Leafs’ Bozak (oblique) on IR, out for ‘extended period’

Tyler Bozak’s nightmare campaign continued on Thursday, as the Leafs announced an MRI revealed his injury to be a strained oblique muscle — one that will keep him out of the Toronto lineup for an “extended period” of time.

Bozak, 27, only recently returned from a lower-body ailment that cost him 12 games. Considering he also missed Toronto’s final two playoff games with a different injury, it’s safe to say that ’13 has been a somewhat forgettable year — aside from the fact he signed a five-year, $21 million extension with Toronto in July.

The Bozak injury further depletes Toronto’s depth at forward. Dave Bolland will be out for the foreseeable future with a severed Achilles tendon, Joffrey Lupul is on IR with a groin strain and Colton Orr is out with an elbow injury.

If there is some good new for Toronto, it’s that Phil Kessel will be in the lineup tonight vs. Dallas after bailing on practice yesterday because he “didn’t feel good in one area of his body.”

In a related move, Toronto called up center Jerry D’Amigo from the AHL Marlies on Thursday.

UPDATE: The Leafs have placed Bozak on injured reserve.

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 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.