Roberto Luongo's confidence returning?

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luongo.jpgIf the Vancouver Canucks have aspirations of going any deeper in the
playoffs than the second round, they’ll need Roberto Luongo to be just a
bit more consistent. He has the ability to be an elite goaltender, and
is routinely considered one of the top netminders in the NHL. Yet there
are times when he falls apart mentally, forgets his mechanics and
positioning and is wholly beatable.

Last night, as
Jason Botchford of The Province writes,
Luongo finally looked a bit
like the goaltender the Canucks will need him to be. After his big save
in overtime, it seems that Luongo may be feeling it as well.

“Quick had just made one on the 2-on-1 with Henk,” Luongo said.
“After I made the first save on Smitty, the puck jumped and hit their
guy in the leg. As it was coming back, I knew I got a piece of it. But I
felt I didn’t get the whole thing.

“I was able to swing back and
swipe it away. It was just a reaction. It just came naturally, to react
that way.

“The OT was the best I felt all game.”

Luongo came out of the Olympic break with a gold medal around his neck
and some messed up mechanics in net. He wasn’t confident, he wasn’t
making the big save and he was entirely mediocre. In fact, he wasn’ very
good at all.

Despite a 9-5-1 record after the Olympics, Luongo was yanked twice
after allowing an atrocious amount of bad goals and in those 15 games
had a very, very poor save percentage of .871.

Watching the game last night, he looked just as uncomfortable in the
the first two periods and truly didn’t start to settle down until
overtime started.

Will that confidence carry over for the rest of the playoffs? The
Canucks sure hope so.

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’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.