When teams make trades, they’re always trying to improve their own team. Sometimes they’re trying to pull one over on their trade partner. In the case of the Stars and Penguins, who battle tonight in Pittsburgh, they managed to pull off the ever mystical “traded that worked out for both sides.”
When Dallas traded James Neal to Pittsburgh for Alex Goligoski it was instantly viewed to be an instant win for the Penguins. After all, Neal is a young forward with a penchant for scoring goals in bunches. Goligoski was seen to be a good offensive defenseman but a defensive liability for a Pens team deep on the blue line. While Goligoski was an instant success in Dallas, Neal slumped most of last season unable to provide a needed scoring punch.
Fast forward to this year and both players are killing it for their teams as they sit atop their conferences.
Neal is one of the NHL leaders in goals scored and for a team without Sidney Crosby, and at times Evgeni Malkin, getting Neal to live up to his billing when he came in is huge. Goligoski, meanwhile, is helping a Stars blue line produce offense like crazy and helping the Stars stun hockey smart guys all over the place by continuing to win.
Trades don’t always work out for the best for both sides. In this situation though it’s done wonders for both teams in racing out to the lead this season.
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.