Mikael Samuelsson had a great 30-goal season even despite missing some time, but that might just be a mild appetizer if his first playoff game as a Vancouver Canuck is any indication.
The Swedish center has been one of the main beneficiaries of the quantum leap the Sedin twins made this season. I mentioned this on Twitter already, but I must ask again: can you think of any other player(s) who performed so well after signing a big contract? Specifically, someone in hockey who actually became better after losing that monetary carrot?
Anyway, Samuelsson scored from the slot after Henrik Sedin sent the puck his way. The goal came shortly after both Roberto Luongo and Jonathan Quick made some amazing saves. The Canucks won the game 3-2 in the first overtime, joining the Phoenix Coyotes as the only two teams to win their first game at home (to be fair, Chicago is late to the party with a Saturday game 1).
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.