And you thought Brendan Shanahan might have a quiet day tomorrow, didn’t you?
In the third period of tonight’s preseason game between the Red Wings and Blackhawks, Wings defenseman Brendan Smith caught Hawks forward Ben Smith in the head with an elbow, putting him out on the ice. Detroit’s Smith was kicked out of the game with a game misconduct and assessed a match penalty. Chicago’s Smith was helped off the ice with an expected head injury.
While it appeared that Smith didn’t connect with the elbow on purpose, catching a player in the head like that is going to get the attention of Shanahan. The NHL’s new player safety disciplinarian has already handed out seven suspensions during the preseason and Brendan Smith will likely be the eighth.
Brendan Smith was likely headed back to the AHL so his suspension in the NHL would have to be put on hold. As far as we understand it, the AHL can uphold any suspension but no matter what, Smith would have to serve whatever he’s given in the NHL regardless. Expect his preseason to be over with after this hit.
Here’s video of the hit courtesy of CSNChicago.com:
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.