Team Canada reportedly won’t have Morgan Rielly to count on to try and win gold at the World Junior Championships.
Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun reports the Toronto Maple Leafs will not release the 19-year-old to play in the annual tournament.
“I’d say he’s a big part of this group right here, right now and we don’t see that changing at this point,” Leafs vice-president of hockey operations Dave Poulin said on Friday. “That’s the way we’re looking at it.”
Poulin didn’t flatly deny Rielly would be held out of the tournament, so there’s still the possibility he’d be allowed to go. If he does play for Team Canada, he would likely be a candidate to be team captain.
Rielly has played in 20 games for the Leafs this season and has no goals and eight assists. He’s been an on-again, off-again scratch in their lineup of late, most recently swapping places with Jake Gardiner.
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: