Leafs GM: We should be better prepared tonight

How much playoff experience do you need before you adjust to the added pressure and challenges that come with postseason hockey? Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis is hoping the answer is one game.

“Our expectation is that — and this isn’t a knock on them in Game 1 — but for this one (Saturday’s Game 2), they will be more prepared,” Nonis said in a Toronto Sun report. “I think if you look at the number of players that we had in the lineup that didn’t have any NHL playoff experience, and we are playing a team that was hoisting the Cup less than 24 months ago. That, to me, was a significant difference.

“(The Bruins) understood the challenges of playoff hockey and we had a hard time at certain points in the game dealing with those challenges. Now, even though it’s only one game, you’ve got to find a way to learn from those experiences and get through them.”

Any hope that the Maple Leafs could capitalize on the Boston Bruins’ fatigue slipped away on Wednesday. Although James van Riemsdyk, who as a former Philadelphia Flyers forward was playing in his 40th postseason contest, got the Leafs on the board first, Boston earned a commanding 4-1 victory.

“We need to see improvement from three-quarters of our roster, that’s all there is to it,” Nonis said.

“It’s not that they’re not capable, because we’ve seen them do it. Now the stage is bigger, the pressure is raised. We need to see them react in a positive manner.”

Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs might have another player make his NHL debut tonight. 22-year-old defenseman Jake Gardiner is a candidate to be inserted into the lineup and Ryan O’Byrne, who has been in 19 playoff contests, is another possibility.

“I would suggest maybe one or both of them will play,” Maple Leafs oach Randy Carlyle told the Leafs’ website. He plans to make other adjustments too. We’ll see if they’re enough to split the series.

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.