The Washington Capitals – and especially captain Alex Ovechkin – have been taking an early beating this season, but they got a few annoying streaks out of the way in a 3-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
The Caps shed the label of the NHL’s final remaining win-less team today, improving their record to 1-3-1. Even better: Ovechkin fired home what ended up being the game-winning goal, his first tally of 2013:
Sure, it wasn’t always pretty for the 27-year-old star and his team. One might see some symbolism in Ovi failing to pot a second goal by narrowly missing an empty net, while the Caps beat a struggling Buffalo team that lacked top scorer Thomas Vanek.
Still, the Russian winger looked more like his old self as he fired five shots on goal overall and skated alongside running mate Nicklas Backstrom for much of the game.
This victory also represents a relief for Adam Oates, who gained his first win as an NHL head coach.
Do you think Washington can build on this momentum and eventually eke out a playoff spot?
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.