If Saturday proves anything, it’s that Calgary Flames exec/interim GM Brian Burke is still running with that “truculence” meme.
The Flames recalled Chad Billins and signed free agent Bryce Van Brabant to an entry-level contract today. Burke rolled out some of his favorite buzzwords to the Calgary Sun’s Wes Gilbertson regarding Van Brabant (pictured wearing No. 12 in this post’s main photo).
“He plays Brian Burke hockey,” Burke said of the 22-year-old forward. “A big, hard-nosed, heavy player. He plays heavy hockey.”
” … He’s got proper levels of truculence. We’re going to see what he can do.”
(One almost anticipates that Burke wanted to say, “And he can sure spell intense.”)
While Van Brabant is a rugged forward, Billins is an under-sized scoring defenseman, as the Canadian Press’ Stephen Whyno notes.
He’s not the only Flames youngster who is drawing attention despite a lack of size, either. The Calgary Sun shares a great piece regarding Martin St. Louis’ advice to prospect Johnny Gaudreau.
“It’s all about speed. Size doesn’t matter. It’s all about speed,” St. Louis said.
As the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater notes, Saturday went pretty well for Gaudreau and Boston College.
But the question is … will Gaudreau and Billins prove truculent enough?
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.