Morning Skate: Thursday, September 29


Morning Skate: Thursday, September 29

By Joe Haggerty Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
Claude Julien knows its going to be a bit of a safe new world in the NHL this season as players, coaches and managers attempt to adjust to the new head shotboarding punishments being handed out by NHL Senior VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan.

Shanny isnt pulling any punches, and has handed out over 20 games of suspensions and 500,000 in lost game salary before the NHL preseason is even two weeks old. The biggest and most meaningful was the eight game regular season suspension for Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski that will cost more than a half million dollars in salary as a repeat offender.

The NHL isnt going to turn into a warm and fuzzy game of tiddlywinks anytime soon, but the belief is that setting the tone now will lessen some of the catastrophic injuries suffered by players like Marc Savard over the last few seasons.

Its like anything else. When youre trying to insert new rules youve got to go not overboard but youve really got to go to the extremes to send a message. Right now I really think hes sending a message, said Julien. At least hes bringing awareness that theyre serious about it. As a player youve got to be careful how youre going to be hitting guys with those head shots.

Eventually everybody will get comfortable with it and it will make things better. Thats how you need to put in the new rule. If you put something in and dont go to the extremes to apply then there will always be that gray area. Im supporting what Shanahan is doing right now. Hopefully the players understand that hes not trying to punish them or make a name for himself. Its about trying to clean up that part of our game that needs to be cleaned up.

Thats what everyone is hoping for, and so far everything Shanahan has done is coming up aces for player safety and bettering the game. On to the links:

Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski spoke with Aaron Portzline, and is looking ahead rather than dwelling on the slap down he received from the league this week.

The Vancouver Canucks will be recognizing local heroes that distinguished themselves during the Game 7 riots, and rightfully so given how many good people in Vancouver had nothing to do with the post-game chaos.

The Buffalo News wonders whether the Sabres will see the good or bad Brad Boyes once the season begins. He could be a key component for a loaded Sabres roster heading into an important season.

The USA Today has a photo gallery of the suspensions handed out from Brendan Shanahan thus far, and its an impressive compilation.

The winding road of recovery for Sidney Crosby as detailed in an excellent piece on yesterday afternoon.

Kudos to hockey humorist Down Goes Brown for satirizing the reign of Colin Campbell by imagining what his video breaking down the Matt CookeMarc Savard head shot would have looked like.

For something completely different: Joe Posnanski from Sports Illustrated does a great job of painting last nights baseball picture as one of the greatest regular season nights in Major League history.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team


Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while saying RIP Vine but not really feeling it since it’s a rabbit hole I never really delved down into. 

*Down Goes Brown celebrates the “NHL’s old guys”, and yes, that means a gratuitous shout out to Zdeno Chara as the top defenseman on the All-Graybeard squad. 

*Hampus Lindholm has signed a long term deal with the Anaheim Ducks, so now that deal leaves everybody to wonder who is leaving the Anaheim roster in the eventual salary cap crunch. It will be interesting to see if this hastens any Cam Fowler trade talk as far as the Bruins are concerned because it looks like they need the help.  

*Pro Hockey Talk has the Oilers off to their best start since the Wayne Gretzky Era and people in Edmonton finally getting to see the hockey they’ve been waiting for over the past few years. 

*In honor of the Halloween season that we’re in, here are a few cool and scary goalie masks with a bit of spooky flair. 

*Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka is confident that his young team is going to rebound after a rough start to the season. 

*Speaking of creative uniforms, it’s a most wonderful time of the year for hockey when they bust out their Oktoberfest sweaters. 

*For something completely different: this matchup of Peanuts and Stranger Things hits all the right notes for fans of both. 


Goalie update: Tuukka Rask dealing with hamstring AND groin injury?


Goalie update: Tuukka Rask dealing with hamstring AND groin injury?

While the good news is that it doesn’t appear that Tuukka Rask is dealing with a knee injury, there are still some significant muscular issues to work with concerning his left leg. 

According to former Bruins defenseman and NHL analyst Aaron Ward on CSN’s Great American Hockey Show podcast, the Bruins franchise goaltender has been dealing with a hamstring issue that’s also become a hamstring and groin issue as he tried to play through in the first week of the season. Rask clearly tweaked something in his left leg opening night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, missed the Saturday night loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs and then appeared to aggravate the injury in last week’s win over the New Jersey Devils. 

According to Ward, it’s hamstring and groin issues for Rask as the Bruins attempt to survive without him while potentially working toward a possible return for the Finnish netminder this weekend vs. the Red Wings. Rask hasn’t skated with the Bruins since finishing out the 2-1 win over the Devils last Thursday night, and tweaking the problematic left leg in the process. 

“What I was told is that it was left leg, and that at first it was hamstring and now it’s possibly hamstring and groin,” said Ward to CSN Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty on the Great American Hockey Show podcast. “You’re always concerned when you’re a goalie and it’s your legs, right? It’s the push-off. The crazy part was watching it on video where the shoot came from the left side and went wide, and the next time he injures it shot comes from the same spot, misses it wide and [Rask] is in the exact same position wincing.

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“I think [the Bruins] are smart rather than trying to play a guy that’s 90, 80 or 70 percent, whatever it is, to just get it over with. Endure the short term pain to get the greater gain, and that’s having Rask in there. There’s no greater endorsement to keep him out than seeing the [bad losses without him] because you need a healthy Tuukka to let the rest of the team settle.”

It’s been disastrous without Rask, of course, as the Bruins have allowed 11 goals in back-to-back losses to the Wild and Rangers with rookies Malcolm Subban and Zane McIntyre between the pipes, and Anton Khudobin out for three weeks while sporting a cast on his right hand in the last B’s game at TD Garden. 

Meanwhile, Rask (3-0-0, 1.67 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage) is trying to heal and time it perfectly so he returns once he’s past the danger of potentially blowing out the muscles in his left leg and making the situation even worse than it already might be. 

Ward also discusses his relationship with "Toucher & Rich" and the "Cuts for a Cause" charitable event that he helped start.