Milan Michalek

PHT Morning Skate: Now that the NHL is back …

1 Comment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Team schedules were released so late Saturday night that there might be teams that got hosed even more, but two early results: the New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets. Each squad reportedly has 10 back-to-back sets on their schedules. (The Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti and Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline)

Five key questions for the New York Islanders … that don’t involve Lubomir Visnovsky pouting. (New York Newsday)

March 21-22 might not exactly represent a fun trip for Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. (’s Dan Rosen)

The San Jose Sharks’ 10 biggest games. (Fear the Fin)

Interesting angle: Joe Pelletier studies which players dominated the campaigns between the 2004-05 lockout and the 2011-12 season. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

In case you don’t feel like clicking around, the team-by-team schedules can be launched from one convenient spot. (

The Anaheim Ducks must have listened to PHT’s advice because they’re giving out free hot dogs and soda during today’s practice. (Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott)

The Florida Panthers reportedly hope Erik Gudbranson will recover from his wakeboarding injury in two to three weeks. (TSN’s Bob McKenzie)

A glance at the St. Louis Blues’ fan giveaways. (St. Louis Game Time)

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.