Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll

Kings make big move … internally, by signing Justin Williams to four-year, $16.6M extension

There are plenty of NHL general managers on the hot seat today, but if there’s one contending manager who might be trying the patience of his fans, it would be Dean Lombardi of the Los Angeles Kings. We doubt that this move will quench that thirst, but the Kings did make a big move (only from the inside) today by signing forward Justin Williams to a four-year, $14.6 million extension according to Bob McKenzie.

It’s unclear at this point how the salary years will be stacked, but his annual cap hit will be $3.65 million per year beginning in the 2011-12 season. This signing signals a small raise for the winger, as his previous cap hit was $3.5 million.

In a way, Williams might be the prototypical Kings winger. The former Philadelphia Flyers draft pick can skate, score goals and plays a versatile game, but there’s one huge caveat: he’s notoriously injury prone.

While he’s having a great season this year (20 goals and 29 assists for 49 points in a stunning 62 games played, 100 percent of the Kings’ contests), he only played in 49 games last season, 44 in 08-09 and 37 in 07-08.

The Kings are a team noted for their star-crossed history with talented players who cannot stay on the ice, so it’s disturbing that they’re placing such a big part of their future on such unstable ground. Can they really trust that one healthy season (in a contract year no less) is a more reliable indicator of the future than the previous three?

It would be great if Williams plays most of the available games in those seasons. Yet much like Marian Gaborik and former Kings forward Pavol Demitra, his most ideal existence might be in the world of video games, where that injury problem can simply be turned off.

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 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.