Both Colorado and Minnesota will make changes up front for tonight’s huge Game 7 at the Pepsi Center.
The Avs will return rookie Joey Hishon to the lineup after he sat Game 6, Patrick Roy confirmed. The 17th overall pick at the ’10 draft, who made his NHL debut in Game 4, will reportedly center the third line between Max Talbot and Jamie McGinn, and it’s possible Brad Malone could be the odd man out.
Hishon, 22, played just 6:31 for Colorado in Game 4 and 7:30 in Game 45. He did see extended minutes on the power play, though, and could be used tonight to help the Avs bust out of a slump that’s seen them score just once on their last 18 opportunities with the man advantage.
Minnesota is going in a bit of a different direction with its change up front, as 32-year-old veteran Stephane Veilleux will draw in. Veilleux, who hasn’t dressed since appearing in the opening two games of the series, is being inserted in place of Justin Fontaine, and the hope is he’ll bring some energy, speed and aggressive forechecking to the Wild lineup, per head coach Mike Yeo.
Veilleux appeared in 34 games for the Wild during the regular season, scoring three goals while averaging 8:26 TOI per night.
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:
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, CSNPhilly.com 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 CSNPhilly.com 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.