While his recovery from a torn bicep is reportedly going well, recent words and actions from Brian Gionta suggest there’s still a long way to go.
The Montreal captain appeared at a function this week to hand out bursaries to 28 young hockey players, during which recipients were told Gionta couldn’t exert himself when it came to congratulatory handshakes.
That, along with Gionta’s comments afterward, confirms the injury has taken it’s toll.
“I’m there every day for treatment and I’m talking to the guys, but it’s hard not being out there,” he told the Montreal Gazette. “It’s been a tough season. We got off to a slow start and we’ve had some tough luck, but nobody in that room has given up.”
Tough season is an understatement. Gionta’s been limited to 38 games after suffering a lower-body injury early in the year; the torn bicep has kept him out of action since Jan. 10.
“It was a routine play along the boards and I just felt it pop. I tried to play another shift, but I knew I was hurt,” he said. “I’m hoping that I’m going to play again before the end of the season, but I don’t have a timetable.”
Gionta underwent surgery to repair the bicep on Jan. 11.
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.
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.