Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville throws a solid first pitch at White Sox game

The celebrity ceremonial first pitch is a lot like those occasional photo op faceoffs in hockey; it’s a chance to honor a local hero or big time big wig. There’s only one big difference: you can really embarrass yourself by wildly falling short of home plate or evading the catcher’s grasp.

(Honestly, I’m the type of person who would make sure I practiced that pitch, possibly to the detriment of whatever would earn me such an achievement in the first place.)

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was part of an interesting ceremony for the Chicago White Sox that included a display of championship trophies from a host of Chicago teams (is that a subtle dig on the woebegone Chicago Cubs?) and also threw out the first pitch. Judging from this video, I would say he fell closer to the “George W. Bush first pitch” side of the first pitch scale than the “Barack Obama first pitch” side.

Not bad at all, “Coach Q.” You really have to love how hockey-mad Chicago has been in the last year. Hopefully that spirit will remain high even if the Blackhawks hit a few road bumps (although I’m starting to think they will be very competitive next season).

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’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.