2010 NHL free agency: Lightning re-sign Vladimir Mihalik, sign two others

vladmihalik.jpgThe Lightning continued their busy summer by helping to fill out ranks along the blueline by re-signing Vladimir Mihalik and signing Mathieu Roy and Mike Vernace.

Mihalik is a big boy standing at 6’7″ and 244 pounds, but is a smooth skating offensive defenseman. He’s had a little bit of time with the big club in Tampa Bay, but he’s spent the majority of his career with the Lightning AHL affiliate in Norfolk. Mihalik could challenge for a spot on the bottom pair this season and the chances are good that Lightning coach Guy Boucher saw him play a bit while coaching in the AHL last season. Competition for that

Mathieu Roy was with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season and played in 31 games for them last year setting a new career high in games played. I’ll give you two guesses as to where his destination is set for next season and the first one doesn’t count. Roy will help provide stability and depth within the Lightning system.

Michael Vernace comes to the Lightning from the Hamilton Bulldogs and it’s safe to say that he’s a player that Guy Boucher likes just fine and trusts to get more work in Norfolk with the Admirals. Chances that all three of these guys end up in Norfolk to start the season run pretty high, but retaining Mihalik is a good thing for the Lightning as he’s got the most upside of the bunch.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One
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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.