The Oilers got more bad news on the injury front on Monday, as alternate captain Ryan Smyth returned to Edmonton with one game remaining on the club’s Eastern road swing.
Smyth, 37, appeared to be hurt at some point during Saturday’s 3-1 win over Ottawa, a game in which fellow Oiler Taylor Hall also left after a knee-on-knee collision with Sens defenseman Eric Gryba.
Hall has already been flown back to Edmonton for a MRI; it’s unclear what Smyth has returned for, as the club only said he’ll be looked at by its medical staff.
Smyth was a healthy scratch earlier in the season but had picked up his game lately. The veteran winger scored three goals in back-to-back games against Montreal and Toronto last week and had nine shots on goal in his last two games, against the Isles and Sens.
Edmonton finishes its three-game roadie on Tuesday against Montreal. The club has recalled forward Tyler Pitlick from AHL Oklahoma City to fill the voids left by Smyth and Hall.
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.