Niklas Backstrom

Wild confirm Backstrom has lower-body injury (Update: Kuemper recalled)

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As is often the case with playoff injuries, the Minnesota Wild aren’t saying much about whatever Niklas Backstrom hurt during warmup prior to Tuesday’s Game 1 loss to Chicago.

But at least we know what part of his body is hurt!

Wild head coach Mike Yeo confirmed Backstrom suffered a lower-body injury last night, one that forced backup Josh Harding into emergency relief duty.

Harding stopped 35 of 37 shots on the night, but lost in overtime on a Byan Bickell goal.

Here’s more, from the Minnesota Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo:

[Backstrom] seemed to sustain a left groin or hip injury trying to reach for a rebound. Coach Mike Yeo said that threw the staff a “curve ball to say the least.”

Yeo had no prognosis for Backstrom, but obviously Darcy Kuemper will need to come up and join Harding, who likely will have to start Friday.

Backstrom was a workhorse for the Wild over the final two months of the season, finishing as the goalie of record in 27 of the final 28 games.

Harding, who suffered a setback with multiple sclerosis in early February, had made just one appearance over the final two months of the season — a relief gig in Minnesota’s 6-1 loss to Edmonton last Friday, in which he allowed three goals on 12 shots in just over 40 minutes of action.

Update: The Wild have officially recalled Kuemper from AHL Houston.

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’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.