.
“They could be a really good pair,” head coach Barry Trotz said of the Jones-Weber duo. “Shea does what he does, and Seth is in game three of his career, but tracking really well in terms of poise and playing.”
Though their season is only two games old, the Preds haven’t been shy about increasing Jones’ responsibilities. His ice time went up from 18:35 in a season-opening loss to St. Louis to 25:46 in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Colorado, a performance Trotz graded as “A-plus.”
Nashville didn’t start the season with Jones and Weber playing together, as both are right-handed shots. Josi had been playing with Weber and Jones with Mattias Ekholm but, with Josi now out out for an undetermined length of time, the decision was made to load up the top unit and see how things go.
In other lineup news, Forsberg is in at the expense of Nick Spaling, who will be a healthy scratch.
Forsberg, 19, missed the first two games of the year with a lower-body injury. It remains to be seen if he’ll reunite with David Legwand and Gabriel Bourque — the trio had success in the preseason, showing good chemistry, and likely would’ve opened the season together had Forsberg been healthy.
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, and that’s only counting what the Flyers are paying Gagner.
“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.
One of the NHL’s most notorious hitters has been tagged by the league.
On Monday, the Department of Player Safety announced that San Jose forward Raffi Torres has been suspended 41 games — half of the regular season — for an illegal check to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.
The length of Torres’ suspension is a combination of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ history of delivering hits to the heads of opposing players, including Jordan Eberle, Jarret Stoll, Nate Prosser and Marian Hossa.
“Torres has repeatedly violated league playing rules,” the Department of Player Safety explained. “And has been sanctioned multiple times for similar infractions.”
The league also noted that Torres has been warned, fined, or suspended on nine occasions over the course of his career, “the majority of which have involved a hit to an opponent’s head.”
“Same player every year,” Ducks forward Ryan Kesler said following the hit on Silfverberg. “I played with the guy [in Vancouver]. He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
As for what lies ahead, things could get interesting upon potential appeal:
Torres successfully appealed a suspension under the previous CBA, getting his punishment for the Hossa hit reduced from 25 to 21 games.
Under terms of the new CBA, Torres isn’t categorized as a repeat offender because his last suspension came in May of 2013 — more than two years ago.
Of course, part of the reason Torres hasn’t run afoul of the league in two years is because he’s barely played.
Knee injuries limited Torres to just 12 games in ’13-14, and he sat out last season entirely.