The Lightning did pretty well in Game 2 against the Capitals without Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina as they pulled off an overtime win to take a 2-0 series lead.
Without Gagne to help the offense and Kubina to help steady the defense, the Lightning called on Blair Jones and Randy Jones to fill the lineup. Those two combined to play just under 12 minutes total in Game 2.
It’s a good thing they got to test how well they’d do without them because they’re not going to have either of them in the lineup for tonight’s Game 3 and very likely won’t have them for tomorrow’s Game 4.
Tarik El-Bashir from The Washington Post gets the update from Guy Boucher in which he lays down the truth rather obviously.
“Simon and Kubina are not going to play,” he said. “If I want them to play tomorrow, I better start praying.”
Then the coach came clean and delivered the best lines of the series.
“They are day-to-day today,” he cracked, “except for today and tomorrow.”
Considering how the Lightning have been matching up with the Capitals, the parts of their defensive-minded machine are all interchangeable. No Gagne? Fine, we’ll give more minutes to Sean Bergenheim or Nate Thompson. No Kubina? All right fine, get out there Mattias Ohlund or Eric Brewer.
It might be frustrating what the Lightning are doing to the Capitals, but it’s working like a charm for them. Sure they’ve had their fair share of fortunate bounces mixed in there as well, but when things are going well for a team those things happen. The Caps have to find a way to make the Lightning feel uncomfortable. Getting a two goal lead on them might be the thing to do it but getting the Caps to score two goals quickly like that is asking a lot out of them against the staunch Lightning defense.
If the Caps aren’t able to take advantage of a banged up Tampa team with Games 3 and 4 being on back-to-back days, perhaps the Caps just weren’t prepared to challenge for the Stanley Cup after all.
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.