Pat LaFontaine (pictured) and the Buffalo Sabres have received permission from Boston to speak with Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning, according to a wide variety of sources, including CSNNE.com.
Numerous reports indicate that Benning joins the following list of candidates: Jason Botterill, Rick Dudley and Paul Fenton. The CBC’s Elliotte Friedman points out that Benning, Botterill and Dudley have some connections to the Buffalo organization.
(For more on Botterill, click here.)
CSNNE.com points out that Benning came over to Boston in 2006 after serving scouting duties with the Sabres. The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa tweets that Benning was in Buffalo when they drafted players including Dennis Wideman and Daniel Paille.
Friedman provides some insight, asking how Benning would feel if the Sabres believe that their rebuild can be a quick one:
I’d love to hear Benning’s answer to this question. His playing career was hurt when Toronto Maple Leafs rushed him (with Fred Boimistruck and Bob McGill) in 1981. He is probably the least known of the candidates. But it was a huge loss (and Boston’s gain) when he left during the Tom Golisano era. Benning has some very big fans in the scouting community. “Do not sleep on his chances,” one source said.
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.