The New Jersey Devils made their big trade for Ilya Kovalchuk almost specifically for his offensive firepower for the playoffs. Yet through three games, he has just one goal (an empty-netter), and six shots and his line is causing nothing but frustration for the Devils fans and their coach.
Rich Chere of the The Star-Ledger talked with Devils coach Jacques Lemaire, who said this about the line:
“I look at the whole line. The whole line didn’t get much. They
didn’t get a lot of shots or create a lot,” Lemaire answered. “They
worked more individually at times. Probably because they’re not getting
any points and they want to get points. It’s not the proper way to work.
“We always say your top players have to be the best players on the
ice. That’s how it’s going to be for the team that will win.”
Captain Jamie Langenbrunner, who has had a very frustrating past month or so himself, defending Kovalchuk and blamed himself for not giving Kovalchuk the chance to be the “finisher” he’s known to be. Langenbrunner has just one assist and seven shots and has been completely invisible for the Devils; not exactly the effort and production you need from your captain.
The Devils should have been wary. Even though it’s just a small sample size, Kovalchuk had just two points in four games in his previous playoff experience, and he’s not exactly used to playing in the pressure cooker atmosphere that comes with playing in the playoffs.
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.