When Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo signed a new two-year, $1.2 million deal this summer it did a lot of things for him.
One of those things was making sure he got to stay in the organization that drafted him as Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review shares.
“Relieved, actually,” Bortuzzo said Saturday during a players-organized workout at Consol Energy Center. “Getting the contract done was big for me. It showed they believe in me.”
Bortuzzo has one worry put away and another to take care of on the ice as the Penguins have a host of players fighting for ice time. Guys like Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik, and Matt Niskanen would figure to have jobs locked down leaving one spot in the top-six left to compete for.
That leaves Bortuzzo in a battle with Deryk Engelland, Simon Despres, and Brendan Mikkelson for a spot on the team. Bortuzzo’s low cap hit may give him an edge as the team is a million dollars over the cap, something that needs to be addressed before opening night.
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.