This week’s edition of the NHL Three Stars of the Week had that special playoff flavor to it and Sabres forward Thomas Vanek led the way as the number one star of the week. Vanek helped the Sabres into the playoffs this past week and had a pair of three point games. Vanek’s hat trick against Tampa Bay and his game winning goal along with two assists against Philadelphia helped put the Sabres into the playoffs. Vanek sat out against Columbus in their season finale. Two games and six points is pretty sexy nonetheless and now Vanek will lead the Sabres against the Flyers in the postseason. The Flyers will be hoping he got all that scoring out of his system last week.
Vincent Lecavalier finished the week with four goals and an assist while leading the Lightning to the fifth seed in the East and helping Tampa Bay go 2-1-0 on the week. Lecavalier is the Lightning captain and his scoring has picked up at the right time of year. He’s not the 100 points per season Vinny anymore, but his work in support of Martin St. Louis and Steve Stamkos is solid and they’re hoping that his Stanley Cup experience can help them go deep in the playoffs.
Dan Ellis may not be the guy that Ducks fans expected to help them secure the fourth seed in the Western Conference, but they’re happy he did. Ellis’ week going 2-0-0 with a 1.21 goals against average and a .964 save percentage in three appearances last week helped him land as the third star of the week. Ellis now heads into the playoffs looking like he might just be their starter against his former team in Nashville. With Ray Emery hobbled and Jonas Hiller slow in returning to form from vertigo, Ellis could very well be the man in goal. He’ll need to be strong to put up with Nashville 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.