Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men

Russia goes back to Varlamov for Slovakia game

The day after Sergei Bobrovsky lost a legendary shootout to T.J. Oshie and the United States, Russia will turn to Semyon Varlamov in goal versus Slovakia.

It’s not clear why coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov made the decision. Varlamov started Russia’s first game of the preliminary round, stopping 12 of the 14 shots he faced in a 5-2 victory Thursday versus Slovenia.

But the fact Bobrovksy got the nod in the biggest game of the preliminary round — and played well despite the shootout loss — suggests he’ll be the man once the win-or-else games begin. Varlamov is more than capable of beating Slovenia, allowing Bobrovsky to rest up from last night’s lengthy, emotional contest.

Of course, the most interesting Russian line-up decision has yet to be announced. Will Bilyaletdinov follow through on his word and scratch Alexander Radulov? We’ll let you know as soon as we know.

Related: Five thoughts from U.S.-Russia…which was a good game

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.