Minnesota fans facing a bleak future


The hockey fans in Minnesota deserve better.

The Wild are
sputtering and stumbling towards the end of yet another disappointing
season, and it doesn’t appear that there’s help on the way. After
finishing third in the Western Conference in 2008, the Wild missed the
playoffs by just two points this season and are woefully behind the
curve this year. What about next season? Well, it could get even worse.

already has $45 million locked up in payroll for next season, with six
players facing free agency and five scheduled to be restricted free
agents, including Josh Harding and Guillaume Latendresse. In this
situation, you’d hope that there’s help on the way from the team’s farm
system — that is certainly not the case with Minnesota.

30th by Hockey’s Future in the NHL and 29th by The Hockey News, the Wild
are facing a very dark immediate future. They don’t have the cap space
to re-tool the team with free agents and there aren’t any magical
prospects on their way to save the Wild from mediocrity.

Michael Russo expands on
this point on Twitter
, stating that the Wild had just four draft
picks in 2008, no second or third rounders in 2007 and have traded away
one of their top draft picks in Nick Leddy.

What’s even more
frustrating to watch is how the Wild have seemingly just given up the
past two weeks. They’ve lost four games in row, including the offensive
embarrassment against Florida and lost to Detroit last night before
taking on Buffalo tonight. It’s a tough schedule, for certain, but
they’re not even trying to improve.

After the horrid performance
against Florida, the Wild held an optional practice with just nine
players (and not the coach) showing up. The Wild technically were still
in the playoff hunt a week ago and never really seemed interested in
putting up a fight.

This is the team that Minnesota hockey fans
have to live with. I’m betting they still care. I even like to think
that the players on the team still care. But the team as a whole? Not so

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.