Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators shoots the puck against the Winnipeg Jets during an NHL game at Scotiabank Place on January 16, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
(January 15, 2012 - Source: Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images North America)

Spezza says so long, Switzerland

Jason Spezza’s Swiss adventure is over.

That’s the word out of Ottawa on Wednesday as Spezza informed his club team, Rapperswill-Jona, he’s headed back to North America.

More, from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:

The Senators centre has informed the Rapperswill-Jona Lakers he will not be returning — at least for now — after winning the Spengler Cup with Team Canada Monday. He will return to Ottawa to see if there’s going to be a collective bargaining agreement in place for a shortened NHL season.

The Lakers confirmed on their website Wednesday morning that Spezza was on his way home because he’s confident the league and the NHLPA are going to get an agreement in place by the Jan. 19 deadline to resume playing.

Few locked-out NHLers have enjoyed a more successful European campaign than Spezza.

He joined Rapperswil early (mid-September), played a ton of hockey (29 games with the Lakers, four with Team Canada at the Spengler), racked up a ton of points (30, 11th in Swiss league scoring) and, perhaps most importantly, avoided injury.

All told, Ottawa could be in pretty solid shape when (if?) play resumes.

Spezza is just one on a long list of Senators that played extensively overseas during the work stoppage, joining Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, Erik Condra, Peter Regin, Colin Greening, Milan Michalek, Mike Lundin and Zack Smith.

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.