“We have a commitment from (owner) Vinnie Viola to win, and to go after the top players in free agency and make this team a winning team right away. That’s what we’re selling.”
That was Panthers general manager Dale Tallon today (audio), sounding a lot like a guy who plans to be extremely busy this summer.
Tallon’s already made one big offseason move, firing coach Peter Horachek, a rookie NHL bench boss the GM deemed “not quite the right fit.”
In replacing Horacek, Tallon plans to interview “a lot of candidates,” but “more NHL head-coaching experience” is a definite requirement.
Tallon confirmed that Peter Laviolette is on the list of candidates, and he called Barry Trotz a “hell of a coach,” so you can assume he’s on the list, too.
You can also assume that Tallon will be working hard to make trades. The Panthers are stocked with young assets, and the GM made it clear he was willing to deal some of them for “the right NHL players.”
Related: Panthers owner tellsTallon he can spend to cap
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.