St Louis Blues v Nashville Predators

Blues’ Tarasenko will undergo hand surgery, out at least six weeks


Vladimir Tarasenko was enjoying a hot streak for the streaking St. Louis Blues, but his ascent is now placed on pause thanks to hand surgery. The team announced that he’ll undergo a procedure on his right hand and that he’ll be re-evaluated in six weeks.

Which means that the 22-year-old will miss at least six weeks, so Tarasenko updates might be something to watch once playoff time comes along.

That’s assuming that his rehab goes well, of course, as this could also be an issue that sidelines him for the playoffs. His regular season is already over barring a (hockey player-like) recovery.

Heating up since New Year’s

It’s a shame for a young player who was really coming into his own for the Blues. He hit the 21-goal mark for the first time in his career, totaling 43 points in 64 games with the sort of plus/minus (+20) that likely leaves Ken Hitchcock happy.

Tarasenko has been especially effective lately, as he had a five-game point streak going, including on Saturday (when he was injured against the Nashville Predators). Stretching back to March 2, he scored nine points in eight games and only failed to collect either a goal or an assist once in that span. He’s been especially effective since the calendar rolled over to 2014, really, as he has 22 points in his last 25 games.

The Blues score by committee – they have four players with 21+ goals including Tarasenko, and T.J. Oshie is three tallies away from joining that group – but this loss still stings.

The team recalled forward Dmitrij Jaskin, who may get a chance to play as Oshie will skip Monday’s game to spend time with his newborn bay.

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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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.