Regular season recaps – October 9

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From the Penguins losing their first two games at home, the Blackhawks suffering a defeat as they raise their Stanley Cup banner and the Devils going 0-2 (OK, 0-1-1) in their first games with shiny new toy Ilya Kovalchuk, the 2010-11 season has seen it’s fair share of spoilers* so far. Anyway, let’s get to the recaps. They will be brisk because this was a hefty night of hockey.

* – Not the kind of spoilers that movie Web sites hand out, like the fact that that Bruce Willis is that dude in a hairpiece in “The Sixth Sense.”**

Columbus 3, San Jose 2 (OT)

Steve Mason was the star of this one, stopping 33 out of 35 shots to help the Blue Jackets go 1-1 overseas. Joe Thornton now has two goals in two games, a goal-scoring trend I doubt will continue (then again, he is in a contract year). The Sharks might worry a bit about their 5-on-5 scoring, as four of their five goals this season have come on the power play so far.

Washington 7, New Jersey 2

My pick for the Eastern Conference finals ended up being a real blow-out in this one. Martin Brodeur allowed 5 goals in two periods before Johan Hedberg allowed two more while Michal Neuvirth made his Brodeur impression by stopping 31 out for 33 shots. Alex Ovechkin was his usual better-than-Ilya-Kovalchuk self, scoring two goals and one assist while his Russian pal was held pointless.

Dallas 5, NY Islanders 4 (SO)

The Stars almost coughed this one up, but Dallas is 2-0 on the road and in “extra innings” as they began the season with a shootout and overtime win. One trend that could make Stars fans giddy is that Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro seem like they’re finding the chemistry that helped them form one of the league’s most underrated duos a few seasons ago. Morrow already has three goals in two games and Ribeiro assisted on all of them.

Toronto 5, Ottawa 1

Well, would you look at that? With a 2-0 start, the Toronto Maple Leafs might be building the confidence to take a Northeast Division that lacks an elite team. Let’s not plan the parade just yet, but Brian Burke must be happy about his team’s solid start.

Montreal 3, Pittsburgh 2

Read all about it here.

NY Rangers 6, Buffalo 3

The story of this game was rookie Derek Stepan’s hat trick. Check out the video here.

Tampa Bay 5, Atlanta 3

Steven Stamkos had two goals and one assist, evildoer Steve Downie had a goal and an assist and the Lightning fought off a late charge by the Thrashers to begin the Steve Yzerman era with a win.

Nashville 4, Anaheim 1

The Ducks have been out-scored 9-1 in their first two games this season. That’s just horrible. The Predators hope to scrap their way to the playoffs yet again. So far, so good.

St. Louis 2, Philadelphia 1 (OT)

Jaroslav Halak began his time as the St. Louis Blues top starter by stopping 29 out of 30 shots to win the game. Brian Boucher was sharp, too, stopping 23 out of 25 shots. The Blues scored a power-play goal, but need to be more efficient than 1 for 10 if they want to return to the playoffs this season.

Detroit 3, Chicago 2

The Red Wings spoiled the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup banner raising party by narrowly beating them in this one. Valterri Filppula scored two goals, including the game-winner on the power play, while Chris Osgood stopped 26 out of 28 shots to give Marty Turco and the Hawks their second loss of the season.

Note: We’ll cover the Kings-Canucks game tomorrow morning.

** – Numerous cool points to anyone who knows what TV show that reference is from.

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’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.