The NBC Sports Network will exclusively showcase some of the fiercest and historic rivalries in the National Hockey League this upcoming season.
NBC Sports Group announced Friday that the network will carry 24 games throughout the 2013-14 campaign as part of its exclusive Wednesday Night Rivalry coverage, which returns for a second consecutive season.
The Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings have the honor of beginning the weekly rivalry night, as they battle on Oct. 2.
Perhaps the most talked about rivalry game in the opening month of the season will be between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 30.
That night will mark the return of Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh, where he was traded in a blockbuster deal prior to the April deadline this past season.
Iginla, of course, signed with the Bruins – the team he declined a trade to before approving the move to Pittsburgh – as an unrestricted free agent.
Oh, the intrigue.
The rivalry night coverage will also feature one team from north of the border – the Montreal Canadiens will host the Bruins on March 12.
Of all the rivalries in the NHL, the Canadiens and Bruins might have the most longstanding contempt for each other, dating well back to the Original Six era.
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.