When Steve Mason looks at the league’s top-tier goaltenders last season, he sees people that participated in 60 or more games. Back and knee injuries prevented him from reaching that milestone in 2014-15, but he’s hoping history doesn’t repeat itself.
“If the health is there and the consistency in my game is there, I don’t see why there would be an issue why I shouldn’t be playing that,” Mason told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
He tried to limit the amount of impact training like jumping and running he did this summer to “preserve the knee a little bit,” but beyond that his health issues last season didn’t impact his training regimen. He consequently feels ready for the 2015-16 campaign.
There’s a factor outside his health that might impact him reaching that milestone though and that’s new backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth. He did an impressive job during his stint with the struggling Buffalo Sabres last season and is someone that might warrant more playing time than your typical understudy.
The hope is that he’ll also provide the Flyers with a strong plan B should Mason struggle with another injury-riddled campaign, especially after Ray Emery failed to live up to expectations under those circumstances in 2014-15.
As if there wasn’t enough questions surrounding the Boston Bruins’ defense, they already have a blueliner on the sidelines.
Dennis Seidenberg suffered an upper-body injury while training and won’t participate in at least the first few days of the Bruins’ training camp as a result. If that’s the extent of his time missed then it’s not really a setback for Boston, but he’ll still need to be reevaluated in the near future and for now Bruins GM Don Sweeney can’t predict if this will be a serious problem or not.
“The only issue we have right now is that Dennis Seidenberg will likely not skate for the next few days,” Sweeney told CSN New England. “He reported to our trainers on Monday with an upper body injury from training. The doctors have chosen to take a conservative approach, and evaluate him day-to-day.”
On a more positive note for the Bruins, Seidenberg is the only one of the team’s 60 training camp players that won’t be able to participate in the team’s opening skates.
At the end of the day, this might prove to be minor, but anything related to Seidenberg is noteworthy given how much the team is likely to lean on him due to Dougie Hamilton‘s departure and Zdeno Chara‘s age (38).
Related – Bruins’ Biggest Question: Is the blue line good enough?
Brent Seabrook has been a key component to the Chicago Blackhawks’ three Stanley Cup championships over the last six campaigns, but he’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. His contract uncertainty might soon be a thing of the past though.
Seabrook and Chicago are closing in on a long-term extension, per the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc. Of course, the big question is what kind of price tag that deal will come with.
The 30-year-old blueliner is completing a five-year, $29 million contract that consequently comes with a $5.8 million annual cap hit and given his resume, he has a lot of leverage given the demand there would be for his services on the open market. Would it be unrealistic under these circumstances to assume that his deal would be much different from the six-year, $40.5 million pack that Calgary recently signed with 31-year-old Mark Giordano?
Of course, it’s not a perfect comparison. Giordano is the Flames’ captain, gets more ice time than Seabrook and for the last two seasons he has put up better offensive numbers. Giordano has also finished in the top-10 in Norris Trophy voting in back-to-back campaigns while Seabrook has never finished higher than 13th. However, Seabrook’s success in the playoffs has to count for quite a bit.
If Seabrook signs a long-term deal than he’ll join Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson as Chicago blueliners locked up until at least 2018-19.
Daniel Alfredsson is returning to the Ottawa Senators and this time it will be as a senior advisor of hockey operations.
“I am excited for our fans and our team that Daniel has agreed to begin the second part of his storied hockey career right where he belongs – with the Senators. Daniel has been an exceptional part of our team’s history. He was a tremendous leader on the ice and equally in our community. I very much want him to continue to be part of our hockey club and our city,” said team owner Eugene Melnyk, per the team’s website. “Bringing the Stanley Cup to Ottawa has always been my focus, now more than ever. I believe Daniel’s experience and track record as one of the elite players in our league will bring us closer to that goal.”
Alfredsson will be involved with a number of aspects of the franchise including scouting and player development.
He served as the Senators’ captain for 13 seasons and played in 1,246 career contests with Ottawa and the Detroit Red Wings. Although his final game played was with Detroit, he returned to Ottawa when it came time for him to formally announce his retirement on Dec. 4, 2014.
“Retiring from the game but having this chance to remain part of the hockey world, especially in Ottawa, is very special,” Alfredsson said. “The Senators have an outstanding hockey operations department and coaching staff. They have built a fast, highly skilled team along with a solid roster of young prospects. I believe my experience as a player can help provide a boost to this group and allow us to keep the momentum from last year’s exciting season.”
Mats Zuccarello was temporarily unable to speak after being struck in the head by a shot from teammate Ryan McDonagh on April 24, but it sounds like he’s managed to put that serious incident behind him.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault “for sure” expects Zuccarello, who suffered a brain contusion and small skull fracture, to play in the team’s opener on Oct. 7, per The Record.
Zuccarello won’t be able to undergo his on-ice testing this week, but that’s because of a shot he had related to his foot and not due to anything stemming from his head injury. Defensemen Marc Staal (ankle), Dan Girardi (ankle), and Ryan McDonagh (foot) have also had their testing pushed back until next week for precautionary reasons.
The 28-year-old forward is starting a four-year, $18 million contract. He had 15 goals and 49 points in 78 contests last season and led the team in scoring in 2013-14.