Signs of life? Flyers dominate Sens in Anderson’s return


Two games is a mere blip on the radar in an 82-game season, but the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t always the most patient types. So, with that, maybe Tuesday presents rare reasons for optimism?

The Flyers crushed the Ottawa Senators 5-0, and better yet, embattled star Claude Giroux’s top line looked great. Steve Mason continued his sneaky-strong work, too.

Giroux collected two assists, Jakub Voracek found the net twice and Scott Hartnell even had an assist in a return to form for the Flyers’ captain and his running mates (Hartnell in 2011-12 and Voracek in 2012-13, respectively). Mason stopped all 24 shots for a shutout.

On the other end, Ottawa’s four-game winning streak was snapped in Craig Anderson’s return from a neck injury. He was beaten five times on 31 shots.

Sens coach Paul MacLean insists that Anderson is the No. 1 guy, but after Robin Lehner’s strong week, you have to wonder if his grip might loosen ever so slightly.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
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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’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.

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: