Derek Stepan close to ready for regular season


Derek Stepan agreed to terms with the New York Rangers, but only after missing the vast majority of the preseason. He won’t get to practice with the Rangers until Sunday, but he doesn’t seem too concerned about his readiness for the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

“I’m not far off,” Stepan told the New York Post. “There are going to be some times where I need to catch up a little bit, but I don’t think I’m that far off.”

Stepan took part in practices with his old team at the University of Wisconsin while he was still a restricted free agent.

This was a trying process for both sides and one that led Rangers GM Glen Sather to remark that he hopes Stepan gets a “little wiser” mere days before the signing. Still, that’s in the past now.

“There’s no bitterness. At a young age in my career I got to see the business side of it,” said Stepan.

He will get another taste of the business side of the game in the summer of 2015 and if he continues to perform like he did in 2013, he will get another big raise at that time.

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’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.