While the Coyotes are locked into a six-game winning streak at the moment, the road ahead is about to get a lot harder without one of their defensive stalwarts. Ed Jovanovski was placed on injured reserve today with a broken orbital bone that will require surgery to repair. It’s a tough blow for Phoenix as Jovanovski’s presence on the blue line with both some offensive touch and a physical presence capable of intimidation.
If there’s an upside for Phoenix here it’s that they’ve had more than a couple instances this season where they got used to playing without Jovanovski in the lineup as he’s missed 12 games this year with other ailments. With five goals and nine assists this year, Jovanovski has been a solid presence along the blue line for Phoenix and an ideal compliment for the likes of Keith Yandle and Adrian Aucoin.
If Phoenix can weather the storm without Jovanovski and continue their rise in the Western Conference they’ll be better off for it. With the race in the Pacific Division being as close as it is as Phoenix leads by one point and is three ahead of last place, any sort of slip up can be costly. David Schlemko was called up to fill in Jovanovski’s place on the roster.
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.