Last night’s 1-0 Flyers win over the Capitals didn’t come without its share of drama. While Ilya Bryzgalov was busy earning accolades for the shutout, questions surrounded the absence of Alex Ovechkin during the second period.
For over seven minutes following the only goal of the game, Ovechkin sat planted at the end of the bench. Perhaps because he admittedly turned the puck over then later failed to block the shot that led to the goal.
“It’s tough loss for us, I think,” Ovechkin told reporters. “My mistake cost us two points and it cost us the game.”
Coach Dale Hunter, meanwhile, denied he benched his leading scorer.
“Guys, it’s not a benching. Maybe he missed a shift. Guys, I was matching lines,” Hunter explained. “I definitely was matching lines, it was one of those things that he wasn’t the right match up. I didn’t want him against [Jaromir] Jagr and Jagr’s line.”
Fair enough. But when a guy sits for over seven minutes, that sure seems like a benching.
And if Ovechkin was being taught a lesson in accountability, as CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley asserts, it points to a bigger problem for the Caps — the fact its captain has to be taught accountability with the season on the line.
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.