It’s probably safe to say Dennis Wideman likes playing in Washington. Since being acquired at the 2011 trade deadline, the 28-year-old rearguard made his first ever NHL All-Star game, scored his first career hat trick and finished with his highest point total (45) in three years.
Also safe to say? That Wideman likes playing in Washington far more than he did in Boston.
As CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty explains it, the end of Wideman’s tenure in Boston was marked by catcalls from Bruins fans, putting him on par with whipping boys of years past (see: Gill, Hal) and present (see: Corvo, Joe).
Wideman says he remembers the boos, but also that he wasn’t playing well.
“I was getting frustrated,” he said. “They’re knowledgeable hockey fans, so I assumed they weren’t too happy with the way I was playing.
“They were just being Boston fans. They don’t put up with that. That’s just the way it is.”
While Wideman says he isn’t using that treatment as fuel for revenge — “I don’t know if I’m motivated by proving anybody wrong,” he explained — his numbers suggest he likes facing his ex-mates. In four games against Boston this year Wideman posted 2G-1A-3PTS while averaging over 25 minutes a night, above his average TOI per game.
Despite these numbers, the Caps defenseman said he holds no grudge towards the organization for shipping him out of town.
“It’s business. That’s the way it works,” he said. “I don’t sit there and say ‘I can’t believe they traded me’ because that’s not how it is.
“Look around and watch the other sports. That’s just the way it works.”
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.