After sitting out Tuesday’s loss to St. Louis with a lower-body injury, Kevin Bieksa is being flown back to Vancouver for examination, rather than stick with the Canucks as they take on the Stars in Dallas tonight.
On that note, Alain Vigneault wants to make one thing clear — the issue isn’t with Bieksa’s groin.
“Day-to-day,” was how the Canucks head coach classified the injury, before swearing “on my daughters” that it’s not a groin problem.
To be fair to Vigneault, Bieksa does have a history of groin issues. The 31-year-old defenseman has been hampered with the ailment, missing seven games in March.
Bieksa also isn’t the only Vancouver defenseman on the limp right now.
Vigneault said Chris Tanev (ankle) won’t be ready for the start of the playoffs, further hampering a unit that was forced to rely on Cam Barker (17:50 TOI) and Andrew Alberts (14:19) in Tuesday’s loss to St. Louis.
In a related move, the Canucks recalled blueliner Derek Joslin from AHL Worcester on Wednesday.
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.