You could say Ryan Johansen’s rookie season with the Columbus Blue Jackets was a bit of a struggle. He played in 67 games and found himself playing third or fourth line minutes when he wasn’t a healthy scratch.
Thanks to the lockout, he’s playing full-time minutes with the Springfield Falcons in the AHL and he’s thriving because of it as Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch shares.
“This is way better than I expected,” Johansen said. “There’s so much positive down here.
“I feel like this is going to help my game up in Columbus a lot. I’ve learned so much from (Springfield coach Brad Larsen). He’s one of those coaches who really keeps the guys accountable, really makes sure you’re doing everything right. He’s really focused on the details, and I think I needed that.”
Winning and playing good hockey are things he didn’t quite get to experience last year with the Blue Jackets.
So far this season, Johansen has 10 goals and 11 assists with the Falcons and the team is just one point back of Syracuse for tops in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps Columbus’ future isn’t quite so bleak. At the very least Johansen, their 2010 first-round pick, is finding his way as a pro.
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.