The Bruins are getting closer to having their full lineup back in action and that’s bad news for the rest of the league. While the Bruins are busy stopping goals from being scored, their offense is getting that much closer to getting the help they need as ailing center Marc Savard passed a conditioning test today and was cleared for non-contact practice with the team. James Murphy of ESPN Boston gets the low down from Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli about how Savard is progressing and what his timetable is for returning to action.
“This morning he passed one of the tests, which was a conditioning test, so he’s able to practice with the team, non-contact and he can do line drills and non-contact drills, so that’s good news,” Chiarelli said Friday at Ristuccia Arena. “He’s got a couple more tests to do. They’re going to take place next week, and after that he’ll be able to contact.”
His time for return is getting closer and for the Bruins that means their means of letting the rest of the league know they’re a serious contender is at hand. Savard is the team’s best offensive producer and given that the Bruins are doing well enough in shutting down other teams, being able to ignite an offense that, for the time being, is quite average head coach Claude Julien has to be licking his chops at the thought of his team breaking out offensively to match up with the stellar goaltending. It’s been thought that Savard would be ready to go in the first half of December and it’s possible we could see that be true.
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.
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.