<span class="vcard">Jason Brough</span>

Scott Darling, Zack Kassian

Kassian has broken nose and foot from car accident

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Zack Kassian has a broken nose and a broken left foot as a result of a car accident on early Sunday morning in Montreal.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin shared that news this morning, while also sharing his disappointment in the 24-year-old winger.

“I’m a firm believer in character and that’s a lack of character and judgment on his part,” Bergevin told reporters. “I don’t know how many wake up calls you get.”

A 20-year-old woman was reportedly driving the truck that crashed into a tree at around 6 a.m. Kassian and an 18-year-old woman were passengers.

“(Kassian) was all bloodied up and stuff. He was in a daze,” a witness told the Montreal Gazette. “He had a hard time walking, and he almost took a fall.”

Kassian’s professionalism was often called into question during his time with the Vancouver Canucks, who traded him to Montreal this offseason.

“As you grow older, you mature,” Kassian said after the trade. “I really feel like Montreal’s a great fit for me. I’m ready to do everything to help the team win. I’m excited to get there. At the end of the day, nobody wants to get traded two times. But it’s a learning curve.”

 

Weaver announces retirement after 633 NHL games

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning
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Mike Weaver has retired. The 37-year-old defenseman made the announcement today via the NHLPA.

“What an enjoyable experience to do something you love for 11 years in the NHL and 15 years in professional hockey,” said Weaver in a release. “I could never have imagined this. Hockey is more than just a game to me. Thanks to the Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and the Montreal Canadiens.

“I would also like to thank the fans who brought the energy and excitement every night to the arenas. When the game starts, your teammates are who you trust, rely on and respect the most. Thank you to all my teammates for all the memories that will last a lifetime.”

Undrafted out of Michigan State, Weaver ended up playing 633 games in the NHL, plus 28 more in the playoffs.

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings

Preseason stats: Five goalies with good numbers, five goalies with…not

Anders Nilsson
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Yeah, yeah, it’s a small sample size and it’s just the preseason, but here are some goaltending stats anyway.

Five goalies with good numbers

Anders Nilsson, Edmonton — zero goals on 53 shots. His solid play a likely factor in the decision to waive Ben Scrivens, who actually wasn’t that bad in the preseason (4 goals on 56 shots).

Martin Jones, San Jose — three goals on 100 shots. The Sharks are rolling the dice on a couple of cheap goalies. Jones and Alex Stalock have a combined cap hit of just $4.6 million.

Jacob Markstom, Vancouver — three goals on 79 shots. Can he finally get over the NHL hump? If so, he could make it a real competition with Ryan Miller.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus — five goals on 122 shots. The Blue Jackets have scored a ton of goals in the preseason, but there remain questions about their blue line. Bobrovsky has the ability to make a so-so defense look good.

Anton Khudobin, Anaheim — two goals on 67 shots. A good early sign for the Ducks, who have Frederik Andersen in the starting role and want to give young John Gibson more time to develop in the AHL.

Five goalies with bad numbers

Thomas Greiss, Islanders — 14 goals on 94 shots. Has to be a bit of concern in Brooklyn. The Isles got below-average backup play last season from Chad Johnson. They wanted to fix that with the Greiss signing.

Robin Lehner, Buffalo — 11 goals on 95 shots. Tim Murray paid a hefty price to get the 24-year-old out of Ottawa. With the aforementioned Johnson in the backup role, the goaltending story is worth watching.

Jeff Zatkoff, Pittsburgh — 11 goals on 74 shots. Granted, Marc-Andre Fleury and Matthew Murray weren’t particularly sharp either. The Penguins conceded 28 goals in eight games.

Kari Lehtonen, Dallas — 15 goals on 84 shots. For a Stars team that desperately needs better goaltending, that has to be worrying. Antti Niemi wasn’t a whole lot better either, allowing eight goals on 65 shots. Fair question to ask — how many of all those goals were attributable to poor defensive play?

Pekka Rinne, Nashville — 12 goals on 91 shots. Has earned the benefit of the doubt, but thought we’d point it out anyway.

Blame the Canadian dollar for ‘cap squeeze’

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Five
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Just over two years ago, Bryan Bickell signed a four-year, $16 million contract extension.

Today, the Chicago Blackhawks placed him on waivers, paving the way for a potential AHL demotion for the 29-year-old winger.

True, the ‘Hawks can only save around a million bucks in cap space by sending Bickell to Rockford, but every penny counts these days. The numerous veteran free agents forced to accept professional tryouts are proof of that.

“There is a recent trend in the NHL now to go younger,” agent Allan Walsh told TSN 690 in Montreal.

“And there’s a reason why. Younger players are taking up less cap space. You have a lot of teams that two years ago were projecting a $75-76 million cap right now that did not materialize because of the fall of the Canadian dollar.”

The salary cap for 2015-16 came in at $71.4 million.

“It’s a cap squeeze,” Walsh said. “It’s a function of all these years in the salary cap, the money in the cap system going to the elite guys.”

Elite guys like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, each now with a cap hit of $10.5 million.

“You see teams now doing everything they can to get their 19-, 20-, 21-year-old players into the lineup,” said Walsh.

Or, they’re signing veterans for peanuts. Like the ‘Hawks did with Michal Rozsivial.

What will be interesting to see over the next few days is how teams finalize their 23-man rosters. If there’s an open spot, do they sign a veteran on a pro tryout, or do they give it to a kid?

“I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that the coaches are pushing for the veteran guy, because coaches always prefer experience,” said Walsh.

“(But) there are GMs who are managing caps where they need to get that young guy in the lineup and get him going, vis-à-vis his CBA rights.”

Related: Why NHL fans — no matter where they live — should care about the plunging Canadian dollar