Every Tuesday at PHT, we’ll pump a player’s tire. Because every player likes it when nice things are said about them.
This week’s tire pumpee: Curtis Sanford, Columbus Blue Jackets
Based on the Jackets’ past three games, it’s almost like goaltending is a really important part of hockey. Columbus is 2-0-1 with Sanford starting in net. The 32-year-old has a 1.46 goals-against average with a .943 save percentage, numbers that stand in stark contrast to Steve Mason’s 3.63 and .875, respectively.
Look, nobody’s about to say the Jackets would be a winning team if Sanford had been the starter from the beginning – Mason hasn’t been their only problem – but it sure makes you wonder where they’d be compared to now. Would making the playoffs still be a realistic goal? Because it’s not now. To match the record the Blackhawks snuck in with last season, Columbus would have to go 39-16-7 in its last 62 games.
In case you’re wondering why it took so long to get Sanford into action, it would’ve been sooner – unfortunately, he hurt his groin during a practice on Oct. 18 and had to sit out a month.
It’s been a long road back to the NHL for Sanford, who spent the past two seasons with Hamilton of the AHL. But now he’s back and bailing out his teammates with saves like these:
Curtis Sanford, everyone.
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.