Ryan Malone

More injury woes for Tampa Bay

Can’t blame Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher for being exasperated right now. Upon learning LW Ryan Malone suffered a lower-body injury (which kept him out of Tuesday’s game against Toronto and, apparently, tomorrow night’s game against Ottawa as well), the fiery bench boss all but threw up his hands.

“Again with the injuries,” Boucher told the Tampa Tribune. “Happy New Year! It’s been that way since Day One this year, so we are not going to cry about it. We are going to move forward and continue to find ways like we’ve been doing.”

Malone was injured during Monday’s practice on what appeared to be an innocuous collision with Nate Thompson. So innocuous, in fact, that Thompson didn’t realize his teammate was hurt.

“We had a collision, but I’m not sure what is going on,” Thompson said after learning Malone was being held out against Toronto. “This was the first I had heard about it, too.”

The Malone incident is the latest in what’s been an injury-ravaged season for the Bolts. Mattias Ohlund (knees) hasn’t played a single game this year and Victor Hedman is out indefinitely with a concussion. Ryan Shannon is expected to miss another two weeks with a knee sprain (he’s been out since Dec. 21) while Martin St. Louis, Pavel Kubina and Steve Downie have combined to miss 11 contests.

It’s all added up to an extremely disappointing season. The Lightning were within a game of the Stanley Cup Final a year ago but, heading into tonight’s action, sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, seven points back of eighth-place New Jersey.

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.