Happy returns: Red Wings edge Panthers 4-3

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The Detroit Red Wings got Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader back on Saturday, and as an added bonus, they also beat the Florida Panthers 4-3.

Zetterberg himself yielded immediate dividends, as he scored his 12th goal of the season. Abdelkader didn’t collect a point tonight, but the Red Wings are likely happy to have that physical force back in the lineup (three hits).

Maybe tonight’s victory doesn’t sound very impressive out of context – Florida has now lost three games in a row – but the Panthers beat Detroit twice in a row, so there must be a feeling of relief for the Red Wings.

It’s another relief that the Red Wings have been curiously stronger on the road (now 12-3-3 away from Hockeytown) compared to how mediocre they have been in Detroit (6-10-6), because they’re readying for a tough run of games. They face the Predators in Nashville on Monday, “host” Toronto outdoors on Wednesday and then play five straight games on the road against tough Pacific Division competition.

At least they’re getting healthier as that tough stretch (and the 2014 Winter Classic) approaches.

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.