One of the biggest questions going into Game 1 of the Buffalo Sabres-Philadelphia Flyers series is: how will Sergei Bobrovsky play as a rookie with considerable pressure? That question seemed like a knee-jerk reaction to the traditional Flyers’ goalie questions, but it gained validity this morning.
Why? Because Chris Pronger won’t be able to suit up for the Flyers tonight, according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly as well as the Philadelphia Daily News.
While onlookers blamed lethargy or a too-big cushion in the Eastern Conference when explaining Philadelphia’s late season struggles, the biggest problem was not enough Pronger. He has been an absolute game breaker in recent playoff years, turning average goalies to good ones and good goalies to great ones. From Dwayne Roloson in Edmonton, Jean-Sebastien Giguere in Anaheim and the Brian Boucher/Michael Leighton duo in Philly in 2010, there have been quite a few netminders who benefited greatly from the big, mean defenseman’s presence.
Unfortunately, Bob will have to wait for such a luxury.
We’ll let you know if Pronger is expected to miss any more time. Anyone who picked Buffalo over Philadelphia must feel pretty good about their choice right now.
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.