The St. Louis Blues seemed pretty formidable even with some noteworthy players out of the lineup, so they could be even scarier with a couple back. They’ll get captain David Backes and defenseman Jordan Leopold back against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Backes, 29, missed the last three games with an upper-body injury that may or may not be related to a similar injury from earlier this season.
Leopold, 33, sat out 26 contests thanks to surgery on his right hand.
These two returns continues a healthier upswing for St. Louis, as they got Ryan Reaves back on Thursday.
That’s not to say the Blues are at full-strength, however, as Jake Allen is backing up Brian Elliott because Jaroslav Halak continues to struggle with his illness. With a four-game winning streak and victories in six of their last seven contests (6-0-1), the Blues haven’t exactly been hurting, but it never hurts to get valuable players back.
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.