It hasn’t always been pretty for Team USA at the 2012 World Championships, but after defeating Finland 5-0 the Americans have hardware officially on their minds. The victory helped punch America’s ticket into the quarterfinals for the eighth time in nine years and they’ve perhaps rounded into form at the right time.
Team USA coach Scott Gordon tells USAHockey.com that their win over the host country is the best game they’ve played in the tournament in a long time.
“That’s as good of a game as we’ve played in the four years I’ve been coming over here,” said Scott Gordon, who is the head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team for the third straight year and was an assistant for the 2009 squad. “We talked before the game about how important this game was and that every player had to contribute in some way for us to be successful. Our guys can be proud of beating a very good Finland team.”
With just one game left in the preliminary round, it’s all about jockeying for position for the quarterfinals. Team USA sits second in Group H, three points behind Canada. The U.S. has an outside shot at first but needs Canada to lose in regulation to Belarus tomorrow while and to beat Switzerland in regulation. That would be a stunning turn of events.
The United States is just one point ahead of both Slovakia and Finland. If the standings hold where they are now, Team USA would face the Czech Republic from Group S in the quarterfinals as they sit third there. Group S will see Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, and Norway all move on to the next round.
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.