Do the Carolina Hurricanes still have a shot at making the playoffs? Mathematically, of course they do, but realistically, their current four-game winning streak seems to be too little, too late. Even if you ignore the Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets – who currently rank ninth and 10th respectively in the Eastern Conference – and make this all about Carolina and the eighth place Washington Capitals, it’s still hard to put any faith in the Hurricanes.
Carolina is six points behind Washington with just eight games left. On top of that, Washington has five more regulation plus overtime wins, so even if they finish the season with the same number of points, the tiebreaker would almost certainly go to the Capitals. So if Carolina wins all eight of their remaining games – extending their winning streak to 12 games total – and Washington gets 10 points in their final eight contests, then Carolina would still probably fail to make the playoffs.
“Anything can happen,” Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward said. “As long as we keep taking care of our business, who knows what can happen.”
Perhaps, but in this case, taking care of business means being basically perfect for the remainder of the season. That’s why Friday’s game against Columbus is critical for Carolina. Regardless of how well they’ve played lately, if Carolina can’t beat the worst team in the NHL on Friday, then any chance of a Cinderella story will be all-but lost.
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.