Pens GM shakes off playoff pressure


Coming into a situation with players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury means that people are likely to expect big things from a general manager.

Still, hockey is a game with a lot more random luck than some other sports, making that pressure occasionally daunting. Penguins GM Ray Shero spoke with The National Post about dealing with annual Stanley Cup expectations, tough competition and other elements of his high-profile gig.

“It’s a deflection off a save, it’s a bounce,” Shero said. “We’ve experienced it in a positive way and a negative way, too. It changes quickly, you know? And everybody experiences it, and you go through it in every playoff series when you win, and you bring it back, and you say holy [expletive], we moved on. And every team that wins a Cup is lucky. You’ve got to be good, and you’ve got to be lucky.”

Shero acknowledged that the advantages of his roster, but noted that having high-end talent doesn’t automatically make it all easy.

“It’s nice to have young players and do this, but it’s about eventually winning, and this group did it in a relatively quick period, and people thought it might be easy,” Shero said. “But it’s not. Whether it’s through injury or other teams’ goaltending or poor play on our own part, or … [expletive] comes in. And with the salary cap, it’s pretty even. I don’t think you can take it for granted, and this is really hard. Which is good. This is a good position to be in, because you’ve got a chance. I mean, it’s not bad. You try to take advantage of it, but we’re respectful of the teams in the league.”

Even if teams like the Boston Bruins want to play up that “David vs. Goliath” vibe.

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.