Marian Gaborik

Gaborik (collarbone) preparing as if he can return for Columbus on Thursday

Marian Gaborik wasn’t able to heal up enough to participate in the 2014 Olympics, but it sounds like he’ll be back from a broken collarbone before the trade deadline.

The Columbus Blue Jackets’ Web site reports that Gaborik is preparing as if he’ll be ready to go on Thursday. That doesn’t mean the 32-year-old is guaranteed to suit up for that specific game, but it implies that he could be back soon.

“Obviously games are totally different than practice, and it’s hard to mimic a lot of things in practice,” Gaborik said. “But I feel good enough to jump back in and have a good practice tomorrow, then we’ll go from there.”

He already missed 22 games since that injury, which came in his first game back from another ailment. (Gaborik has dealt with such bad injury luck quite a few times in his NHL career, sadly.)

Here’s the Blue Jackets’ schedule before the trade deadline, which very well may act as an audition for the veteran winger, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and isn’t expected to return to the Blue Jackets:

Thursday: at New Jersey
Saturday: vs. Florida
Monday: at Toronto
Tuesday: vs. Dallas

Those three or four games could very well convince a team to roll the dice on the speedy winger, as the Blue Jackets did last season.

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.