Tomas Hertl has gotten off to a tremendous start, but the 19-year-old rookie has already faced some injury scares.
He absorbed a hit to the head from Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler on Thursday and collided into Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur during last night’s contest.
There were fears that Hertl’s head might have again been hit as a result of the play and he left the game as a result. However, Sharks coach Todd McLellan downplayed the injury following the contest and said that Hertl’s shoulder was the greater area of concern than his head.
All the same, Hertl missed Sunday’s practice for maintenance purposes, according to NHL.com. Brent Burns skipped the team’s practice for the same reason.
McLellan previously warned that Hertl might stay off the ice today and there’s still time for him to recover before Tuesday’s contest against the St. Louis Blues.
Meanwhile forward Adam Burish has suffered a setback in his attempt to return from a lower-body injury and also missed Sunday’s practice.
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: