Niklas Kronwall, Patrik Elias

Czechs’ Elias (illness) good to play against U.S.

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The Czechs need all the help they can get when they take on the United States in the quarterfinals, so it should come as a relief to the squad that forward Patrik Elias is ready to return from an illness, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus.

Elias missed the Czechs’ final round robin game against Switzerland and their qualification match against Slovakia as a result of the disease. Before that, Elias had an assist in two Olympic contests.

He’s another member of the old guard that was included on the Czech Republic’s roster, but he’s certainly still effective at the age of 37. He has scored 11 goals and registered 22 assists in 44 games with the New Jersey Devils this season.

The Czech Republic’s preliminary round showing left something to be desired and the team nearly coughed up a four-goal lead against Slovakia in the qualification round. On top of that, goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will have a very tough time holding his own against the Americans. At the same time, the Czechs have a considerable amount of NHL talent and plenty of Olympic experience to lean on, so they can’t be ruled out going into today’s match.

The quarterfinal match between the Czech Republic and United States will start at 12 p.m. ET and can be watched on the USA Network or watched online.

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.