Marc Staal

Nevermind, Marc Staal will make his season debut in Winter Classic

Remember this morning when we told you Marc Staal wasn’t going to play today? Scratch that.

Rangers coach John Tortorella announced that Staal will make his season debut today at the Winter Classic against Philadelphia. Tortorella made it clear what he needed to make it work so Staal could play.

“If Marc Staal is going to play, as I told you all before, I needed a yes from everyone. I got a yes from the trainer, I got a yes from the doctor, and more importantly I got a yes from the player. He’s going to play.”

Marc’s return to action in the Winter Classic perfectly matches what his brother Jordan Staal pulled off last year during the Winter Classic. Jordan didn’t play his first game last year until the Winter Classic, much like Marc is about to do now.

Tortorella says that Staal will play on the third pairing, a move that keeps his minutes down for the day and gives him a chance to ease into action. After Tortorella emphatically said that Staal wouldn’t play yesterday, getting those convincing words from all parties involved was enough to get him to make the change for today.

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.