Joe Nieuwendyk

Nieuwendyk: Tough times make you stronger

Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk is a pretty smart guy. He’s done well to weather the storm of an ownership change in Dallas and keeps the Stars rolling along as a team that challenges for the playoffs.

While the Stars have hit a skid recently, he knows that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and as he tells Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, that’s the exact message he’s giving his team while they go through a stretch of losing games and players to injury.

“There are X’s and O’s, that are costing us right now, but it’s more important how we feel as a group,” Nieuwendyk said. “The reality is if we win [today], we’re two points out with two games in hand. These are tough times, for sure, but you’ve got think they make you stronger when you get back going the way you want to be.”

The Stars are right in the thick of the playoff hunt despite losing five in a row and six of their last seven. With Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn returning to action soon, things should get turned around.

Dallas has a fight on their hands, however, for the postseason with Colorado, Minnesota, Calgary, and Phoenix all in the mix with them and a surging Anaheim roaring up from behind.

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.