The Chicago Blackhawks don’t know who they’re facing in the second round just yet, but they’re getting a pair of key players back for it.
Coach Joel Quenneville says center Dave Bolland (groin) and goalie Ray Emery (lower body), who both missed the first-round against Minnesota, will be ready to go for the start of the second-round reports Tracey Myers of CSNChicago.com.
Bolland skated on the third line with Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw at practice today. That sets the ‘Hawks up to be even more difficult to deal with as the playoffs go on.
Emery’s return is a bit less ballyhooed as Corey Crawford’s outstanding play against the Wild helped silence doubters about his play in goal. Still, should injury or poor play occur the Blackhawks are better off having Emery backing him up than youngster Carter Hutton.
Chicago will face either San Jose or Detroit in the next round of the playoffs depending on what happens in Game 7 between the Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks.
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.