After 11-game absence, Coyle returns to Wild lineup tonight (Update: Brodin back too)


Charlie Coyle will return from a knee injury tonight from Minnesota, and he’ll do it on a new-look line.

Coyle, who’s played just two games this season, will suit up for the first time in 11 contests on Friday against Montreal, on a unit featuring leading scorer Zach Parise and one of either Justin Fontaine or Dany Heatley.

“The guys are excited and anxious to try it out,’’ head coach Mike Yeo told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “But it’s one thing to do it in practice and another to do it in a game.’’

The Wild, who have been erratic offensively this season, are once again shaking things up at forward in the hope of finding the right line combinations (some argue all the line switching prevents building chemistry, but that’s another discussion for another time.)

Mikael Granlund will center Matt Cooke and Jason Pominville, while captain Mikko Koivu will play between Kyle Brodziak and Nino Niederreiter.

Yeo suggested the moves prevent Minnesota from having one true “checking line,” spreading the offense out evenly across all three units. That said, Yeo was adamant his club doesn’t lose any defensive prowess up front with the new look.

“It’s easy to look at what [Granlund] has done offensively in the last little bit, but it started with his defensive game,’’ Yeo said. “There’s no reason why Charlie shouldn’t be very effective at that, too. [He has] a big body, he’s a smart hockey player, he moves well.

“And obviously Mikko [Koivu], we have no concerns about him going against top guys.”


Defenseman Jonas Brodin will be back in tonight as well, after missing the last three games with a broken cheekbone.

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.