The Minnesota Wild had a chance to clinch a playoff spot Friday in a game against the Edmonton Oilers, a team no longer in playoff contention.
The notion of a post-season berth quickly fell apart, as the Wild were trounced by the Oilers 6-1 on home ice. The Wild trailed by six goals after just 40 minutes, leaving fans to grow a little impatient.
“It was one of the weirdest games I’ve ever played in and obviously one of the most disappointing games I’ve ever been in,” Wild center Matt Cullen told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Bottom line, we got spanked in a game we absolutely needed to win.
“We have a Game 7 [Saturday]…This is where you show what you’re made of, this is what careers are made on and these are opportunities that you don’t get very often. … It’s a Game 7 to get to the playoffs.”
The Wild’s impending Game 7 that Cullen referred to is Saturday on the road against the Colorado Avalanche, the bottom team in the Western Conference.
The Wild precariously hold the eighth seed in the West, with 53 points and are tied with the ninth-place Columbus Blue Jackets in points.
Both teams have one game remaining on their respective schedules.
Anyone thinking this will be an easy two points for the Wild – and, if so, how can you after what happened Friday? – best look at what the Avalanche have done on home ice.
The Avalanche have a record of 12-8-3 in front of the home fans. The Wild are 11-11-1 on the road.
The Blue Jackets are at home to face the Nashville Predators.
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.