The New York Islanders are in the playoffs, so naturally a higher standard has been set.
The Islanders closed out the 2013 lockout-shortened season with a 2-1 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
It’s a single point that, at least for the moment, vaults the Islanders into sixth in the Eastern Conference standings. If the playoffs were start Saturday morning – they don’t – the Islanders would actually play the Washington Capitals in the first round.
But just because this is the Islanders’ first trip to the post-season since 2007 doesn’t mean they’re going into this next stage looking for just a simple and quick experience.
And the loss to Buffalo apparently didn’t sit well.
“Maybe it’s a little bit of a reality check,” Islanders defenseman Mark Streit told Long Island Newsday. “We don’t pay attention to the details and we’re in trouble. Especially when the playoffs begin.”
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.