Matt Read will return to the Philadelphia lineup tonight.
Steve Downie won’t.
Read, who has missed the last six games with a concussion, will draw back in when the Flyers take on the Sabres in Buffalo on Tuesday — but Downie, who was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s loss to the Rangers, will again find himself in the press box.
Parked because of what Flyers head coach Craig Berube called a lack of intensity, Downie finds himself in an odd spot. He’s clearly not having the same effect he was prior to returning from an upper-body injury in late December — in his last eight games, Downie has zero points and 10 penalty minutes and has struggled to find chemistry with a variety of linemates.
That said, it’s strange that Downie is a scratch for a second consecutive time, especially since the Flyers looked flat and listless at the start of Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Rangers.
As for Read, he’ll be looking to regain the form shown prior to getting concussed. He had five points in eight games (more like seven, given he was hurt against Calgary on Dec. 31) and received over 20 minutes of ice time in shootout wins over the Oilers and Canucks.
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…