Dion Phaneuf scores on Tuukka Rask

Leafs have ‘grown’ since Game 1, says Phaneuf


It seems like a long time has passed since the Maple Leafs were getting run out of TD Garden in Game 1 of their series with the Bruins.

To refresh your memory…

In reality, Game 1 was less than two weeks ago.

“We just self-destructed,” Toronto coach Randy Carlyle said after his side lost, 4-1, and got outshot, 40-20. “We didn’t do a lot of things right. I’ve never seen so many people fall down with nobody around them with situations with our group. Like we said, we know this going to take more than an ordinary effort, and tonight it wasn’t good enough effort.”

After Game 1, not many observers expected a long series. But the Leafs have since forced Game 7, back in Boston tonight.

For checking forward Jay McClement, the change in the Toronto team that started the playoffs, versus the one now, has been dramatic.

“We’ve learned on the fly here, for sure, but you can see the difference in our composure in Game 1 to now,” McClement said, per TSN’s Mark Masters.

“We’ve grown as a group,” Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf added, per ESPN.

Meanwhile, the Bruins — with just two goals in their last two games — are the ones sounding unsure of themselves.

“The bottom line is that we need to find a way to get the puck to go in,” said Patrice Bergeron. “Being frustrated right now isn’t going to help. It’s about being determined to find ways to put it in, and it’s all about [Game 7] now.”

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.