Despite hosting their first Game 7 at the Bank Atlantic Center, the Florida Panthers probably went into tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils as the underdog in many peoples’ eyes. Their resiliency will be put to the test that much more after a very tough start. Adam Henrique scored a minute and a half in while Panthers teammates John Madden and Tomas Kopecky suffered from a brutal, accidental collision just moments later.
Madden was seen bleeding over the surface until Panthers trainers helped him off the ice. Update: quite remarkably, Madden returned to the ice within the first period, according to reports such as Tom Gulliti’s Tweet.
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No word on the severity or specificity of Madden’s injury, but that collision looked ugly. Brian Engblom described it as “head-on-head” impact. You could see Madden’s head torque back from the impact.
Scoring the first goal has been big in Game 7s and crucial in this series so far, yet if any team can defy expectations, it’s the Panthers. Tonight’s game certainly didn’t begin favorably for Florida, though.
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.