After a season filled with nagging injuries, Ben Bishop is going under the knife.
On Thursday, the Tampa Bay goalie said he’d be undergoing offseason wrist surgery to repair ligament damage, a procedure that will keep him in a cast for six weeks with a 3-4 month rehabilitation timeframe.
“My golf game is going to suffer,” Bishop joked, per the Tampa Bay Times.
The wrist ailment doesn’t appear to be related to the elbow dislocation that knocked Bishop out of Tampa’s opening-round playoff sweep to Montreal. The NHL’s tallest netminder was dealing with a wrist problem back in February but played through the pain, according to the Tampa Tribune.
“(The wrist) hasn’t been great,” Bishop said, coming out of the Olympic break.”But I just want to give the team a chance to win every night, even if I’m not 100 percent.’’
Today, Bishop told the Times he’s “100 percent” confident he’ll be ready for training camp in the fall.
That’s important, because next year promises to be a huge one for both Bishop and the Bolts. He put forth a Vezina-caliber effort this year, going 37-14-7 (4th in the NHL in wins) with a 2.23 GAA (7th), .924 save percentage (7th) and five shutouts (5th). Looking ahead, it’ll be interesting to see if Bishop is named one of the three Vezina finalists, and if he can build on this year’s success — next year, he’s in the last of his two-year, $4.6 million deal with Tampa Bay.
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: