The 2012 All-Star Game will miss Alex Ovechkin’s presence, but so far, the Washington Capitals are managing without him.
They managed to beat the mighty Boston Bruins 5-3 in the first contest of their captain’s three-game suspension. Mathieu Perrault nearly doubled his season total of goals to seven by scoring three tonight, including the game-winner:
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It’s pretty impressive that the Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green-less Capitals managed to beat the defending champions, even with Tuukka Rask in place of Tim Thomas.
This is a nice way for the Capitals to head into the All-Star break, especially after the Florida Panthers fell to the Philadelphia Flyers in a shootout. Both teams are tied with 55 points but Washington has 26 wins to Florida’s 22. (The Panthers are subsisting on “charity points,” by the way. They’ve lost 11 games in shootouts or overtime and have six shootout victories.)
The Capitals will play two more games without Ovi after the break, including a significant contest against the Panthers in Florida on Feb. 1. If they can keep their heads above water while their captain stews because of that suspension, then this team could very well take control of the lowly Southeast Division.
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.