Dean Lombardi,

Mediator can’t resolve Kings-Oilers dispute regarding Colin Fraser; Next stop: Gary Bettman?

Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi isn’t very shy about sharing his opinions. On occasion, he’ll call a Kings player out, as we’ve seen when he criticized Jack Johnson’s lack of structure during his college days at Michigan and Dustin Penner’s perceived lukewarm hustle.

Those are just comments about his own players, though. When other teams make Lombardi mad, things get even more interesting. The Kings general manager has been so incensed by the state of Colin Fraser’s health (Fraser came to Los Angeles in a trade that sent Ryan Smyth back to Edmonton) that he said: “I would have rather invested my money with Bernie Madoff than invest in Edmonton’s word.”

It was the second instance in which the Kings felt that the player the Oilers sent back in the deal wasn’t healthy enough for their liking. The original deal included Gilbert Brule, but that trade was put on hold when it became clear that Brule wasn’t 100 percent.

The NHL decided to use a mediator to try to resolve the issue between the two teams, but Helene Elliott reports that the session wasn’t successful. Elliott reports that the Kings’ next step would be to file a formal grievance with the league, which would force NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to figure out a solution.

It’s unclear what, exactly, Bettman would do if the buck stops at his office. Maybe the Kings will decide that it’s not worth it, although Lombardi seems like he might want to bring some Zeus-like vengeance upon the Oilers front office. While the latest developments indicate that it might be tough to maintain peace, perhaps Edmonton can sweeten the deal a little bit to soothe some of the wounds (or at least make it certain that Smyth will be back in the fold).

Lombardi’s been pushing all the right buttons – for the most part – during a landmark off-season for the Kings. His show isn’t done yet, though, as he still needs to re-sign star defenseman Drew Doughty and write the last chapter of this saga. We’ll keep an eye on that entertaining situation as the summer unfolds.

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.