The funny thing about the Los Angeles Kings overall-disappointing (playoff berth or not) regular season is that they’ve gotten the one thing that’s been missing for a huge chunk of their franchise history.
For those who are uninitiated, the Kings have had their highs and lows, but rarely have they enjoyed stellar goaltending – even in their better moments. One cannot totally separate his accomplishments from the great defense in front of him, yet Jonathan Quick might just be that franchise goalie Kings fans have always dreamed of.
That possibility was made reasonable on Wednesday night as Quick shut out the Calgary Flames to helping Los Angeles win the Sutter Bowl against the Calgary Flames 3-0, breaking the Kings’ single-season shutout record with nine and greatly improving their playoff chances in the process.
It’s simple to say that Quick has done everything for the Kings, but that’s not totally fair. One could see that the team’s tight defensive system bolsters his numbers – and perhaps inhibits the group’s offensive talent to an extent in the process – yet his stats are undeniably impressive.
His win-loss record won’t impress Vezina Trophy voters attached to old standards, but make no mistake about it: Los Angeles wouldn’t even be in the playoff chase if Quick wasn’t standing on his head.
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.