The Detroit Red Wings took a significant risk when they signed Stephen Weiss to a five-year, $24.5 million contract over the summer.
The original hope was that Weiss could serve as the team’s second-line center, which would allow Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to play together on the first line. That’s a role Weiss has historically been qualified for, but that was back when he was playing in a comparatively low pressure situation in Florida.
On top of that, Weiss had just four points in 17 contests in an injury-filled 2013 campaign. So essentially they were signing him to a long-term deal based on the hope that his most recent showing was an anomaly. It wasn’t.
Weiss has again run into injury problems this season and hasn’t been able to produce even when he has played, which has thrown a wrench in the Red Wings’ plans. At least he can use the Olympic break to continue his recovery from a sports hernia.
To that end he’s going back to his Ontario Hockey League roots. Starting on Tuesday, he’ll be skating with the Plymouth Whalers.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Weiss told the Detroit Free Press. “It should hopefully spark something.”
If all goes well, he’ll join the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins before the Olympic break is over on a conditioning stint. From there he could be back in Detroit’s lineup when the team resumes its schedule on Feb. 26.
Of course, he knows that getting healthy again is just the beginning of his professional recovery.
“I’ve gotta claw my way back into the lineup, and whatever role I’m given, just try to help the team in whatever way they want me to,” Weiss said.
Detroit could certainly still use him as they try to squeak into the postseason.
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.