The transaction wire was busy today as teams sent down their eligible players to the American Hockey League for the duration of Olympic Break. Here’s a breakdown of who’s headed back to the farm for two weeks:
Tampa Bay: The Lightning sent forward Vladimir Namestnikov and goalie Kristers Gudlevskis back to AHL Syracuse. Namestnikov made his NHL debut against Detroit last night and Gudlevskis is off to Sochi where he’ll play goal for Latvia.
Phoenix: The Coyotes sent forward Tim Kennedy (pictured) and defenseman Connor Murphy back to Portland. Kennedy has two goals and eight points this season and Murphy has a goal and eight points himself.
New Jersey: The Devils sent 22-year-old defenseman Jon Merrill back to Albany. Merrill has impressed lately and scored the game-winning goal in overtime, his first career goal, on Friday against Edmonton. He and two other young blue liners have been the focus of some attention lately among Devils faithful.
Vancouver: The Canucks sent four players back to Utica in the AHL. Forwards Kellen Lain and Pascal Pelletier and defensemen Yann Sauve and Frank Corrado will spend Olympic break in Central New York after helping fill holes in the injury-riddled Canucks lineup of late.
Washington: The Capitals sent three players to Hershey. Forward Casey Wellman and defensemen Julien Brouillette and Patrick Wey were sent back to the AHL. For Brouillette, his brief stay in D.C. was a memorable one as he scored his first career NHL goal against New Jersey on Saturday.
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.