Forgive some hockey fans if they feel a little nostalgic about this afternoon’s goalie matchup between Brian “Don’t call me Bobby” Boucher and Chris Osgood. Boucher’s first tenure with the Flyers came from 99-02 while Osgood is a longtime Red Wing himself (despite bouncing around to the Islanders and Blues as well).
Both goalies are dealing with forgettable seasons.
For Osgood, he ceded the No. 1 spot to Calder-Vezina-dare-some-say-Hart candidate Jimmy Howard. You cannot blame the Red Wings for turning away from the guy who seemingly only wakes up for the playoffs; Osgood only produced 8 wins in 22 starts with a pathetic 89 percent save percentage. Today will mark his first start in months and one must wonder if he’ll even get the chance to prove that the playoffs are his time to shine since Howard has earned the chance to prove himself.
In the case of Boucher, he seems to be the last goalie standing in Philadelphia. With Ray Emery and Michael Leighton suffering ill-timed season-ending injuries (though one must wonder if there’s ever a good time for a goalie’s year to be over), the team is forced to place all their hopes in the journeyman backup. His 6-17-3 record indicates that he’s meant to be the second banana – or play in the AHL – during this stage of his career.
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.