Bruins forward Curtis Lazar was back in the lineup tonight against Florida but he very nearly wasn’t. He told reporters, including Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald, that he was very close to having surgery to repair his injured elbow which would have taken him out for the majority of the remainder of the regular season. Instead, simply resting it has worked well enough – for now at least – to allow the 26-year-old to return after just missing four games. Lazar’s timing to return is certainly good with veteran Craig Smith not accompanying the team on their two-game road trip. Anton Blidh was transferred to IR to make room for Lazar’s activation.
More from the Atlantic:
- The Sabres are hoping that center Casey Mittelstadt will be able to return to the lineup after their road trip, reports Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News (Twitter link). The 22-year-old suffered an upper-body injury in their season-opening win over Montreal and has been out ever since. Buffalo will kick off a four-game West Coast road trip on Thursday so Mittelstadt won’t be able to return until November 6th against Detroit.
- Senators winger Austin Watson could return to Ottawa’s lineup for their game on Friday, suggests Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch. The 29-year-old suffered an ankle injury in the final game of the postseason and hasn’t played since but did participate in practice today. The Sens have an open roster spot even with the recent addition of Dylan Gambrell so no move will need to be made to activate Watson off injured reserve.
Is Mittelstadt ready to take the next step or did he just have a good run at the end of last year?
By all accounts, Mittlestadt has matured (physically and mentally) since his first season in Buffalo.
I watched him as a freshman at MN and was surprised that Buffalo rushed him to the NHL. His performance at the WJC (in Buffalo) and the end of the regular season after MN was spectacular. That probably hurt him more than it helped; he simply wasn’t ready. The highlight reel worthy start just inflated expectations and contributed to his complacency.
Casey has grown up. And, he is now being coached by someone who can accentuate his strengths.
Ideally, he’s a 2C on a playoff contender (i.e., that’s his ceiling) with All-Star potential. With this year’s team he’s a 1C and will be best served if not too much is expected. Play with speed and with those sick mitts and help elevate the play of his wingers. THAT would be his best next step.
Next season the team will be more mature with a realistic expectation for talent being piped in from their underappreciated prospect pool. That’s when Casey may elevate his game commensurate with his draft status.