Here’s a blast from the past.
According to Lejionat in Finland, former Flyers/Oilers/Islanders/Stars/Canadiens defenseman Janne Niinimaa has retired from hockey.
The 38-year-old Finnish blue liner hasn’t been in the NHL since 2006-07 when he was with Montreal and spent the past six seasons playing in Sweden and Switzerland.
Niinimaa played in 743 career NHL games and had 54 goals and 319 points as well as 733 penalty minutes. The bulk of his NHL career was spent with the Edmonton Oilers where he played just over five seasons. He was a second-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers back in 1993.
He may be most notable for being part of one of the worst trades made in recent history by the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs acquired Niinimaa and a fifth-round pick from the Stars in exchange for Mike Ribeiro and a sixth-round pick. Whoops.
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.