The New Jersey Devils have had no luck with injuries this season, and that trend continued on Tuesday as the club placed veteran defenseman Anton Volchenkov on IR with a pulled leg muscle.
Volchenkov, 31, hasn’t skated since playing just 5:05 in a 3-2 win over the Rangers last Tuesday. He’s missed the Devils’ last two games — a 2-0 loss to L.A. and a 4-1 win over Pittsburgh — and, while he was put on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 12 (eligible to come off today), he won’t travel with the Devils on their upcoming three-game trek through California for games against the Ducks, Kings and Sharks.
The burly Russian rearguard has been a fairly solid contributor for the Devils this year. He leads all d-men with a plus-2 rating and had been getting significant minutes just prior to getting hurt, including a season-high 22:41 in a 3-0 win over the Flyers on Nov. 7.
What’s more, he’s been a nice part of a Devils defense that sits seventh in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.25) this year.
New Jersey now has Volchenkov, Ryane Clowe, Bryce Salvador and Jon Merrill on IR, and only recently activated veteran forward Patrik Elias. (Merrill has technically been activated for a stint in Albany, but has yet to play.)
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…