Canada's Zachhary Fucale looks back at the puck in net as Finland's Joni Nikko slides into the goal post during the second period of a semifinal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Malmo, Sweden on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Finland bests Canada, to face Sweden in World Juniors finals


For the first time since 2006, Finland will earn a medal in the World Junior Championship.

After a scoreless first period, Joni Nikko got Finland on the board first at 4:19 minutes of the second frame. From there it was all downhill for Canada.

Jonathan Drouin, who was taken by Tampa Bay with the third overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, found the back of the net midway through the second period to cut Finland’s lead down to 2-1. However, any momentum Canada might have gotten from that marker was lost when Drouin subsequently received a misconduct for a high hit.

Finland had a 3-1 edge through 40 minutes and Chicago Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen added insult to injury with a pair of late third period goals to complete the 5-1 victory. Juuse Saros turned aside 23 of 24 shots while Zachary Fucale only made 18 saves for Canada.

That sets up a gold medal match between Finland and Sweden. Meanwhile, Canada has failed to win it all for a fifth straight year. The best they can hope for now is a victory against Russia to avoid going completely empty handed. Those two countries met in the bronze medal game last year and Canada ended up losing 6-5 in overtime.


World Juniors semis: Sweden beats Russia, massive postgame brawl

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.