At the age of 29, and with 10 seasons of National Hockey League experience, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is finally playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It seems the wait was worth it.
The Blues are up two-games-to-none in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final against the L.A. Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champions, and Bouwmeester has quietly had a positive effect to the St. Louis defensive corps.
No points in the first two games for Bouwmeester, who the Blues acquired in a deal with the Calgary Flames two days before the trade deadline, but he does have a plus-one rating in a series that has produced a total of six goals.
It’s certainly different hockey in the playoffs compared to what he’s experienced in already 764 regular season games.
“Everything gets ramped up, the energy and the physical play,” Bouwmeester told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“You’re playing the same team over and over again and you get those little confrontations that go from game to game. But I think the way our games are pretty similar…you don’t want to run out of position to make big hits.
“You don’t want to change too much because it’s this time of year. You have to stick with what gets you there. You know teams are coming for you — that doesn’t change — but I think our focus is to move the puck and get it to our forwards because that’s where we want to be playing.”
The Blues have a chance to take a 3-0 series lead on the Kings with a win tonight in L.A.
You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.
We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.
“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.
These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.
Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.
It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.
With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.
It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:
It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).
As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.
Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:
This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.
Update: Bullet dodged?