It’s not unusual for a team to attempt a midseason course correction by firing their coach and hiring a replacement. However, it’s very rare for the new guy to lead his team to a Stanley Cup in the same season.
Unless the Devils are able to pull off a historic comeback, Kings coach Darryl Sutter will join the exclusive club of coaches that have accomplished that impressive feat. The list includes Dan Bylsma, who led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup after replacing Michel Therrien in the second half of the season, and Larry Robinson, who won the Cup with the Devils in 2000 despite getting the job with just eight games remaining in the regular season.
Sutter joined the Kings in December and the team posted a 25-13-11 regular season record under him. He helped them squeeze into the playoffs and Los Angeles has realized its potential in the postseason. Given how monumental the Kings’ run has been, it seems only appropriate that their coach is doing what only a select few have done before.
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.