No surprise there.
It goes without saying that Varlamov is a big part of the Avalanche's start -- perhaps the biggest. He's 7-1 for the club this season, and right near the top of the leaderboard in both goals-against average and save percentage.
It remains to be seen how long the Avalanche will be without him. Even once he makes bail, the CBA allows for players under criminal investigation to be suspended.
JM Lilies is traveling with the Leafs, but is not expected to play.
When asked, bluntly, whether it is possible to get excited about playing in the AHL after such a lengthy NHL term, Liles became philosophical.
“Right now, it’s not about getting jacked up to play; it’s about preparing for games and trying to set an example for younger guys with the Marlies,” he explained. “It’s not exactly what I was hoping to do at this point of my career, but I had some good people to learn from in the NHL when I was young. Great veterans like Rob Blake and Joe Sakic taught me about handling adversity. It’s a lesson I’m having to follow today. But, it isn’t as terrible as some may think.”
Liles debuted with Colorado to begin the 2003-04 season and had respectable seasons of 49, 46 and 44 points in Denver. On June 24, 2011 – prior to the NHL draft in St. Paul, Minn. – he was traded to Toronto for a second round pick in 2012.
In a (highly unofficial) poll of eight GMs last weekend, all said they would be in favour of such a proposal, though a couple pointed out they wanted to hear the NHL's plan first.
But, as one said, "The time has come."
Two specific incidents over the past two weeks brought added momentum. The first was John Scott's hit that concussed Loui Eriksson. The second was John Tortorella's comment that he'd continue to teach the play that led to Alex Edler's suspension.
"The one he was suspended on we're teaching that," the Canucks coach told Vancouver reporters. "The league just happens to believe it's suspendable."