Ruff challenges Stars: ‘If you have to take a penalty to protect your goaltender, you take a penalty’


The Dallas Stars didn’t react much after Nicklas Backstrom collided with Kari Lehtonen during Saturday’s 2-1 win at the American Airlines Center.

The next time someone contacts Lehtonen, though, it’ll likely draw a response.

That’s what Dallas head coach Lindy Ruff suggested in the wake of Saturday’s game, saying that while the hit on Lehtonen was blatant — “I put that one on the low end,” he explained — the Stars will need to do whatever it takes to protect him in the future.

“First and foremost, if you have to take a penalty to protect your goaltender, you take a penalty,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. “That’s really what it amounts to.

“Nobody takes liberties with your goaltender.”

Here’s the Lehtonen-Backstrom collision:

Ruff’s insight into this topic is interesting. Two seasons ago, while coaching in Buffalo, Ruff watched as Boston’s Milan Lucic bowled over Ryan Miller and wasn’t challenged by any Sabres skaters.

That incident seemed to unravel the team. Paul Gaustad said he was “embarrassed” by the club’s response while Ruff said “I didn’t feel we reacted well to it,” before suggesting if it was open season on goalies, “then let’s get at it.”

On Monday, he said much of the same to the Morning News.

“It doesn’t matter to me who is on the ice,” Ruff said, delivering maybe the most important message of the discussion. “If someone is taking advantage of your goaltender, you all respond…all five guys respond.”

Old school? Ruff was asked.

“Old school,” he said. “Everybody ropes, everybody rides.”

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.