After missing the first four games of the year with a shoulder injury, Detroit’s Jordin Tootoo will make his regular-season debut on Saturday against the Flyers.
Tootoo, 30, hurt his shoulder during a preseason win over Boston on Sept. 19 and was medically cleared to play on Wednesday.
Back-to-back losses from the Red Wings — 4-1 and 4-2 defeats to Boston and Phoenix — prompted a lineup shuffle, one that sees Tootoo draw onto a line with Luke Glendening and Drew Miller.
As for what head coach Mike Babcock is expecting from Tootoo?
“I want him to be Toots,” Babcock told the Detroit News. “I want him to be solid without the puck, make good plays on the wall and be all over their defense.”
It stands to reason Tootoo will somehow find himself tangling with Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo tonight. The pair have a history — Tootoo injured Rinaldo’s neck with a big hit in Jan. 2012, only for Rinaldo to return the favor a month later:
“I didn’t know I hit him until I connected with him and I was like ‘Ohhh, that’s Tootoo,’ ” Rinaldo told Philly.com. “I thought it was a pretty clean hit, so that’s cool.”
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.