Another day, another goaltending switch in the NHL playoffs.
This time the change comes in Florida, as George Richards of the Miami Herald reports Scott Clemmensen will start for the Panthers in Game 4 against New Jersey — this after incumbent No. 1 Jose Theodore started the first three.
Florida’s decision comes just days after Vancouver parked longtime starter Roberto Luongo in favor of backup Cory Schneider, who started Games 3 and 4 in the Canucks-Kings series.
It’s somewhat surprising Florida head coach Kevin Dineen went this route. Theodore played well in Game 1, which featured one of the most lopsided periods in NHL history — the Devils outshot Florida 26-9, the most shots any NHL team had managed in a playoff first period since 1997 — and finished with 35 saves.
Theodore was solid again in the Game 2 victory, but then yanked just 6:16 into Game 3 after allowing three goals on six shots.
Clemmensen relieved Theodore, stopped every shot he faced, and the Panthers rallied for a 4-3 victory — which looks as though it cemented Dineen’s decision.
The big x-factor in all of this, though, is playoff experience…or lack thereof. The 34-year-old Clemmensen has never started a playoff game and, coming into this series, had exactly six minutes and 53 seconds of postseason experience.
Theodore, meanwhile, has over 50 postseason games on his resume, participating in the playoffs with four different teams (Montreal, Colorado, Washington and Florida.)
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.