On Monday, Ilya Bryzgalov practiced with his new AHL Oklahoma teammates in preparation for his first game — Tuesday’s 10:35 a.m. local time (yes, you read that right) puck drop against the San Antonio Rampage.
The plan, it seems, is to give Bryzgalov a series of games in quick succession to get him up to NHL speed, then join the Oilers. The Barons play tomorrow morning (again, that’s right) before hosting Abbotsford in a pair of exhibition games this weekend.
“It’s a good opportunity for me to play a few games, get some good practice with good players to get some shots and get myself in good shape,” Bryzgalov said, noting that he has some experience with morning affairs. “I played for years in the minors with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks and they had those kinds of games.”
Assuming Bryzgalov can cram in a week’s worth of practices and three games by Sunday, it’s possible the Oilers could recall him in time for next Tuesday’s game, a home date against Columbus — where he’d have a chance to go up against former Flyers goaltending mate and reigning Vezina winner, Sergei Bobrovsky.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier
Rangers at ‘Hawks: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Corey Crawford