A little bit of good news and bad news for the Penguins this afternoon. Today they find out that Evgeni Malkin will make his return to the Penguins lineup for Friday’s game against Buffalo. Malkin missed the last few games with a sinus infection and trouble in his knee. For the Penguins, getting Malkin back helps give a boost to their offense that was severely lacking without both himself and Sidney Crosby out. The past few times Malkin has sat out with injuries, his return has resulted with instant offensive results as getting the rest and getting healthy gives a boost to his game.
The roster juggle to get Malkin back in was made easier today with the bad news about Mark Letestu’s injury. Letestu will be undergoing meniscus surgery on his knee and will be out 4-6 weeks. Letestu has been an important depth contributor to the Penguins lineup this season but his absence may be softened thanks to the play of Dustin Jeffrey. Jeffrey was called up from the AHL to fill Letestu’s place and he’s played well since returning including a big game against the Rangers on Tuesday in which he scored a goal and got the shootout winner as well.
Getting that production from Jeffrey and getting Malkin back should help give the Penguins an offensive lift. They can use the help as they’re not quite the dynamic offensive show they are without Crosby.
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.