Ray Emery’s fight back from the hip problem that ruined Bo Jackson makes for a great story, but it doesn’t necessarily make him an ideal goalie. The Chicago Blackhawks might have acknowledged that thought on Monday as they grabbed Calgary Flames backup Henrik Karlsson for a seventh-round draft pick in 2013.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Emery will be bumped down from his backup role behind Corey Crawford, but it’s hard to deny the possibility considering this trade (and how wobbly Emery looked in a 6-4 win against the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday).
Karlsson isn’t exactly a highly seasoned NHL netminder despite being 29. He hasn’t seen much action behind Calgary workhorse Miikka Kiprusoff, having played in just 26 NHL games (including nine in 2010-11).
If nothing else, Karlsson seems likely to hover behind Emery as the team’s short-term No. 3 option – unless a Blackhawks prospect usurps him.
Karlsson’s departure begs the question: who gets to barely play behind Kipper in Calgary now?
It appears that prospect Leland Irving could be first in line, at least if the team’s current roster listing is any indication.
At 24, the 2006 first-rounder is approaching the point where Flames management might be getting antsy to see more results. He played in seven games last season, putting up a solid .912 save percentage despite some mediocre team results.
If you subscribe to the idea that this shortened season will mean more reps for backups, then Irving will finally get tested. We’ll see if it’s Emery or Karlsson getting most of the relief work for Chicago, too.
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.