The Columbus Blue Jackets remain red-hot and Sergei Bobrovsky remains the main reason why.
The 24-year-old Russian netminder continued his torrid March on Saturday, stopping all 39 Phoenix Coyotes shots – and both shootout attempts – to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 shootout win. (Mike Smith experienced the bittersweet shutout loss, making all 23 saves.)
Columbus is now 6-0-4 in its last 10 games, with “Bob” going 6-0-3 in that span. (Steve Mason dropped a 4-3 OT loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on March 1.)
Bobrovsky now has two shutouts, allowed one goal four times (somehow losing twice after regulation) and allowed two goals once in his hot run. Overall, he has a 9-6-5 record with an outstanding .932 save percentage and 2.00 GAA.
While many believe that this implies a bright future for the Blue Jackets, the present is a surprising consideration, too.
As of this writing, their 28 standings points leaves them just two points behind seventh-ranked Los Angeles (30) and eighth place San Jose (also 30), although both California rivals hold three games in hand. Beating Phoenix was significant in that it keeps the ninth-ranked Coyotes within their grasp at 30 points, as well.
Clearly, Columbus still has a way to go to truly contend for a playoff spot, but teams must take them – and possibly their goalie of the future – seriously for the first time in a long time.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. For one thing, Torres is a repeat offender who once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.
Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.
This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.
"I’m looking forward to being in the same organization as my brother now and seeing what happens." – Dougie Hamilton on the trade