The Boston Bruins will be a little extra shorthanded on defense against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, but for a good reason. Actually, make that two good reasons, as it’s believed that defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s wife is will give birth to twins this weekend.
That’s the word from CSNNE.com, although the Bruins’ are only calling it “personal reasons.”
While it provides most fans a reason (er, again, two reasons) to smile, the Bruins probably hope he’ll get back soon, as they’re already adjusting to life without Dennis Seidenberg. Boychuk, 29, has averaged about 20:30 minutes per night the last four seasons, specifically 20:50 per game in 2013-14. He has 13 points in 41 contests, to boot.
It seems like Kevan Miller will enter the B’s lineup in Boychuk’s absence, according to CSNNE.
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: