Erik Karlsson

Erik Karlsson is the NHL’s First Star of the Week

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After setting a Senators franchise record for points by a defenseman and moving into seventh overall in league scoring, Ottawa blueliner Erik Karlsson was named the NHL’s first star of the week.

Karlsson, 21, played four games last week and recorded multi-point efforts in each. He had 2G-2A (and the game-winning goal) against the Islanders, 1G-2A against both the Caps and Bruins and two assists against the Isles again on Sunday — the Isles game was also when Karlsson broke Norm Maciver’s single-season franchise record for points by a defenseman.

(Note 1: In 1992-93, Maciver had 63 points in 80 games. Karlsson has 65 in 63.)

(Note 2: 65 points, Karlsson is 23 clear of the NHL’s second-leading defenseman scorer, Brian Campbell.)

Second star went to Tampa Bay RW Teddy Purcell. The 26-year-old is riding a six-game point streak and has points in 10 of his last 11, including three three-point outings last week. Purcell had 1G-2A against the Ducks and Jets, then set up three goals in Sunday’s 4-3 win over New Jersey. Purcell how has 17G-29A-46PTS in 61 games this year and is on pace to beat last year’s 51-point total, which was a career high.

Third star went to Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen. He won all three of his starts last week to vault Dallas into eight in the Western Conference — first with a 31-save shutout against Montreal, then by stopping 28 of 29 shots to beat the Wild. His biggest effort, though, came in an overtime victory against the NHL-leading Canucks, where he made 24 saves.

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.