Evgeny Kuznetsov

Oates trying to not get too excited about Kuznetsov’s play

Washington Capitals rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov had a heck of a breakout game against Vancouver on Friday night.

After notching his first three NHL assists against the Canucks, Caps fans are excited about the arrival of the 2010 first-round pick. Washington coach Adam Oates, however, is trying to keep everyone’s excitement in check as Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com shares.

“I really want to caution about getting to far ahead,” Oates said. “He made a couple good plays. Good. He can make a couple boneheads tomorrow. He’s a good hockey player, he’s played pro hockey, even though it’s over there. Do I expect him to make that pass to Willy? It was a great pass. Awesome. Is he learning? Yeah, I hope so. But I also want to caution myself on the wow factor.”

We’re sure some fans in Washington are going to look at Oates being like a wet blanket, but it’s true that one game doesn’t make a career.

At 21 years old, Kuznetsov could have a long NHL career ahead of him. At this point, however, he’s just three games into it. If he can keep up the solid play from Friday night, he won’t be going away any time soon.

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 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.