The Dallas Stars have been able to make do without Kari Lehtonen of late but tonight they’ll have the Finnish goaltender back between the pipes when they take on the Sharks. Lehtonen has been out with a wonky back and while some Stars fans got nervous having the oft-injured goalie out of the lineup, the injury had nothing to do with issues he’s had in the past while with Atlanta.
Lehtonen last played on December 6th, a shootout loss to Columbus. Since then, Dallas has gone 2-2-0 with Raycroft getting the start in all those games. When he was good, he was solid winning those two games in shootouts. When he was bad, the Stars made it look worse allowing five goals in losses to Chicago and Phoenix. In the Phoenix game, Raycroft was pulled midway through the third period after allowing five goals. Getting full stability and flexibility in goal is key for the Stars to stay on top of things in the Pacific Division.
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.