Carlo Colaiacovo, Kevin Shattenkirk, Patrik Berglund

NHL-leading Blues getting healthier, and scarier

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There was a strange scene at St. Louis’ practice at the Honda Center yesterday — strange in the sense that a full compliment of Blues were participating.

The NHL leaders, ravaged by injury throughout the season, had 16 forwards, eight defensemen and two goalies on the ice for a grand total of 26 players…which, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, means the club had every player on its NHL roster in skates at one time.

“It’s a good start,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We’ll see moving forward how it all turns out. But it was good news. It was expected news. We had planned for this.

“We’re still in various stages of repair, but they were able to participate fully in practice the first 50 minutes and go from there.”

Hands on deck included the concussed trio of Alex Steen (out since Dec. 30), Matt D’Agostini (Feb. 8) and Kris Russell (Feb. 24) as well as the walking wounded: David Backes (foot), Andy McDonald (shoulder) and Jason Arnott (being 37 years old.)

Steen, D’Agostini and McDonald all wore red non-contact jerseys but of the three, only McDonald is expected back soon as his recovery from last week’s shoulder injury is going better than expected. There’s still no timetable for Steen and D’Agostini, though Hitchcock is hopeful.

“They obviously had high energy, all three guys,” Hitchcock said. “[McDonald] was flying around the ice, Steen was flying around the ice, D’Agostini was flying around the ice … we’re still in the conditioning phase on some guys. I don’t know. I try not to get excited. I think sometimes you can hope for players to come back in, then they reach and certain stage and never get there, and you’re disappointed.”

While Steen and D’Agostini are a ways away, it sounds as though St. Louis could return Russell to the lineup on Wednesday against the Ducks.

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.