Goalie nods: Hiller back for Ducks, Bob goes for Jackets

News and notes from around the crease…

Hiller back for Ducks

Jonas Hiller will return from an illness tonight and get the start for Anaheim in a much-ballyhooed matchup against Chicago.

Hiller, looking for his 15th consecutive victory, sat out the Ducks’ last game — a 9-1 whitewashing of Vancouver — and has given up three goals or fewer in 16 straight games. He’s been one of the NHL’s best netminders over the last six weeks, named the NHL’s second star for December and second star of the week last week.

He’ll be going up against Corey Crawford in the Blackhawks’ goal.

Bobrovsky looks for fourth straight win

Sergei Bobrovsky has been on fire since returning from injury, and he’ll look to continue that tonight against Washington.

Bobrovsky, riding a three-game winning streak, has posted a 1.62 GAA and .953 save percentage since missing a month with a groin ailment, sparking Columbus to within just a few points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Tonight, Bobrovsky will be taking on rookie Philipp Grubauer. (For more on the decision to start Grubauer over Braden Holtby, click here.)



Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara
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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’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.

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: