Henrik Zetterberg

NHL on NBCSN: Kings, Red Wings fight to stay hot


NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Los Angeles Kings host the Detroit Red Wings at the Staples Center at 10:00 p.m. ET.

At first glance, the Los Angeles Kings might look like underperformers, but that’s not entirely fair.

They endured one of the roughest schedules for the first month of play. Only four of their first 17 games were at home and under those harsh circumstances, almost any team would have had trouble doing more than treading water.

That stretch is over now and the question is how they will hold up in the Staples Center. They have already comfortably beat the Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks, but sweeping this three-game home set with a win tonight will be a challenge.

Injuries have worn down the Detroit Red Wings this season more than almost any other team. At the same time, they’ve shaken off their recent struggles with commanding victories over the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks.

On top of that, Detroit should get Johan Franzen (hip flexor) back for this contest, according to the Detroit Free Press.

They have looked like a vulnerable team for much of the season without retired future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom. Still, they’ve proven that – at least on some nights – they’re still the same dangerous Red Wings that have commanded the respect of their opponents for decades.

Probable goaltenders: DET- Jimmy Howard (8-6-2, 2.88 GAA, .901 SV%) | LAK – Jonathan Quick (6-5-2, 2.42 GAA, .906 SV%)

Top scorers: DET – Henrik Zetterberg (6-19-25, 19 GP) | LAK – Anze Kopitar (5-10-15, 16 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Detroit – Forwards: Valtteri Filppula (shoulder), Mikael Samuelsson (finger), Todd Bertuzzi (back), Darren Helm (back) Defensemen: Kyle Quincey (ankle), Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Brendan Smith (shoulder) Goaltenders: Jonas Gustavsson (groin)
Los Angeles – Defensemen: Alec Martinez (upper body), Willie Mitchell (knee), Matt Greene (back)


Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Reacquired Gagne looks to lead Flyers past Capitals

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.