With a recent Stanley Cup championship on their resume, the Boston Bruins aren’t heavy underdogs very often. That might just be the case against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals, however.
Bruins power forward Milan Lucic is clearly relishing the pressure being on the other team, as he told CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty that he thinks the Penguins are the NHL’s answer to the Miami Heat.
“No doubt they’re a great hockey club,” Lucic said. “In my mind, they’re almost like the Miami Heat of the NHL with all the star power.”
The Sidney Crosby-Lebron James parallels are pretty plentiful, for one. They were both No. 1 overall picks in their respective drafts, proved polarizing before championships softened some of the criticism and each player seems to add wrinkles to his game to keep defenses guessing.*
Evgeni Malkin makes a decent double for Dwayne Wade, even if “second fiddle” status seems a little unfair to such a strong player. But who’s Chris Bosh? Which player would be a stand-in for “Birdman”? So many questions.
(Hey, fans of these East teams might need some time-killing activities if the West’s second round goes long …)
* – Among other similarities. If Crosby had better injury luck and took his talents to the Florida Panthers, it would get downright creepy.
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.