Going into tonight’s Minnesota Wild-Toronto Maple Leafs game, it seemed like Leafs coach Ron Wilson would be the biggest story. Wilson was the guy who broke up one of the NHL’s most explosive combos in Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, after all.
The Wild’s coach ended up being the biggest source of controversy instead, however, as Mike Yeo provided some candid criticisms of his free-falling team after they lost 4-1.
“I’ve been coaching for quite awhile, and I’ve been part of a lot of games I didn’t like,” Yeo said. “This one ranks right up there.”
“We can get mad at the refs, but it’s not their fault … We have to take a good long look at ourselves.”
Yeo’s team is now on an 11-game win-less streak in road games, going 0-9-2. Ultimately, the new-look Leafs beat the same-old Wild as Minnesota’s anemic offense has only managed 11 goals in that 11-game span.
Minnesota beat writer Michael Russo captures the frustration of that futility almost as well as Yeo did:
Minnesota has been out-scored 35-11 during its nightmare 11-game road slump.
Strangely enough, both the Maple Leafs and Wild are now located at ninth place in their respective conferences with 51 points. It’s not tough to imagine that the mood is far more positive in Toronto than it is in Minnesota right now, though.
Here are the highlights (or lowlights, if you’re a Wild fan).
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.