Eric Boulton, Brent Sopel

Thrashers trade Brent Sopel, Nigel Dawes to Canadiens for Ben Maxwell, 4th rounder

The Montreal Canadiens are doing their best to beef up their blueline before the trade deadline is up. Their most recent acquisition is former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel, whom the Habs acquired along with Nigel Dawes in a trade that sent Ben Maxwell and their fourth round pick to the Atlanta Thrashers. Sopel joins Paul Mara as the team’s recent defensive acquisitions, costing them a fourth and five round pick separate trades.

Sopel is in the last season of a deal that registers a $2.33 million salary cap hit. He is a rugged defenseman who had some shaky years in Chicago (only 23 games played in 2008-09, less than 15 minutes per game last season) only to become a difference maker in their playoff run, with his time on ice jumping more than three minutes (18:30) in that Cup chase.

Dawes has been passed around the league quite a bit lately, going from Phoenix to the Rangers to Calgary and Atlanta since March 2009. He only played nine games with Atlanta this season, spending most of his season with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL.

Ben Maxwell hasn’t registered a point in his 20 career games with Montreal, so Dawes and Maxwell probably more or less negate each other as marginal-at-best NHL players. Both will likely spend most of their time in the AHL for the rest of the season, although Maxwell might have more potential in the long term.

Is this move a sign that the Thrashers are at least in moderate sell mode? Ultimately Atlanta sacrificed some depth for a fourth round pick, which is basically a shoulder shrug move.

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.