A storyline of these playoffs has been the last-minute availability and absence of key players, and tonight’s Game Three of the Stanley Cup Finals doesn’t appear to be any different. The most notable absence is that of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point, who did not take the ice for warmups. Point had missed the entirety of the second and third rounds for Tampa after suffering a a lowery-body injury against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game Seven of their first round series. Point had been listed as a game-time decision heading into tonight, but that decision appears to be made. With the Lightning down 2-0 in the series, they will need a stepped-up team effort at home to not only make up for Point’s absence, but to get back in the series as a whole. Forward Riley Nash will take Point’s place.
Just across the ice, the Colorado Avalanche are going to be without forwards Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky for Game Three. Both players were also listed as day-to-day, Kadri still recovering from a hand injury, and subsequent surgery, suffered in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals when he was boarded by the Edmonton Oilers’ Evander Kane. Burakovsky, who sustained an upper-body injury at the start of the second period of Game Two against Tampa Bay, did not travel with the team to Florida, but has since joined the rest of the group, so his status for Game Four is still up in the air it would appear. Forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel will take Burakovsky’s place in the lineup.
- Boston University forward and 2018 Philadelphia Flyers first-round pick Jay O’Brien recently underwent surgery on his hip, reports Mark Divver of NHL.com, but is expected to be ready for the start of the 2022-23 season. O’Brien’s case is an interesting one, yet to sign a professional contract, he has struggled at times since being drafted. As a freshman at Providence College, he recorded just five points in 25 games before leaving. He spent 2019-20 in the BCHL with the Penticton Vees where he was expectedly good, tallying 66 points in 46 games before a transfer to Boston University for the 2020-21 season. Over the past two seasons at Boston University, O’Brien has impressed with 38 points in 40 games. Although his future professional career still has promise, it will be up to O’Brien to recover strong from injury and impress once again in the NCAA in order to prove he belongs as one of the Flyers’ top prospects.
- According to Thomas Hall of Yahoo Sports, former NHLer Reid Boucher has signed a one-year deal to return to Omsk in the KHL. Boucher left North America and signed with Omsk ahead of the 2020-21 season, putting up solid numbers before moving onto Yaroslavl, and now returning to Omsk. In that time, Boucher has dealt with legal trouble back in North America, his contract with Yaroslavl terminated in February after he pled guilty to sexual assault of a minor.