It was a good news/bad news day for both 2013 first-round picks of the Buffalo Sabres.
First up, the good news. Eighth overall pick, defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, has made the team. After an impressive training camp, he made the cut as Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald shares.
At 6’3″ 207 pounds, he’s been a physical player and a smart one through camp for Buffalo. It also marks the second year in a row the team’s top pick has made the team out of camp (Mikhail Grigorenko did last year).
The bad news centers around 16th overall pick Nikita Zadorov. He injured his finger blocking a shot on Friday night and will miss two weeks of action as Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News shares. Coach Ron Rolston says his finger was “smashed” at the tip. Gross.
Rolston says his injury status won’t dictate if he makes the team. More from Hoppe:
“Will we keep him?” Rolston asked. “We’ll have to discuss that. It’s two weeks. We could have him here and he could be working out and be on the ice because it’s not anything lower body.”
Buffalo is poised to be one of the youngest teams in the league. Keeping a pair of first-round picks from this year’s draft and last year’s (Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons) would make them a very green team.
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.