If the Stanley Cup playoffs were to start tomorrow, the Detroit Red Wings would be in. But just barely.
The Red Wings scored three unanswered goals to beat the L.A. Kings by a score of 3-1 on Wednesday night. The two points vaults the Red Wings back into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but only one point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Both teams have two games remaining in the regular season.
On the line for Red Wings is streak of consecutive post-season berths that spans three decades. They have not missed the playoffs since 1990.
The Blue Jackets franchise only has one playoff appearance in its history. That came in 2009.
However, the status of Red Wings forward Johan Franzen could be in question for Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators at Joe Louis Arena. Franzen, who scored late in the third period to give Detroit a two-goal lead, didn’t finish the game with what MLive.com is reporting as an “undisclosed injury.”
“He’s been real good for us,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock told MLive.com. “He didn’t finish the game, but hopefully he’ll be fine for tomorrow.”
“Don’t know a whole bunch. They just took him off the bench, or made him sit on the bench. I couldn’t use him down the stretch. I’ll find out tomorrow.”
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.