Stars scratch Nichushkin to give him break from ‘mental grind’

It’s been a remarkable rookie season for Dallas Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin, but that’s a big reason why Lindy Ruff is making him a healthy scratch on Saturday.

As Ruff explains to the Dallas Morning News, the wear and tear of his first NHL campaign and the thrill of being a surprise selection for Russia in the 2014 Winter Olympics has left him fatigued.

“He’s had a little bit of a tough ride, and he said he’s felt real tired,” Ruff said. “He’s 18, and I think for him it’s been a mental grind, so try to freshen him up and get him going again.”

” … I think emotionally for him has been the craziest ride.”

That’s about as positive a spin as you can get for a healthy scratch (unless that player is welcoming a newborn baby, perhaps).

Nichushkin’s most recent work does indicate a little lsot steam. He hasn’t scored a point in his last five games and didn’t even manage a shot on goal in two of those contests. He’s still be a success overall, however, as the 10th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft has 22 points in 46 games.

Regardless, the Stars will face the Minnesota Wild without him Saturday night.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?