On a three-game losing streak and with one of the worst records in the NHL, the Winnipeg Jets (5-8-1) are having trouble staying positive.
And that’s a serious problem, according to forward Blake Wheeler.
“What’s happened with our team, we’re just so bogged down by all the negativity,” Wheeler said Monday, per the Winnipeg Sun.
“There’s so much negativity. We feel it… and it’s deserving. When you lose games that’s kind of the way it goes.
“But the biggest problem is not that we’re not trying… we’re just suffocating ourselves with all the expectations.”
Speaking of negativity, Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel provided a blunt assessment of his team’s performance last week.
“I don’t like the way we play,” said Noel. “I just don’t think that we play hard enough. We have to play hard.”
If his words were meant to be motivating, they didn’t work. On Friday, the Jets lost to Pittsburgh. On Sunday, they fell to the Bruins, 3-2, in a game they led 1-0 and 2-1.
Tonight, they kick off a five-game road trip in Buffalo, with tough tests in Carolina, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York (Rangers) to follow.
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.