Marc Staal

Rangers confirm Staal suffered concussion


On Tuesday, New York announced that defenseman Marc Staal has been diagnosed with a concussion stemming from a hit on Saturday from Devils forward Reid Boucher.

“[Staal has been] diagnosed with a concussion,” head coach Alain Vigneault explained. “Doctors feel it isn’t as serious as in the past.”

Staal, 26, has a long history with concussion and head injuries. He missed 36 games during the 2011-12 campaign with a concussion following a hit from his brother, Eric, and missed 27 games during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign after taking a puck to the eye against Philadelphia.

As a result, Staal has played sparingly over the last two years and had some difficulty reclaiming the form that saw him score 29 points in 77 games during the 2010-11 campaign, averaging over 25 minutes per.

He currently has just two goals and one assist through 30 games this year, and is averaging under 20 minutes TOI — one of the lowest totals of his career.

The Rangers originally said Staal was being treated for a stiff neck following the Devils game — he missed Sunday’s loss to Washington — so it’ll be interesting to see how his recovery will be handled. The Rangers are in the midst of a record-long nine-game homestand and Vigneault has been critical of his team’s defense this season, Staal included.

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.