You don’t make a coaching change this late in the season unless there’s something seriously wrong and you’re trying to fight for one last shot at the postseason. For Leafs GM Brian Burke, firing Ron Wilson and hiring Randy Carlyle all came about because the season spiraled out of control for the Leafs.
How badly though? Burke sums it up nicely during his press conference introducing Carlyle as the new coach.
“I’ve never had a team fall off a cliff like this before,” Burke said.
“This is akin to an 18-wheeler going off a cliff. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life, I don’t know what happened.”
With the Leafs having won just once in their last 11 games, it’ll be up to Carlyle to find a way to make sure that 18-wheeler finds a soft landing and helps Toronto perhaps make the playoffs. Does Randy Carlyle have a Superman outfit under the suit?
If he can’t turn things around, as Burke said during the presser, it’s about getting a head start on next season with Carlyle in place. It seems desperate now, but with the Eastern Conference being an abject mess with no one seemingly wanting to win, Toronto has as good of a shot as any other team. If they get hot, it can be done. Being five points out of eighth right now, however, doesn’t make things easy.
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.