Last night saw the return of Raffi Torres to NHL ice for the first time since the first round of the playoffs last April. After serving what turned into a 22-game suspension for hitting an unsuspecting Marian Hossa in the head, he was part of the Coyotes’ 2-0 win over Dallas.
His stats for the night were uneventful (11:37 TOI, 4 shots, 0 PIM) and he was just happy to get back to action as Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona shares.
“There was a lot of nerves out there, and sometimes my emotions run a little too wild and I get too caught up in the game,” he said. “The first couple shifts, I was just kind of skating around way out of position and didn’t know where I was going.”
For what it’s worth, the Stars did their part to try to stir things up with him and test out the “new” Raffi Torres. He’s vowed to be a different player after getting the book thrown at him, but if he has a Matt Cooke-like turnaround in what he does, the Coyotes hope he’ll still be the effective player he was when he wasn’t running guys all over the ice.
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.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: