Eugene Melnyk

Sens owner: Team still in rebuild mode

Anybody who says they thought the Ottawa Senators would have a seven-point playoff cushion at this point in the season should be forced to prove it. Otherwise they should be deemed liars and shunned by society.

For Sens owner Eugene Melnyk – who, for the record, didn’t expect his team be nearly as competitive this season – a likely spot in the postseason presents an unexpected question:  Should general manager Bryan Murray add assets at the trade deadline?

“(Dealing) would come with one caveat. Let’s not lose focus of what our job is: That’s to rebuild,” Melnyk told the Ottawa Sun Monday. “The deal we made for Kyle Turris was more of an anomaly than anything else because we did give up a piece of our future and we weren’t going to be competitive without a second-line centre.”

Sounds to me like the Sens aren’t against adding pieces at the trade deadline, but not at the expense of the future.

In a related story, they’d like to have their cake and eat it too.

To be fair, there’s no shortage of cap space in Ottawa, so if Melnyk’s willing to open his wallet maybe they could acquire a player that’s being dumped for salary reasons in exchange for a high draft pick or something equally insignificant.

Chances are the Senators are still a ways away from contending for a Stanley Cup. The last thing they want to do is get ahead of themselves and think they’re already there. By the looks of it, they’ll be able to make a real push in the near future.

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.