The Los Angeles Kings are reportedly set to host the Chicago Blackhawks on opening night — Jan. 19 — in a game that’ll feature the Stanley Cup banner and ring ceremony.
The news, first passed along by Sportsnet’s John Shannon, is the latest in a opening night picture that’s slowly coming into focus.
Yesterday, reports surfaced about a number of games already set for Jan. 19:
— Montreal to host Toronto in an Original Six battle,
— Ottawa traveling to Winnipeg for another all-Canadian matchup
— The new-look Minnesota Wild going to Colorado to take on their Northwest Division rivals.
Today, another one made the news: Detroit vs. St. Louis at the Scottrade Center in a long-standing Central Division feud.
The Kings-Blackhawks game should garner plenty of national attention, pitting two of the last three Stanley Cup champions against each other.
LA won the season series a year ago by going 2-1-1, winning both games at the Staples Center.
Update: To add to the fun, Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register says the Ducks were rumored to be the banner-raising opponent for the Kings, but Anaheim wanted no part in it. Come on guys, who doesn’t want to ruin a rival’s night?
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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.
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.