One good rookie season isn’t enough.
Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens knows this, even after he finished last season with 15 goals and 28 points in 44 regular season games, often playing against guys much larger than his 5’9″ and 178-pound frame.
His performance was enough to make him a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. He didn’t win the award. Instead, that distinction when to Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers.
It’s still a recognition of what Gallagher accomplished in with the Habs. But it’s just one year.
He’ll return to the hockey-mad market in Montreal, where the expectations from the local fan base are sure to have grown from what they were in January.
“I don’t think I’m proven yet,” Gallagher told NHL.com on Friday.
“I think there’s still a lot left for me to accomplish in this League, so I don’t consider myself proven. I just consider last year a step in the right direction.”
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.