Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins

Habs offense wakes up, gives Cunneyworth his first win

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Some trickster bought Randy Cunneyworth a Rosetta Stone for Christmas, but his best gift came a couple days later. The Montreal Canadiens erupted for six goals to top the Ottawa Senators 6-2, giving the embattled English-speaker his first win as an NHL head coach.

Cunneyworth likely would have preferred to get that first victory in one of his four previous tries, but in a way, it seems fitting that it came in Ottawa. He served as the Senators’ captain from 1995-98, including the first season that the “new” version of the team made the playoffs in 1997.

It was truly a team effort as five different players scored goals for Montreal. Michael Cammalleri, Erik Cole, Louis Leblanc, Tomas Plekanec, and P.K. Suban earned a goal and an assist. Mathieu Darche had two assists while Raphael Diaz generated three. Subban’s contribution might be the most heartening because he was coming off a rare night as a healthy scratch. Carey Price was sharp in net, stopping 33 out of 35 shots for his 13th win of the season.

There are a lot of positives to take from that game, but the bottom line is that the Habs remain on the outside of the playoff picture right now:

Then again, the Canadiens are only four points and three wins behind the eighth-ranked Winnipeg Jets right now, so it’s not outrageous to think that Cunneyworth can turn things around. Much like a person learning a new language, it’s all about baby steps for Cunneyworth and the Habs, though.

Check out highlights from the game below:

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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.