Philadelphia Flyers fans have experienced a tribute-heavy start to the 2015-16 season.
They’ve already said goodbye to impressive careers for Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen. Tuesday was that night for beloved sniper Simon Gagne.
As you can see from the video above, Gagne was drafted in 1998. Depending upon your age, that either feels like ages ago or maybe a date that’s uncomfortably close.
Either way, many in the hockey world would agree that we would have liked to see more of Gagne, yet he made a significant impact during his career, especially with the Flyers.
Colton Parayko has been tough to miss for the St. Louis Blues, and not just because he’s gigantic.
The towering 22-year-old has been on the short list of top rookies so far in 2015-16, generating an impressive 12 points in 18 games played.
The Blues won’t get to take advantage of his frightening shot tonight, however, as it appears that he may have suffered an injury during last night’s win against the Winnipeg Jets.
St. Louis specifies that it’s a lower-body injury.
Here’s a little more from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.
If nothing else, the Blues have shown an ability to shake off injuries, so we’ll see if that pattern continues against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Even when they’ve been able to win, the Pittsburgh Penguins have really struggled to score goals, and it hasn’t escaped notice.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Wild are off to a strong start, even if it hasn’t always been with a ton of mainstream fanfare.
The Wild are in a nice spot (albeit in the brutal Central Division) and are unlikely to make things easy for the Penguins, who have a single goal to show for their last two games of effort. They do, however, play four straight games in Pittsburgh, so this would be as good a time as any to pick things up.
Whatever way things shake out, you can get a good look at both teams on NBCSN tonight. If you’d like to stream the action online, follow the handy link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Lineup bits: Patric Hornqvist is in for the Penguins, Nick Bonino and Rob Scuderi aren’t playing.
The Florida Panthers absorbed a good news – bad news injury situation on Sunday, though some might say that it’s a pretty bright update overall.
The good: Key forward Aleksander Barkov is expected to be back in the Panthers’ lineup, according to George Richards of the Miami Herald.
As you can see from that tweet, it looks like Barkov will return to his center spot between Jonathan Huberdeau and Jaromir Jagr, reuniting a trio that showed some impressive chemistry before both Barkov and Jagr dealt with issues of varying severity.
The bad: Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov‘s lower-body injury from Saturday looks like it might linger. He’s undergoing an MRI and is expected to miss about a week, also according to Richards.
That’s no fun, but this could be a solid situation if Kulikov’s issues aren’t that severe. Of course, in situations like these, future updates can turn a sunny situation cloudy.
Sometimes, the best runs in sports happen because a chosen player gets injured.
The NFL may hold the most obvious examples: Drew Bledsoe making way for Tom Brady and Trent Green getting injured so Kurt Warner could conjure some magic.
It’s way, way, waaaay too early to say that Jonathan Bernier‘s injury opened the same door for James Reimer, at least from a long-term standpoint.
That said, the juicier question is: should that be the case?
Don Cherry went out of his way to make an interesting point: management may want Bernier to be “the guy” instead of Reimer.
This often happens with goalies, particularly in the case of a No. 1 who makes more money than his upstart backup. After all, a GM doesn’t want to look dumb in paying more for the lesser option, right?
There’s an interesting wrinkle with Reimer: he’s been the stat-leaning choice for some time, or at least a stat-head darling (as some are still kind to Bernier while also elevating Reimer).
Let’s be clear, though: Reimer’s recent play sure seems like it might force the issue.
Reimer stopped 43 out of 45 shots to help Toronto beat Vancouver 4-2, giving him three straight wins. The Maple Leafs have generated at least a point in five straight games and a 4-1-2 mark in his last seven starts.
That’s not a huge sample, although Reimer’s shown flashes of brilliance before. Can the Maple Leafs really afford to look the other way?
(Of course, assuming that they want to win …)