Eric Staal (lower body) out a little under a week

The Carolina Hurricanes – and maybe Team Canada’s decision makers – held their breath on Saturday, as Eric Staal left an eventual win against the New York Islanders with a lower-body injury. They can exhale on Sunday, as head coach Kirk Muller said that Staal will only be out five-to-six days, the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander reports.

One would assume that Muller gave that estimate regarding the team’s 29-year-old captain because the Hurricanes have games on Thursday (Jan. 9) and Friday (Jan. 10).

Again, it might not be the Hurricanes alone who are interested in this update. If Staal is on the bubble for Team Canada, a more significant issue could conceivably push him out of the picture. Instead, it sounds like it will come down to whether or not GM Steve Yzerman & Co. believe that he should make the cut.

Staal’s Hurricanes are facing the Nashville Predators on Sunday.

Update: Carolina seemingly dodged a bullet in that Predators game, as Jeff Skinner returned to action despite taking a puck to the face.

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’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.