Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens

Kris Letang gets nose broken, scores game-winner


Sidney Crosby came into his first road game of the season with most of the hype, which isn’t surprising considering his connection to the Montreal Canadiens. A different Pittsburgh Penguins All-Star ended up being the focal point, though, as Saturday proved to be Kris Letang’s night.

The first major moment came when Max Pacioretty likely broke Letang’s nose with a hit that is almost certain to get a look from Brendan Shanahan. (“Dr. Mark Recchi” will likely smirk when he hears that Pacioretty finds himself on the other side of a controversial check.)

That happened in the third period, but as wobbly as Letang looked after bleeding all over the ice, the telegenic defenseman got his revenge in overtime. Habs fans will likely complain that the play should have been whistled dead, but Letang snatched a puck from underneath Carey Price and fired it into Montreal’s net, giving Pittsburgh a 4-3 win.

In other words, the game packed plenty of excitement wrapped in controversy. So, let us know how you feel: does Pacioretty deserve a suspension for that check, which wasn’t penalized? If so, how long should he sit? And will he make eye contact with Zdeno Chara at imaginary Controversial Check Club meetings?

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.