There might have only been six games tonight, but two of them produced moments that haven’t happened since 2007.
First there was the first goalie fight in years, as Brent Johnson used his long arms to drop Rick DiPietro with one punch. Yet the true star of the night might be Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen, who became the first NHL player to score five goals in one regular season game since Marian Gaborik did it against the New York Rangers in 2007.
Franzen’s first goal involved some dirty work in front of the Ottawa Senators net. His second one was a nice bit of passing between himself, Todd Bertuzzi and Henrik Zetterberg. He earned his third goal – his first regular season hat trick – was set up by a nice outlet pass by Zetterberg. Goal number four came on a five on three power play, as Franzen showed poise, waiting as the puck hit his skate from the boards. The stout Swede sealed his three-goal third period and five-goal night with an empty-netter to help the Red Wings win a wide open game 7-5.
Check out video footage of all five of his goals below. It was truly a great night for “The Mule.”
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.