Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators skates on the ice against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on March 31, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(March 30, 2012 - Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)

Spezza moves to ‘next stage’ of rehab

Jason Spezza’s recovery from back surgery is progressing, but a return to the Senators’ lineup remains a ways off.

According to Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean, Spezza — the Sens’ leading scorer last season — has moved on to the “next stage” of rehab (past the “public skate” stage) and has had his workload increased.

Spezza still isn’t practicing with the team though, and he’ll need to do that before he returns to game action.

The 29-year-old forward, who finished fourth in the NHL in points (84) last year, underwent surgery to fix a herniated disc on Feb. 1.

Here’s MacLean addressing Spezza’s status:

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.