Ryan Malone

Tampa Bay’s Malone (upper body) should be ready for opener

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Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone is battling injury yet again, but it looks like he’ll be ready for the season opener.

Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports Malone is working through an upper body issue that will keep him out of their preseason finale tonight against Florida. Coach Jon Cooper says, however, that Malone should be ready for the season opener on Thursday against Boston.

Malone tells Missy Zielinski of the Lightning website it’s all about making sure he’s good to go for the regular season.

“We just thought it was best to kind of relax and make sure everything’s still good,” Malone said. “There’s really no concern, it is just part of the plan to make sure you’re ready for game one.”

Malone is a key component of Tampa Bay’s forward attack but staying healthy has always been an issue in his career.

Last season he missed 24 games, half of the schedule, and has missed a total of 91 games in his five seasons with the Lightning. If missing a preseason game helps keep him in the lineup when the games count, the team will take it.

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 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.