Ralph Krueger

New Oilers coach Krueger: “We have skill in our room that’s so exciting”

Shortly after becoming the 11th head coach in franchise history, Ralph Krueger spoke publicly about being named bench boss of the Edmonton Oilers.

The prevailing theme? Excitement.

“We have skill in our room that’s so exciting, and I need to find a way for their instincts and natural ability to lead us to winning,” Krueger said. “I can’t imagine a better city. This is a premier hockey city in the world. I’m excited about everything to come.”

Taking over from Tom Renney, Krueger inherits a young, talent-laden squad that recently added Nail Yakupov to a forward group featuring Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky. The prospect of having such a skilled top six wasn’t lost on the new coach, who was already thinking of line combinations.

“Nail may be playing on the left or right side, maybe Taylor in the middle,” Krueger explained. “The combinations are nothing but exciting.”

Krueger’s excitement about coaching such a young team is likely why the Oilers pegged him for the job. At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, he was in charge of a Swiss team that leaned heavily on youngsters like Roman Josi (20), Luca Sbisa (20), Yannick Weber (21) and Rafael Diaz (24).

That Swiss team fought hard in two tight losses to the U.S. and took Canada to a shootout in the opening round, displaying the we-can-play-with-anyone mentality the Oilers will need to adopt if they plan on climbing out of the Western Conference basement.

Krueger sounded ready to accept the challenge.

“I just want to start working on a daily basis,” he said. “I have trust in the management to take care of the big picture. I’m ready.”

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 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.