Willie Desjardins will have some familiar faces around him when he begins his first-ever NHL coaching gig in Vancouver this fall.
On Wednesday, the Canucks signed former Dallas center Dustin Jeffrey. The move reunites Jeffrey with Desjardins, his coach in AHL Texas — Jeffrey split last year between the NHL and AHL but played a key role in Texas’ Calder Cup championship, scoring seven goals and 12 points in 19 playoff games.
The Jeffrey acquisition follows earlier, and similar, moves from new GM Canucks Jim Benning. Prior to the NHL Entry Draft, Benning acquired Derek Dorsett from the New York Rangers — Desjardins coached Dorsett for three years in WHL Medicine Hat — then, on the second day of the draft, Benning went out and acquired Linden Vey from the Los Angeles Kings.
Vey and Desjardins have quite the history together from their time in Medicine Hat. After two years under Desjardins, Vey scored a whopping 116 points in 2010-11 — the most points scored by a Tiger in over 15 years. Vey finished as the Western league’s top scorer (ahead of Tyler Johnson, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Johansen) and was named a first-team all star.
In short, ex-Desjardins players looking for work might want to give Vancouver a call.
In addition to Jeffrey, the Canucks also signed a pair of former OHL standouts in Cal O’Reilly and Bobby Sanguinetti on Wednesday. O’Reilly joined Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica last year after leaving the KHL, scoring 45 points in 52 games for the Comets; Sanguinetti, the 21st overall pick at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, spent last year with KHL Moscow Oblast Atlant and had seven points in 15 games.
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.