David Backes, Jordin Tootoo

Backes hopes Blues have learned playoff lessons


For all the regular-season games the St. Louis Blues have won in the last two years, and for all the Western Conference clubs that would prefer to play some other team in the playoffs, the Blues are still a franchise with one — count it, one — postseason series victory in the last decade.

St. Louis captain David Backes knows his team still has a lot to prove.

“We can’t rest like we’ve accomplished something,” Backes said, per the Post-Dispatch. “We tried that five years ago in Vancouver and we got to go home pretty quick that year. I think last year we thought we had accomplished something after winning one series and the same thing happened. So lessons have been learned and we’ll use those to hopefully push us further and further in the playoffs.”

The Blues have had a rather tumultuous season. They’ve had a six-game winning streak; they’ve had a five-game losing skid. Their goaltending has been great during stretches; it’s been awful during others. Earlier in the season, the offense was rolling; lately, it’s sputtered.

Will it all come together for the playoffs?

First things first — St. Louis is still battling for seeding. The Blues have two games left, both at home, versus Calgary tomorrow and Chicago Saturday. At best, they can finish fourth in the conference. At worst, seventh.

Related: Blues GM Armstrong on playoff matchups: ‘I don’t want to play Chicago’

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

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.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

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.