Marian Hossa skated with the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time Thursday after sitting out some time with an upper-body injury. Head coach Joel Quenneville told ESPN Chicago that the 34-year-old might play in the team’s regular season opener next Tuesday.
“He skated a lot,” Quenneville said. “I thought he skated well in the Notre Dame segment and back here for a few days. He’s been off for probably a week now, but I think if he’s ready, he’ll definitely play. If not, we got time in between after [the season opener.] We’re shooting for Tuesday.”
Quenneville is correct; the Blackhawks have a pretty conveniently staggered schedule so they can pick and choose when Hossa returns, or even give him an extra breather. Here’s how their first three games play out before the grind really starts:
Tuesday, Oct. 1: season and home opener against Washington
Saturday, Oct. 5: home against Tampa Bay
Wednesday, Oct. 9: at St. Louis
As you can see, the Blackhawks could give Hossa a significant amount of extra rest if they merely hold him out two or three extra games. They could also ease him into the lineup if he plays all those contests, too.
All things considered, it’s probably an ideal initial setup considering Chicago’s challenging Stanley Cup run.
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.