Phil Kessel‘s longtime linemate Tyler Bozak will not be on the ice for his reunion against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.
Bozak, who sustained a lower-body injury during Friday’s contest has been ruled out of tonight’s game. Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock isn’t sure if his injury is serious though, per TSN’s Jonas Siegel.
Mark Arcobello will draw back into the lineup as a result. He played in Toronto’s first three games, but was scratched on Friday.
Prior to Kessel being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins during the offseason, Bozak and Kessel typically made up two-thirds of Toronto’s first line. In fact, Bozak’s total five-on-five ice time with Kessel during his tenure in Toronto was more than twice as much as the next highest forward.
Related: Kessel on playing against Leafs: ‘It’s going to be strange’
Brandon Saad is back in Chicago, but he has to wish it was under better circumstances.
Now a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, he’s endured five straight brutal defeats with his new squad. Saad has gotten off to a strong start, but that’s not likely to be of much comfort if this team that entered the season with such promise proves to be a disaster.
“We’ve got to get back to work,” Saad said prior to Friday’s 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, per NHL.com. “We were a little high on ourselves. We’re figuring out the hard way it’s a tough League.”
Though Saad’s just 22 years old, Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno has been relying on his advice. There will be a demonstration of why that is when Saad gets his second championship ring tonight.
It represents some of the great events that happened during his stint with the Blackhawks and while he was “shocked” by the abrupt end to his tenure, that hasn’t darkened his memories of what happened.
“It’s not bittersweet,” Saad said. “Just sweet. You’re celebrating getting a championship. Then you’re onto hockey.”
Even still, it seems safe to assume he’d love it if Columbus’ early season slump ended with a victory against his former squad.
Related: Less than zero? Leafs beat bumbling Blue Jackets for first win
At this rate, injuries might bring an abrupt halt to the St. Louis Blues’ early season momentum.
With Kevin Shattenkirk (lower body), Robby Fabbri (concussion), and Patrik Berglund (shoulder) already on the sidelines, St. Louis forward Paul Stastny was hurt while blocking a shot on Friday. The Blues revealed this afternoon that Stastny sustained a lower-body injury and has returned to St. Louis.
His departure from the team means that he will at very least miss Sunday’s game in Winnipeg and Tuesday’s contest in Montreal. His injury might keep him on the sidelines for longer than that, but the Blues aren’t expected to provide further updates until after their game against the Canadiens.
In addition to this being yet another a blow to the Blues as they try to build off of their 4-1-0 start, it’s also particularly unfortunate timing for Stastny. He had gotten off to a great start with a goal and four assists while playing primarily with Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko. He enjoyed a similarly hot start last season until he suffered a shoulder injury in mid-October that forced him to miss a couple weeks. After that, he wasn’t nearly as productive.
He just has to hope that this isn’t history repeating itself.
If there’s one thing the Edmonton Oilers have provided Connor McDavid with so far, it’s a lesson in adversity at the big stage.
The Oilers have opened the season with four straight losses, including a 4-2 defeat to the St. Louis Blues in their home opener on Thursday. It’s left Oilers coach Todd McLellan worried that McDavid might be taking this all too personally.
“I don’t know how much pressure he’s feeling. I think I do. But I don’t know how much he carries. I think he feels there’s a large chunk of our 0-4 record probably falls on his shoulders,” McLellan said, per the Edmonton Sun.
“I did pull him aside in Dallas and talk to him about the shared pieces of pressure in terms of wins and losses. When it goes good he’s only going to have a little bit of it. When it goes bad he’s only going to have a little bit of it.”
Edmonton winning the draft lottery certainly breathed a new sense of optimism into the franchise and thus far the 2015-16 campaign has proven to be more of the same. Still, it would be premature to pass judgment on McDavid or, for that matter, the 2015-16 Oilers.
At least now his NHL debut and first home opener are behind him.
“I’m just looking forward to getting down to a more normal routine now,” McDavid said.
Edmonton will go back on the road to battle Calgary on Saturday.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
NHL bench bosses have adapted to the new coach’s challenge system. (Canadian Press)
Drew Doughty offered high praise to his recent defensive partner, 24-year-old Brayden McNabb. (LA Kings Insider)
Pete DeBoer doesn’t have any regret about the decisions he made during his time with the New Jersey Devils. (The Record)
Max Pacioretty sat down for a lengthy interview with Pierre LeBrun. Among other things, Pacioretty is a big supporter of expanding the league. (ESPN)
Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol talked about what Jonathan Toews was like back when they were both with the University of North Dakota. (CSN Chicago)
Evgeny Medvedev is adjusting to life in North America. (Sports Illustrated)