Edmonton Oilers v Minnesota Wild

Oilers held a players-only meeting before Sunday’s Blackhawks game


After getting dismantled by Nashville on Friday, the Edmonton Oilers face a tough challenge in the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night. With that in mind, it makes sense that captain Shawn Horcoff decided to hold a players-only meeting before today’s game, according to the Edmonton Journal.

“We addressed a couple of issues,” said Horcoff. “We seem to be a little bit fragile right now.

“We came on this trip knowing it was going to be pivotal but we still have an opportunity here to salvage a decent trip and still give us a chance going forward. There’s still half a season left. It’s not over for us yet.

“There’s still belief here we can put a run together.”

Beating the Blackhawks (they’re currently up 3-0 early on) would give some reason to believe.

Unfortunately for Edmonton, the Oilers are in a familiar position at the moment: last overall in the West. They’ve lost five games in row.

Even so, they’re just six points out of the final playoff spot and will see Ales Hemsky, Horcoff and defenseman Teemu Hartikainen return to the mix.

In other words, there are plenty of reasons why that players-only meeting might work (or not).

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.