Aleksander Barkov’s rookie season was cut short when he sustained a knee injury while playing for Finland in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Nearly five months later, Barkov is still focused on his recovery with the goal of being 100 percent in time for training camp, per the Miami Herald. He attended the Panthers’ development camp, but didn’t participate in the final two days.
“He has nothing to prove to me,” Panthers GM Dale Tallon said. “We brought him in just to look at him, evaluate him. He looks good.”
Barkov was taken with the second overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He had eight goals and 24 points in 52 games before he was shut down.
The Winter Games resulted in several noteworthy injuries and the Panthers also lost Tomas Kopecky (concussion) for the final two months of the season because of the tournament. Those losses contributed to the Panthers breaking an embarrassing NHL record. Nick Bjugstad led the team with just 38 points, which was one less than the previous all-time low for a team scoring leader at the end of an 82-game season.
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.