In case you missed it, National Hockey League players will once again be participating in the Winter Olympics.
This time it’s in Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Games. Canada enters the competition having won gold in the both the women’s and men’s ice hockey events in Vancouver four years ago.
And at the top of the podium is where people across Canada – and from all walks of life – want the Red and White to be standing when next year’s tournament is over.
Of course, Sidney Crosby, who scored the game-winning goal against the U.S. in Vancouver, is likely to lead Canada’s hockey team in a few months time. He knows what’s at stake.
It’s also worth mentioning that after winning gold at the 2002 Olympics, the Canadian team fell flat in Torino, Italy, and placed a disastrous seventh place.
“I think when you play for Canada, that’s the expectation,” said Crosby, as per the Pittsburgh Penguins website.
“I have never been to Russia, (but) obviously everyone knows the history with Canada-Russia in ’72 and ’87 and the list goes on and on. I think that right there, having the opportunity to play hockey in Russia is pretty special.
“But with the Olympics in general, I think that just being Canadian, you realize pretty quickly that people come together at that time of year especially. When it’s hockey, even more so. So I think yeah, you want to go there and find a way to win gold.”
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.