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Kings latest to prove starting in Europe is a good thing — for Cup aspirations, that is

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Over at, Dave Lozo writes about the curious pattern that’s emerged over the last four seasons.

Each of the last three Stanley Cup champions — the Bruins (2011), Blackhawks (2010) and Penguins (2009) — all began their seasons by playing in Europe via the NHL’s Premiere series.

Pittsburgh played in Finland and Sweden, Chicago in Zurich and Finland, Boston in Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic.

This year, Los Angeles played in Germany and Sweden, defeating the Hamburg Freezers and New York Rangers before losing to the Buffalo Sabres — but even though they’ve now made it 4-for-4 for NHL Premiere teams advancing to the Cup finals, captain Dustin Brown isn’t sure it’s worth the travel.

“A trip like that always does build some bonds, but all the guys would probably say we wouldn’t want to do that again,” he explained. “You hang out a lot, but this core group has been together for a while. It’s not like we are going to go on a road trip like that and be closer for it.”

To be fair to Brown, he’s seen the other side of the coin with regards to starting in Europe. The Kings opened the 2007-08 season in Austria and England, flew home, lost five of six to open the season, finished dead last in the Western Conference and saw head coach Marc Crawford get fired.

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.