Tampa Bay Lightning v Los Angeles Kings

Sutter extols virtues of learning in the AHL


With homegrown youngsters Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson piling up the points in these playoffs (they have 10 each in 17 games), it’s no wonder the Los Angeles Kings are getting grilled by reporters about their successful drafting and developing methods.

Yesterday, coach Darryl Sutter was asked if there was a “common trait” that he’d noticed in the players’ progressions from prospects to key contributors.

“What they have to do is learn how to train,” Sutter said, per LA Kings Insider. “They have to train to be an NHLer first and foremost, because they’re drafted when they’re 18 and they’re boys. … First off, they have to do that, and then I think an adjustment when they turn pro is learning the pro lifestyle, and they should learn it at the American League level first, and then the next part of that is the adjustment from the American League level to the National Hockey League level in terms of how you practice.”

Toffoli and Pearson are each graduates of the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Manchester. Ditto for Dustin Brown, Trevor Lewis, Dwight King, Jake Muzzin, Slava Voynov, Alec Martinez, and Jonathan Quick.

Which is why a team like Pittsburgh is focusing on scouting and player development in its search for a new general manager. It’s hard to win a Stanley Cup without doing those things successfully.

Like the Kings, the Chicago Blackhawks have drafted and developed well, and it’s paid off with two championships since 2010. And just look at the success the New York Rangers — one win away from the Cup Final — are enjoying with the help of their AHL graduates, including Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Chris Kreider, and Mats Zuccarello.

“Most of the kids are going to get stronger and get bigger, and then the lifestyle, that’s a big one,” said Sutter. “And then it’s not just to play here; be able to help your team.”

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.