When the Montreal Canadiens take on the Dallas Stars tonight, they’ll be doing so without the help of Daniel Briere or Alexei Emelin. Both players are healthy, but coach Michel Therrien isn’t interested in using either of them, according to the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey.
This isn’t the first time Briere has been sent to the press box and on top that, his playing time has been limited this season. The 36-year-old forward is averaging just 12:38 minutes per game after agreeing to a two-year, $8 million contract that runs through 2014-15.
Speaking about contracts that Montreal might regret, the decision to scratch Emelin comes just a couple months after they signed him to a four-year, $16.4 million contract. That deal doesn’t even take effect until next season and already there are causes for concern.
He started the season on the sidelines due to a knee injury and his playing time has dipped from 19:40 minutes per contest in the shortened campaign to just 17:35 since his return. It’s also a discouraging sign for Team Russia when it comes to the 2014 Winter Olympics. Their defensive core was already a significant question mark and Emelin’s struggles serves to further complicate things for them.
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.