Report: Canes’ Skinner won’t play this weekend

Jeff Skinner won’t play this weekend – which means the Carolina Hurricanes’ next two games – at the very least, according to the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander. It sounds like Radek Dvorak might be back in the lineup in his place.

Skinner, 21, has an upper-body injury. The only good news is that, in this case, that terminology might not be code for a concussion. (You really never know with NHL teams, but it sounds likely that it’s not a head injury.)

It’s a shame that the young playmaker can’t stay healthy, because he certainly scores when he’s in action. Skinner has nine points in 10 games this season, even as he’s often played on the third line.

After Friday and Saturday’s game, the Hurricanes play home games against Philadelphia (Tuesday), the Islanders (Thursday) and so on. They play six of their next seven contests at home; maybe Skinner can be around to help them take advantage of some of them.

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

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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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.