The New York Rangers didn’t take eight penalties in Game 5 like they did in Game 4, but it’s difficult to argue that they were more disciplined this time around. Dan Girardi and Brad Richards ranked among those who acknowledged as much after Tuesday’s 7-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Most importantly, they maintained how important it is to avoid making the same mistakes as the series shifts to Madison Square Garden for Game 6 on Thursday.
Indeed, it was a pretty wild game tonight. Henrik Lundqvist was pulled, John Moore delivered a hit that could generate a suspension (to say nothing of Derek Dorsett’s headbutt) and defense generally seemed optional. Hockey’s a game of passion, but failing to walk the line between intensity and buffoonery can cost a team a game (if not a series).
Before Game 5, Alain Vigneault worried that the Rangers would put themselves “behind the eight-ball.” His fears seemed to come true tonight, so the question is whether New York can get back on track before this series goes off the rails altogether.
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.