Not a whole lot has gone right for the Buffalo Sabres this season – particularly when it comes to the hated Boston Bruins – yet for one night, they were the aggressors.
I mean, sure, the Bruins won just about every fight, but all those knuckle sandwiches can’t erase the discomfort of a 6-0 throttling, which included a 36-save shutout for Ryan Miller.
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Buffalo looked downright dominant with their head coach Lindy Ruff watching from the press level, although it’s natural to wonder how different things would be if officials didn’t make a terrible call to disallow what would have been a 1-1 goal. Milan Lucic seemed to score but it was waved off because of a phantom goalie interference call.
(Then again, some might view it as karma biting Lucic back for his prior offenses in November.)
Tuukka Rask took the loss after being pulled early following three quick goals, but Tim Thomas wasn’t that much luckier. He allowed three of his own as even lowly Ville Leino looked explosive for the Sabres.
The bottom line is that the gulf between Buffalo and the playoffs – let alone the Bruins – is still quite large. The slumping Ottawa Senators are nine points ahead at eighth place. The Sabres are also looking up at the Florida Panthers, Winnipeg Jets and even the New York Islanders in the East’s playoff bubble, so their problems won’t just fade with Ottawa’s hopes.
Still, they can at least ponder a nice run after improving to an odd 5-0-4 mark in their last nine home games, or at least bask in the glory of beating up the big, bad Bruins at least once.
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.