The San Jose Sharks have been a fairly regular disappointment this season, yet that’s opened up a refreshing opportunity: to play the role of the underdog. Considering Todd McLellan’s comments to CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz, it seems like they’re relishing the chance to play with house money.
“St. Louis is a hell of a team,” McLellan said. “They were competing right to the last day for the President’s Trophy. It hasn’t been very many series [we’ve been] the underdog, and we certainly will be that.”
“We also understand the pressure they’re under. We’ve been there. We’ve been the President’s Trophy winner, and the expectation that’s put on you is very high.”
Well played there, Todd. Well played.
The good news is that the pressure is on the Blues, who didn’t exactly finish their season on a high note. The bad news is that St. Louis has been a brutal matchup for the Sharks in 2011-12. The Blues swept the season series, collecting two shutouts while outscoring San Jose 12-3 overall.
Then again, Ken Hitchcock could spin this series in an interesting way, too. For all the wins they racked up this season, they do carry an “unproven” label that could come in hand, too.
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.